GreenTrips, The Chattanooga Hamilton-County Regional Planning Agency’s award-winning traffic and air pollution reduction program, will be relaunching its trip logging, incentives, and carpool matching services Wednesday. Users can access the new, easier-to-use service at GreenTripsCHA.org or via the GreenTrips iOS app.
GreenTrips provides incentives to encourage users to choose transportation that helps reduce traffic and air pollution. Walking, biking, carpooling, and taking public transit as well as working from home or working a compressed work week are all ways to earn points with GreenTrips. Users can redeem their points for prizes including discounts and gift cards.
GreenTrips, which originally launched in June of 2013, created substantial environmental, financial, and health benefits under its first three-year Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement grant. More than 1,700 users helped avoid 2.2 million pounds of airborne pollution, traveled nearly 3.3 million miles sustainably, saved $570,866 on fuel (over 112 hundred gallons of gasoline) and maintenance costs, and burned nearly 19 million calories.
“We are very excited to offer this new and improved service,” said Jonathan Gibbons, GreenTrips coordinator. “We have had plenty of people asking about how to find carpools and how to earn rewards—now, just go to GreenTripsCHA.org for both. New and returning users will also receive 1,000 bonus points."
The program received a new, three-year CMAQ grant earlier this year and used the time between the end of the first grant and the relaunch to evaluate the service provided by its current vendor. “One of the first things we did when we were notified about our new grant was convene a committee made up of representatives from our community partners, employer partners, GreenTrips users, and our advisory committee,” Mr. Gibbons said. At the end of the process, the committee made the decision to secure the services of a different vendor.
The new service provides some additional functionality, such as an iOS app and trip syncing between popular services such as Strava, Lyft, MapMyWalk, and MapMyRide. There are additional optional features as well including the ability to connect a Facebook account to find carpool matches or trip partners among a user’s existing Facebook friends.
The new site will also have expanded language options, ensuring greater access to the program.
"NuRide is committed to rewarding commuters for reducing pollution and traffic through greener trips," said Rick Steele, CEO of NuRide, Inc. "As the nation's largest provider of rewards of this type, we're excited to be able to leverage our strength and GreenTrips’ local connections to reward Chattanooga commuters."
Even though the public website was down during the transition between grants, the program remained active. In addition to working with the the evaluation committee, GreenTrips hosted its fourth successful Bike to Work Day breakfast event with support from Allegra Allergy and received its second state-wide award: the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Award (the program received a Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015 for Environmental Education & Outreach).
As the program prepares to relaunch, Mr. Gibbons said he is looking forward to continuing its growth and positive impact across our community.
“Our area offers a great quality of life already, and I love being able to work with our partners to address the quality-of-life issues of clean air and traffic congestion.”