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Expanding mygrcitypoints.com program

Our goal is to encourage alternative transportation by expanding an existing program in Grand Rapids which gives points for participation.

Photo of annie young
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Grand Rapids History

Many years ago Grand Rapids struggled to get the community to vest into recycling. Out of that struggle, http://www.mygrcitypoints.com was born. This recycling initiative is a program where the city gives us (the residents) points based on our recycling weight, and we can use those points for extras in life. Massage, Yoga, and City Bus tickets are a few of the perks.

The Opportunity

In this challenge, We have the opportunity to encourage residents to drive less and use alternative methods to commute. However, life teaches us this lesson, telling people something is good or bad doesn't necessarily motivate them to take part in it. Consider weight loss, smoking, or even recycling. Unless there is a personal motivator, we are unlikely to alter what we usually do.  Interestingly though, we love to be incentivized to participate, and when we participate often enough, it can become a habit.

The Solution

Our solution, rather than introduce something new, let's expand what we have to promote transportation like biking, walking, skateboarding, skating, hoverboarding and even bus riding. Let’s incentivize mobility GR style and make it a cool thing to do.

 Key Points

  • Give residents points for using alternative transportation and tie it back into the existing program mygrcitypoint.com.
  • Secondly, expand the point system so it can be applied to more city services (for example a limited amount of points could be applied toward payment of trash and water forming a discount on the bill).
  • Utilize organic data collection to develop marketing and points
  • Update and modernize the website to make it more user-friendly. (Let's make it millennial-friendly and entice people to visit it.)
  • Encourage community involvement as well as individual involvement through community rewards (such as city-sponsored block parties for the community with the most cycles - which could double as a way for government and city services to connect with the city ).
  • Finally, let's catch people out using alternatives forms of transportation and make them famous for  10 or 15 seconds. It could be on the news, or a billboard or the website.
  • Involve Businesses and Insurance companies to encourage participation.


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

Anyone currently enrolled in the recycling program through mygrcitypoints.com would be automatically be informed through marketing of the additional way they could earn more points. Additionally, we would target each generation differently. Young professionals getting to work, College Student getting to their classes and Seniors doing more leisurely activities. Showing every generation how they can incorporate alternative transportation into their lifestyle and financially benefit from it.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users
  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Our team. We are 3 females who love technology and create a socially diverse group. We all are passionate about social solutions which have a positive effect on our community. We are working on connecting with a few other individuals in the community to draft a plan to fully identify the scope of expanding mygrcitypoints.com and will reveal the complete team soon. Our team will also evaluate how much funding is needed once the scope is determined and make corrections to the funding request

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Our plan to make money is tri-fold, • Give residents points for using alternative transportation and tie it back into the existing program mygrcitypoint.com. • Secondly, expand the point system so it can be applied to more city services (for example a limited amount of points could be credited toward payment of trash and water forming a discount). • Update and modernize the website to make it more user-friendly. (Let's make it millennial-friendly and entice people to visit it.) • Encourage community involvement as well as individual involvement through community rewards (such as city-sponsored block parties for the community with the most cycles - which could double as a way for government and city services to connect with the city). • Finally, let's catch people out using alternatives forms of transportation and make them famous for 10 or 15 seconds. It could be on the news, or a billboard or the website. • Organic Data Collection and Marketing

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

Initial success would be measured by the growth of users, points given and revenue from advertising. Future success could be measured by scalability to additional cities.

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12 comments

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Comment
Photo of Angela Eick
Team

I like this idea - it seems like mygrcitypoints has kind of died off but I really don't want it to! Adding incentives for using alternative forms of transportation is a great use of an existing app and rewards system.

Photo of annie young
Team

I agree, but I think this could breath new life into an existing program. We would love to make you a part of the team to help develop this idea.

Photo of Laura Muresan
Team

I wouldn't want to be in a video riding my bike, but I'd love if someone stopped me and gave me a restaurant certificate or something like that!

Photo of Meagen Coburn
Team

I love this. Full-disclosure? I completely forgot that the city points thing was even a thing. I've never used it - and i'm a 32 year old female living and working in the city who is very clued into tech and GR city stuff. Definitely room for a marketing campaign to make this a broader conversation. There's no reason NOT to use this!

Photo of annie young
Team

u should log into your account.. you might be able to get some bus passes... grin.

Photo of Tom Bulten
Team

I've earned about 100 trips on TheRapid and many discounts at local restaurants through mygrcitypoints.com and my recycling. :-). I look forward to hearing more about the plan, Annie. Aaron Soth-Evans may have worked out some of the related technical issues with Paidtogo: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/grand-rapids/propose/paidtogo-active-commute-incentivization-platform. Could be an opportunity for collaboration....

Photo of annie young
Team

I looked at my account, I have close to 30,000 points!
I did message Arron. But, he has not responded yet. Hoping to hear back from him.

Photo of KatieWalsh 100
Team

Hi Annie - This is great - city centric and ticks lots of boxes. What I feel may be missing from the proposal is actually how you know people are walking or cycling or rollerblading...instead of driving? It is an app on their phone that knows if they are walking or cycling, then the points are automatically racking up? If you have something in mind please add it to your proposal. Katie - Faciltiator

Photo of annie young
Team

We are still considering this. As techies, we dont necessarily believe in recreating the wheel. There are many app already in existence for tracking movement. We have reached out to some expert friends to ask questions. That meeting is next week.

As we see it there are two logical choices.

1. Build a bridge between the mygrcitypoints website/database and the app/database
or
2. create a new app which would tie directly into the existing mygrpoints website.

We should be able to add more detail next week.

Photo of KatieWalsh 100
Team

Fantastic - thanks for your reply Annie.

Photo of Idrees Mutahr
Team

Thanks for this post Annie, changing the local culture and encouraging new habits in a city can be difficult, so I like that you are building on an existing incentive program but with a new focus on mobility!

Photo of annie young
Team

It is also a West Michigan based program something we started and can build on rather than introducing something new.