First school to deploy innovative bike/walk to school incentive program

Gault Elementary students will have new reason to walk, bike or roll to school beginning October 7th.  In a partnership with Ecology Action, invested community members and local businesses, the school will benefit from the first installation in the county of the Boltage reader and reward system.

Boltage utilizes RFID (radio frequency identification) tags attached to students’ backpacks, helmet or clothing.  As they ride, walk or roll up to school and pass under the reader a loud bell dings to confirm that their trip to school has been logged.  As points accumulate, students get closer to winning prizes like a soccer game versus the UCSC women’s team or a new bike from the Bicycle Trip.  Students and their parents can log on to see cumulative miles traveled, calories burned and greenhouse gases spared.

Boltage was founded by two Colorado fathers looking for ways to motivate their children to walk and ride to school.  Boltage found success in combining environmental awareness with incentives designed to motivate kids. The program is actively used in 34 schools in 12 states.  After Boltage debuted in Los Altos, Westlake Elementary school parent volunteers created the grant-funded Walking School Bus modeled on the program. The Walking School Bus launched eight years ago and continues informally today.

Gault Elementary will celebrate the launch of the Boltage on October 7, Bike to School Day.  Partners that made the program possible include the Bicycle Trip, Kelsey Schwind, Gigi’s Bakery, Spokesman Bicycles, Barry SwensonBuilder, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency and the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District. The program is administered by Ecology Action.