The University of Minnesota is using RFID tags to encourage people to bike on campus. The university will start handing out radio frequency identification chips and begin to register bicycle riders next week. Each time they pedal past one of 20 cellular towers, cyclists will earn points that they can cash in for rewards like discounts on bike repairs, bike equipment, and health insurance premiums. According to Steve Sanders, bike coordinator for parking and transportation services, organizations have wanted to offer incentives to bike riders but they had no way to confirm that people were riding. “Until now, everything has been based on the honor system and people don’t offer incentives for results that are based on the honor system,” he said. “This system is our attempt at providing confirmation that people are actually using their bikes.” A grant from Transit for Livable Communities funded the towers, each of which cost $5,000. The UMN program will be the first of its kind in the country, although in Washington (DC), Capital Bikeshare launched a rewards program over the summer to help keep its system in balance. Link to full story in Minnesota Daily.
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