The Daily Prosper
Big Data used to encourage people to cycle more

Big Data used to encourage people to cycle more

The entrepreneur Iván Páez has created a mobile app designed to prompt cyclists, governments and companies to turn to the bicycle as the go-to mode of transport par excellence.


More and more people are squeezing themselves into cities, but there are still solutions to be found when it comes to making the city an ideal place to live. Two of the most urgent things to consider are pollution and the sedentary lifestyle lived by many. The figures speak for themselves: 92% of the world’s population lives in areas with high levels of pollution, and 39% of adults aged 18 or over are overweight (to make matters worse, 13% of the world’s population is classified as obese), according to data from the World Health Organisation in 2016. The founder and CEO of Kappo Bike, Iván Páez, has a clear solution which fixes both problems at the same time: make more and better use of the bicycle.

This young Chilean is convinced that two wheels can become the best method of urban transport. “We live in cities that are more and more polluted, congested and stressful. Changing the way we move around is fundamental in avoiding the global meltdown which seems imminent.

Furthermore, people are obese due to their sedentary lifestyles”, he argues. To make sure that the bike is more useful for society and can adapt to the needs of every individual, he is using big data and gamification techniques. His design has led to him being chosen by MIT Technology Review in Spanish as being among the 35 winners of Entrepreneurs under 35 in Latin America in 2017.

Páez has kept in mind that there are three separate parties who move around on a daily basis in the cities: the residents, the government and businesses. For this reason, through Kappo Bike he has designed and implemented three separate strategies. Firstly, it encourages residents to become urban cyclists through participating in a game: in the app, the further the distance travelled, the more points are earned, moving the participant closer to the next level.

The app already has more than 50,000 users who are registered as making at least two journeys a week, spread across more than 200 towns in 50 countries.

Using this technology, Kappo Bike is able to gather, analyse and process data on user habits. Secondly, this information is passed onto to the government, so that it is aware of the cyclists’ mobility habits.

The objective: that they are able to make better decisions on investment in urban cycling infrastructures. “Riding a bike not only reduces pollution, but also lowers stress levels and improves the general health of residents”, believes Páez. This is why, last but not least, he is encouraging companies to incentivise the use of bikes among their employees to increase their well-being, and is achieving this through national competitions. For example, in the most recent competition, Cool Place to Bike, which took place in the central region of Chile and was organised by Kappo Bike, 200 companies participated.

“Our project seeks to transform cities from automotive hubs to cyclomotive hubs”, concludes Páez, who sees Denmark as a great example to follow. He lived there for a year, and became excited about the idea of making every city just as safe for cyclists. Highest on the list of most cycle-friendly metropolises are Copenhagen in Denmark, and the iconic Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. In the former, 50% of journeys through the centre of town are made by bicycle; in the Venice of the North, the percentage is 48%. These are numbers that Páez would like to emulate, to ensure that life in any big city is enjoyed, more than ever, through the use of a bicycle.