Hytch Rewards has created a smartphone app that provides a monetary incentive for ridesharing – encouraging users to carpool, take public transit, or use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Since its launch in February 2018, Hytch has sponsored more than 43,000 rides, resulting in 1.6 million vehicle miles avoided and 494 fewer tons of carbon in the atmosphere. Through the Hytch app, Apple and Android smartphones are able to connect to the platform, which enables companies and communities to sponsor customized incentives in order to achieve specific objectives such as shifting to off-peak commuting.
The Hytch Rewards app is funded by community grants, brand partnerships and sponsorships from local companies including Nissan, Sprint, Lipscomb University, Reliant Bank and Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. Users see in the app “trees saved” as they share rides, and the company buys and retires carbon-credits to certify the carbon savings. Recognized as a pioneering platform, Hytch has earned the Nashville Technology Council’s Emerging Company of the Year Award as well as TDEC’s Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award.
“Sustainable transportation is an important factor in public health and the quality of our environment,” said TDEC Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian.
Other winners in addition to Hytch were:
- Averitt Express, which retrofitted thousands of its vehicles with new fuel efficiency equipment and operates 920 propane-powered forklifts.
- City of Chattanooga Department of Transportation, which completed roadway paving and safety improvements to provide for multi modal access.
- City of Kingsport, which has worked to to convert its vehicle fleet to propane autogas. As of May 2018, the City’s fleet included 96 propane-powered vehicles, ranging from lawn mowers to police cars. The City also has 21 hybrid and electric vehicles currently in use. Through the use of these vehicles, the City has been able to displace usage of over 197,000 gallons of gasoline from 2013-2017.
- Cumberland International, which completed a project to increase the fuel economy of Cumberland’s Class 8 long-haul diesel trucks from 6-8 mpg to upwards of 10 mpg. One thousand of these C10 trucks were launched and sold in 2017, bringing the total fuel savings to 3-5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year and total CO2 emissions reductions to 30,000 tons per year.
- Hamilton County Parks and Recreation, which recently completed a project to extend the Tennessee Riverpark by three miles along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. The 12-foot wide pathway expanded a significant alternative transportation corridor by creating a safe pedestrian/bike connection through a previously inaccessible gauntlet of active industrial properties, three railroads, an interstate, city streets and brownfields.
- Tennessee State Parks, which recently completed the transition of all 650 golf carts at its nine courses from gas to electric. The switch will result in an estimated savings of $80,000 per year and will prevent the release of approximately 350,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
- Vanderbilt University, which earlier this year introduced a dockless bikesharing system. A total of 120 bikes are currently available for use within the established bikesharing area, and users can pick up and park the bikes on Vanderbilt’s campus and in nearby neighborhoods. Users must download the ofo app to use the bikes, and ofo then synthesizes trip data to provide Vanderbilt with maintenance and parking reports, health and emissions data, and more. In just the first month, the pilot resulted in over 64,000 bike trips taken.
More information on the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards can be found at https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/energy/state-energy-office–seo-/programs-projects/programs-and-projects/tennessee-sustainable-transportation-awards-forum.html.