Kobla is a fun app that makes it easy to choose green transport. “Kobla suggests alternatives to your car and saves you money. It’s also fun and saves the planet at the same time. What’s not to like?” says Kobla’s founder, Arild Tjomsland.
People love their cars. Despite road congestion, air pollution and high ownership costs, commuters still choose cars as their primary mode of transport. This presents a challenge to urban planners seeking to ease congestion and reduce emissions.
To meet sustainability goals, drivers need to cycle, walk, and take the bus more often. But getting people to change ingrained habits is difficult, and solutions that encourage drivers to go green are needed now more than ever.
Kobla is a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app that automatically registers the user’s travel and transport habits. When the app finds alternatives to a private car, it presents options and compares services. Kobla also answers questions like “How much would I save if I bicycled one day a week?”, “Can I rent a scooter near me?” and “What’s the best way to get to work tomorrow?”
“Kobla highlights the competitive advantages of other modes of transport. We take so much for granted. We expect our car to be the fastest way to our destination, while a bicycle might actually be a faster and better alternative, or the bus might not take a long as you think,” explains Tjomsland.
The app also provides statistics on trip costs, including fuel, tolls and tickets, and the amount of CO2 emitted. “We want people to see how they personally benefit from changing their habits. This mostly has to do with saving money. We try to nudge drivers to make good decisions by giving them something they need or want,” he continues.
In the Kobla business model, municipalities purchase the app and provide it to their residents free of charge.
Kobla makes green transport fun using gamification. Users can set their own personal goals and compete with friends and colleagues from their work, school or team. They also get bonus points for choosing green transport, which can be used to collect small prizes, discounts and free coffee.
“Our app helps people to establish good transport habits in a fun way. It’s kind of like Fitbit. It goes from being a novelty to becoming a part of your life,” says Tjomsland.
Kobla also gives municipalities crucial data for urban planning. Users must consent to sharing their travel data with city planners, who use it to achieve local, national and international sustainability goals. However, Kobla never sends its customer information to the cloud, like some other tech companies do. “We want our end-users to trust us,” says Tjomsland.
The rapidly growing smart mobility market is projected to reach over USD 74 billion by 2027.
Kobla has been successfully implemented in Norway and Sweden, and the company is seeking to expand internationally. In addition, Kobla is now available to businesses to improve the well-being of employees.
Kobla strives to be a company with a positive social impact. “We focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. We want to make it cool to choose green transport,” says Tjomsland.