Liverpool City Region residents could save up to £100 each month by swapping car journeys for bike rides or walks according to data from a new mobile app being launched this week.
The ‘Smart Green Journey’ app developed by Liverpool John Moores University with the backing of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram aims to encourage people to take more journeys by walking and cycling by telling you exactly how much money and carbon you save per journey every time you leave the car at home.
The free mobile app, available on Apple and Android devices, is one of the only available that outlines both the carbon and cost savings people can make by travelling more actively.
The app allows users to plan the quickest or quietest routes, track journey progress, check local air quality and find secure bike parking facilities across all six boroughs of the Liverpool City Region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.
“Everyone likes to know they’re saving carbon but it’s household finances that really hold the key to commuters’ decisions on getting to work,” explained Di Fitch, Smart Green Project Manager at LJMU.
According to app data, a driver who commutes from Sefton Park to Lime Street – a 9km round-trip each day – would save £25 in fuel per month and emit 44kg less carbon while and someone cycling from Crosby to the Pier Head would save £50 per month, saving 110kg of carbon in the process while both could also save an average of £80 a month on parking fees.
“Statistics show that while two thirds of adults cite busy roads as the main reason not to cycle, there was a 23% upturn in cycling during lockdown. Clearly the offer of the most traffic-free route is more attractive than the quickest route in terms of getting people out of their cars,” Di explained.
The app also calculates the savings in both pounds and carbon when walking and includes other features such as real-time weather and road usage information taken directly from sensors. The user can also receive the latest updates on new and improved cycling infrastructure as it’s created.
The app is also an important tool in helping to inform the design and building of new and improved footpaths and bike lanes. Anonymised data collected by app users will be shared with the Combined Authority and local councils and allow the organisations to understand which walking and cycling routes are most popular and which need further improvement.
Professor Thanh Nguyen, an engineer at LJMU, said the technology behind the app allowed local authorities to track journeys made and therefore better plan support around the most popular routes.
“We are also looking at collecting data so that user groups can pool the benefits of changed modes of transport. For instance, if 100 people from one business or organisation used the app, we could calculate the combined cost and carbon savings of the employees.”
The app has been funded by the Combined Authority as part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s commitment to improving walking and cycling infrastructure and encouraging active travel in the Liverpool City Region.
More than £30m has already been invested in safe, segregated cycleways and footpaths with plans to build a 600km network of new and upgraded routes across the city region.
Steve Rotheram Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region said: “Cycling and walking are brilliant for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. But we shouldn’t just think of travelling by bike or foot as exercise – it’s also a cheap, easy and environmentally friendly way to commute to work, travel to school and college or even pop to the local shops.
“This new app developed by LJMU with our support is a fantastic tool which will help people across the Liverpool City Region to not only plan their active journeys but also see just how much money they’re saving and carbon they’re cutting each time they travel.”
Liverpool City Region Walking and Cycling Commissioner Simon O’Brien said: “The Smart Green Travel app isn’t just a handy, free way of keeping track of your active travel journeys – the data collected from users will also be used to help improve and develop walking and cycling routes across the Liverpool City Region.”