How Vienna is using culture to go car-free

Last year, we wrote about a new transit app being used in Miami called Velocia, which rewards commuters for ditching the car in favor of taking public transit, biking, or simply walking. It was an exciting piece for us to share with you because it represented a novel approach to motivating people to stop driving cars: rather than fine citizens, reward them.

In this same style, Austria’s capital of Vienna is unrolling a program that rewards car-free travel with free access to museums and concerts. Starting as a pilot project next month, Vienna’s “Culture Token” will track users’ movements—and their chosen mode of transit—across the city via an app.

For each car-free kilometer the user travels, the app stores up credits. Once the user has stored up 20 kilograms of carbon savings—possible with about two weeks of car-free commuting—they get a token they can exchange for a ticket to various art venues, including Vienna’s most respected concert hall, theater, and contemporary art venue.

There’s no limit to the number of tokens that can be accrued by users, who will initially number 1,000 as a test for a possible wider roll-out in autumn. But once each app account has gathered five tokens, each participant will have to use one before earning more.

Though we’ll have to wait and see whether or not the program actually works, it’s fantastic that cities are taking creative approaches to promote car-free travel.

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