Using Gamification and Metaphor to Design a Mobility Platform for Commuters

Using Gamification and Metaphor to Design a Mobility Platform for Commuters

Rod McCall (Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg), Vincent Koenig (EMACS Research Unit & Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg) and Martin Kracheel (Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jmhci.2013010101
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In this paper the authors explain the use of gamification as a way to optimize mobility patterns within a heavily congested European City. They explore this from two perspectives, first by outlining a gaming concept and secondly by explaining how the use of a mobility game that took place in two locations can be used to explore incentives and design issues.
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Traffic congestion and the associated economic and environmental damage are serious problems across the world and novel solutions are required to help reduce them. To date many approaches have been tried, for example car sharing with priority lanes for shared vehicles as found in Seattle, charges for driving in the city centre such as in London, introducing cycle lanes or improving public transportation options. However, in all these cases there are a number of problems which apply to all or some of these options, namely that they require large amounts of additional government spending, increase inconvenience on the commuter or require significant changes in the daily routine of drivers. They also largely ignore the complex social or personal motivations that people have when undertaking different journeys, for example shopping on the commute to work, dropping of passengers on the school run or the weekend excursion; some of which are possible as a ride share. Our work aims to complement the top down policy driven approaches by Governments and drivers’ existing behaviours. With these issues in mind we explore how particular motivations shape mobility decisions and how, through understanding these motivations, incentives can be provided that could help change driver behaviour. We believe this can be done best by relying on a game-like approach. As part of this we are exploring how location-aware game-like environments can be used to encourage changes in mobility behaviour.

We take the position that we must understand the motivations that people have for individual or groups of journeys, whether they are via car, bike, foot or public transport. In doing so we explore how incentives in the form of game-like aspects such as scores, collaboration, competition or via direct/indirect benefits can be used to change behaviour. As described more fully below, our position is largely derived from the idea that mobility in urban environments, particularly in respect to commuters who drive to work, can be viewed in a game-like context; even if the drivers themselves are not specifically aware of the game-like nature of their interaction. One of the key aspects of the current project is the use of contextual enquiry (Beyer & Holtzblatt, 1998; Holtzblatt, 2004) and game-like simulation as approaches in order to elicit requirements as well as to identify how incentives can be used to encourage small changes in behaviour.

The paper begins by exploring the underlying problem Luxembourg is facing, then provides an overview of the I-GEAR project (Incentives and Gaming Environments for Automobile Routing; a project run at SnT / University of Luxembourg and financed by Luxembourg FNR) and its underlying approach. The final part of the paper explains the use of gaming in two contexts, firstly in a pilot study and secondly in another game, which was played during the MobileHCI 2012 conference in San Francisco. Within these contexts we illustrate how mobility games that are played indoors can be used as a method to test game logic, observe mobility behaviour and the usage of incentives to change these.

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