Every year, between August and May, a logistical operation of epic proportions takes place in our country. The project has 1.2 million stakeholders aged 6 and over. They reside in a large city, hamlet or something in between and, in varying units, have to go weekly to a prescribed location. Arriving late or incomplete is a mortal sin and the same day the whole circus moves in the opposite direction. The whole stuff eats up 150 million car kilometers a year in this way.
Lower CO₂ emissions
So it’s actually a miracle that the amateur league, with 33,000 games per weekend, runs so smoothly. And it is not surprising that the KNVB considers an efficiency improvement possible. It wants to drastically reduce the 48,635 tons of CO₂ that the amateur league emits during one season. There is a panacea for this, Pipple reckoned to them: smart carpooling.
Bas Ooteman, programme manager of GO, the KNVB’s mobility programme, explains how the paths of Pipple and the KNVB crossed. ‘The KNVB is one of the initiators of the Football Innovation Platform: a partnership of leading football organisations. In January 2022, they organised an innovation challenge with sustainability as a theme. This resulted in 74 entries from 17 different countries, including Pipple.’ In the category of ideas to reduce the ecological footprint when visiting stadiums and clubs, Pipple came out as the winner. The KNVB found their pitch so convincing that they decided to enter into a collaboration with Pipple.
Pipple’s winning idea
Pipple’s winning idea is an add-on to the existing app voetbal.nl that allows users – the app has one million – to sign up to carpool. Ooteman: ‘The KNVB had already played with this idea itself, but it still seemed far from feasible. Pipple showed us that it can indeed be made. In fact, they figured out how it could be even better by having the app calculate the shortest route to pick up passengers and bring them home. This increases the chance that people will travel together and saves extra kilometres.’
The KNVB asked Pipple to calculate the savings potential. The agency was given two months to do so. Pipple reported on progress twice a week. “Even with just a day between meetings, they had always discovered or built something. It is a decisive club with visible pleasure in their mission.’
Driving together is definitely worth it, the scan showed. From now on, if all teams drive to the away games with full cars, the youth league will emit 35% less CO₂ and the seniors 47%. And will the footballers also be picked up and brought home in the most efficient way? Then a few percent is added for the youth, and for the seniors the savings go up to 50-55%.
The option to create an automatic driving schedule in the voetbal.nl app will go live this summer. At the end of 2022, the KNVB will again talk to Pipple about a prototype of a dynamic carpool route planner that takes into account changes in the schedule and the team. ‘So no more deluge of apps and Excels in the run-up to the weekend thanks to Pipple’, predicts Ooteman. “A blessing to any team manager.”