Expert article
Modifier 13 July 2022
by Gereon Meyer

Sofia Coin: Rewarding healthier travel behavior for cleaner air

A smart phone app rewards citizens for using soft modes in Sofia
A smart phone app rewards citizens for using soft modes in Sofia
INNOAIR Podcast Episode #3 presents the concept of Sofia Coin, a smart phone app that rewards its users for walking and cycling instead of driving while collecting important data on infrastructure improvement needs.
  • Sofia Coin has been developed by INNOAIR, a project funded under the Urban Innovative Actions that is aiming to raise the air quality of the Bulgarian capital by promoting cleaner and healthier transport modes. The app applies the concept of nudging, i.e. to influence the behavior and decision making of users in an easy and cost-efficient way by positive reinforcement and indirect hints instead of, e.g., the enforcement of rules. Sofia Coin Users earn virtual currency based on the kilometers they travelled on soft modes, and they can buy rewards from various supporting companies and organisations. Bike gloves, bike helmets and brand new tablet computers are among the most preferred rewards, while free scooter rides or bike rentals are in lower demand.
  • Since the first launch of Sofia Coin half a year ago, the app has been used several thousand times, recording more than 17 thousand kilometers, most of them with people walking instead of driving. This already saved more than half a ton of CO2, and quite an amount of air pollutants. While this is a promising start, the usage of the app will have to scale-up significantly in the coming months in order to have a measurable impact on achieving the INNOAIR project’s objective to avoid about 10% of CO2, i.e. about 100 tons, and almost 500 tons of NO2 per year just by the shift of the citizens’ mobility behavior.
  • Sofia Coin is implementing in a smart way the goals of the “New Urban Mobility Framework” that the European Commission published as part of its Transport Policy Package: The app helps to promote active mobility and to motivate citizens to walk and cycle more, and it combines this with more sustainable urban mobility planning based on collected data.
  • This podcast features statements by Kristian Krastev, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, Dimitar Dilchev, Executive Director of the Sofia Urban Mobility Center, and Sanya Raeva, Project Coordinator at Sofia Development Association, as well as the views by app users.

Associated media

INNOAIR Podcast 3
Gereon Meyer

INNOAIR Podcast Episode #3