Herefordshire Council won a successful bid to the Department for Transport Access Fund to deliver active travel promotions and a key part of the bid was to introduce a county-wide walking promotion scheme; Get Walking. The overall purpose of the Get Walking web and app based walking promotion is to raise awareness of walking as a way to get around as well as to motivate and support local people to increase their level of walking. The aim is to replace short journeys that would otherwise have been made by car with journeys by foot, reducing congestion and emissions and increasing activity levels, health and well-being. The Council required a web and app-based walking promotion resource to encourage and support local people to increase their levels of walking. We were to offer a selection of virtual walks of differing lengths to allow a range of promotional time-lengths to suit the Council’s plans. Routes were to be achievable within the time period and site users should be able to track their progress against the target.
We worked alongside the Council to design and develop the website and app, using the already established ‘Choose how you move’ brand to ensure the design was recognisable, friendly and encouraging to motivate people to sign up and use the resource. Within the website/app there is an area which allows the user, once registered, to create a personal profile and input their walking data; in either steps, miles, kms or time. A message system has been integrated into the website/app to enable Council staff to easily communicate with all users. This has been further developed since the start of the project to send automatic emails as well as the in-app messages to ensure communication methods are covered. Alongside this, we created an system providing notifications to the user about how far they have walked, milestones they have passed, how far they have got to go to reach the target, where they are on a leader board and congratulatory messages once a user has successfully completed the target walk. The resource also needed to be compatible with leading personal performance devices and as such we integrated the Fitbit app to allow site users to sync with Fitbit to automatically upload their walking data.
Since going live there are over 400 users engaging with the resource and there have been 6 virtual walks completed of varying lengths, from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. We have received some fantastic feedback from users of the website/app when we conducted a survey and we are in the middle of developing new functionality to increase engagement even further. We also offer a technical help facility for site users during promotional periods which is available from 9am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, which users find very useful too.View the website