Urban walking project wins Catapult award

A public health project that uses technology to make walking fun has won an Innovation Award sponsored by the Transport Systems Catapult.

The “Beat the Street” project run by health technology company Intelligent Health took top honours in both the Innovation and Best Marketing categories at Wednesday’s inaugural Smarter Travel Awards.

Held in Birmingham as part of this week’s Smarter Travel Conference, the awards are intended to recognise the “smartest projects, people and technologies which are defining future mobility”.

“Beat the Street” is a physical activity challenge for whole communities, and involves public areas being turned into real life walking and cycling games. Players register their movement by tapping RFID cards on Beat Boxes placed around the town. They can win prizes and compete together for a community target.

In 2014, 39,000 people took part in “Beat the Street” programmes in seven areas in the UK and New York. Independent research on the project’s impact in Thurrock, Reading and Norwich last year found that the proportion of people achieving the Department of Health’s physical activity had increased from one third to a half, while car use among the participants had also decreased.

“The Smarter Travel Awards are an opportunity to recognise excellence in the application of innovative approaches to solving transport challenges, and it was a pleasure to award the inaugural award for Innovation to Intelligent Health,” said Martin Tugwell, Head of Business Development at the Transport Systems Catapult.

“Their approach has successfully demonstrated how the application of technology can be a powerful tool in delivering a solution that is end-user focused.  The fact that the approach having an impact that is leading to a longer-term shift in behaviours is even more impressive.”

The “Beat the Street” project saw off strong competition from the other two shortlisted entries: Cubic Transportation Systems and Transport for London for their joint work on contactless payments on London’s public transport, and IBI Group and Centro for their trial of E-paper displays for real time transport information at Birmingham bus stops.

Katherine Knight, Marketing Director of Intelligent Health said: “I am so thrilled to collect this Innovation award sponsored by the Catapult because, for us, ‘Beat the Street’ unifies the health benefits of daily physical activity with a smarter and more sustainable approach to travel. If we are to improve our urban spaces and the health and wellbeing of the public, we need to bring these two areas together and this award recognises that.”

For more information on “Beat the Street” click here. Or click here to find out more about this year’s Smarter Travel Conference.

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