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Improving Mobility Using Rewards

Hytch Rewards believes we can influence transportation behavior with rewards, creating better and more connected communities.

Photo of Nick Justice
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Hytch Rewards is a mobility platform that offers an iPhone and Android app for passengers and drivers to engage in a new concept that inspires networking for transportation.  The Hytch Solution is driven by the belief that Rewards change behavior and through rewards we can inspire and engage users to share rides and to make better mobility decisions to reduce Single Occupancy Vehicles on the roads; decisions not only share rides but to use public transportation assets.  By earning rewards on the Hytch Rewards platform, local citizens develop a habit of sharing rides. Whether users are taking public transportation, carpooling, or creating a vanpool group to commute to and from work, the Hytch app can track, verify and reward their behavior.

The Hytch platform also provides a community with zero emission driving and incentivizes members of the community to share rides during their commute, all daily travel or trips to any destination.  Through sponsorships and targeted cash rewards funded by public and/or private contributors, any unique combination of routes, modes, origination or destination can be identified by these sponsor organizations as a desirable behavior, worthy of tracking and rewarding participants. 

Every ride is validated in the application and will provide the City of Austin and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan and the City of Austin's Strategic Direction 2023 with critical planning data. (Ride reporting data does not contain any personally identifiable information). 

This information allows for planning decisions that prioritize the needs of the community and provide a user experience that can be tailored. The project is intended to be collaborative and will give project stakeholders the opportunity to meet mobility needs in near-real-time, by promoting the use of transportation modes, routes, time of day, events, etc., significantly lowering the barriers to mobility in the region. 

Our idea for the Austin City: One Challenge includes launching the Hytch free mobile application platform to do the following:

  • Help Eastern Crescent Communities to overcome transportation barriers by incentivizing carpooling, vanpooling, and public transit trips and developing a social network of shared commuters. The incentives will also significantly lower or eliminate the costs and need for owning/operating a vehicle. 

  • Enable residents to travel to and from Health and Social Services whether or not they have a car by having the option to share rides, in public transit assets or shared personal vehicles or other on demand options. Hytch can verify and report, use of On Demand Transportation services that are required to take and individual in the Eastern Crescent Community to and from an authorized Health or Social Services location. User can earn rewards to offset the cost of the On Demand Services. The City could also generate additional revenue by filling empty seats on their transit assets and van pools and getting valuable multimodal data.

  • By incentivizing and rewarding people to share rides (both the driver and passengers)and utilize public assets we help eliminate barriers to access sustainable transit options. 

  • Tracking, verifying and rewarding multiple choices for people in Austin, Hytch can provide real time transit data to be shared with other Community Resources to help people make the best choices for their needs.

The Hytch platform will be aligned with the Opportunity Criteria to deliver a program that hits social, environmental, and economic goals of the Austin community.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Transit and active modes are not viable options for many residents and commuters. Research suggests that commuters who drive alone are more open to carpooling than other modes, as they are able to maintain a perceived level of flexibility, comfort, control, and convenience. Hytch is an open platform that can be used by everyone. However, for the purposes of this project, the goal is to target communities who do not have access to Metro public transportation, have Metro public transportation distant from them, and/or are low income and do not have access to a personal vehicle. In our initial Nashville launch, 26% of users took public transportation while Hytching. When interviewing users, we found that not only did they like the rewards offered, but they loved how it improved the culture of public transportation. Hytch has added a User Journey to the attachments for a better visualization.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Hytch has successfully deployed in Nashville TN. Through this deployment we have learned that incentives work as a tool to motivate people to share rides with friends, neighbors & coworkers and adopt modes such as public transportation. Hytch has also deployed with Goodwill of Middle Tennessee to help low income employees find rides and use public transportation in Nashville. In this instance, we learned that rewards are a great conversation starter to find others in your community to ride with.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

The Hytch team is describes itself in three words: hungry, humble, smart. The team is comprised of a handful of entrepreneurs who are dedicated to making a difference in the world. A full view at our team can be seen here: Our team is dedicated to reducing congestion and improving air quality in all areas we operate. Reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles in a metro area is the cheapest and best way to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

The budget is simple would break down as follows: 75% ($75,000) used on cash rewards for the immediate community. 25% ($25,000) used for marketing the pilot to the community, program execution and reporting.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Hytch would coordinate with stakeholders to designate targeted areas to reward, and then market to those communities. This campaign would be an education and outreach effort to inform the communities of the cash rewards in place and how to earn them using the Hytch smartphone app. We would work with the same stakeholders to set the reward rate, making sure the cash rewards lineup with the desired outcomes. Examples would include higher rewards to drivers when they provide rides for a Hytch passenger that is being driven to and from an approved healthcare facility, a healthy and fresh food provider or other social services locations. All authorized locations can be geo-fenced to properly track, verify, report and reward based on the goals of the Austin Challenge Project. The best aspect of the Hytch app is that it is inherently viral and easy to use. As the pilot evolves we will continue to work with stakeholders to adjust rewards as necessary and report on progress.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

The measure of success for the pilot would be the number of trips that originate from unconnected neighborhoods and end at a “hub” or other designated locations such as health, social services or designated nutritional outlets. Hytch can track in real time the number of trips occurring a day in these areas. Hytch can track and reward trips that take place in personal vehicles, public transit assets, on-demand services, walking, and biking. This ensures that all available modes can be utilized, regardless of how a user chooses to travel. Hytch provides real time tracking that is rolled up into a dashboard for easy viewing and measuring. A dashboard would be shared with stakeholders so that everyone involved could track the trips, the amount of rewards and the environmental impact of the pilot. In- app surveys can be created by the pilot’s stakeholders to gain insights into how the users feel about the pilot.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

In Nashville, the deployment was successful and sustainable thanks to private community investment. At the end of the initial pilot phase, Hytch’s market development team will be reaching out to private businesses and Austin Metro and other governmental agencies to continue to fund the rewards for this solution. Private and public entities are invested in helping these disadvantaged communities, and we would form partnerships to keep these rewards funded.

Social Media

Twitter: @HytchRewards FB: Insta:

Attachments (1)


This is a case study we conducted with the public transportation system in Nashville, WeGo. It shows how we have been able to help users adopt public transportation and how we partner with private and public stakeholders to solve problems.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Mark Cleveland

There are cars in these underserved communities. There are powerful community relationships and good people who help other people get around. Nobody gets "credit" for such goodwill and it is not measured either, but it can be. This is a chance to provide a comprehensive, universally accessible incentive management system that would inspire these same people to go a little bit out of their way to both ask for a ride or provide that ride. Hytch gives an organizing principal to empower these personal networks to achieve greater flexibility and provide mobility within their own trusted network. The assets are there. Imagine any person (as a passenger with identified need) who could tell their friends, "Hey, Let's Hytch and you'll earn $.50 a mile in rewards for taking me to my doctor..." knowing they also qualify for $.10 a mile when they activate their network! The point is, for the right reward, everyone additionally motivated by cash rewards will track their generous provision of mobility and support for their community - and naturally, they will do more of that. It's about community behavior change. Hytch offers Austin a uniquely new approach to inspiring self organized mobility and will generate new transit patterns and data for better, data driven decision making.