Free Beer; The Italian Approach to Green Travel

You’ve got to love the Italians. Not just because they’ve given the world pizza and wine. But because they are so refreshingly different from the rest of us. Consider their approach to encouraging people to ditch their cars in favour of greener ways of travelling, such as walking or cycling.

Most governments would offer tax incentives or distribute messages talking about the benefits to your health or the environment. But not the Italians. Their approach is different. The Bella Mossa (or good job) scheme – which was funded by both the EU and Bologna’s local government – has developed an app that lets users log sustainable trips in return for points which they can then redeem against things like ice cream, cinema tickets…or beer.

Now you’re talking. Or walking. Or, hic, pedalling. 10,000 people have already signed up for the scheme this year and 16,000 reward vouchers have been redeemed. Even more encouragingly, over 100 businesses have signed up to the scheme too.

The app gives you the option to ‘compete’ with your friends and also has ‘travel to work’ and ‘travel to school’ programmes included. It even shows users how much CO2 they’ve saved after each journey, although craftily, not how many calories you’ve burned.

Transport for London is rightly proud of the eight Cycle Superhighways that now criss-cross London but what we wouldn’t give for a free pizza at the end of a cycle journey.

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