Investigating mobility styles using smartphones: advantages and limitations according to a field study in Southern Switzerland

Rizzoli, Andrea Emilio and Rudel, Roman and Forster, Anna and Corani, Giorgio and Cellina, Francesca and Pampuri, Luca and Guidi, Roberto and Baldassari, Andrea (2014) Investigating mobility styles using smartphones: advantages and limitations according to a field study in Southern Switzerland. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, June 15-19, San Diego, California, USA, iEMSS 2014.

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Abstract

Diffusion of smart mobile devices offers unprecedented opportunities to monitor travel behaviour, by means of the GPS devices they are equipped with: using a suitable application, potentially every smartphone owner can produce huge, inexpensive quantities of data suitable to profile her mobility patterns. We take advantage of this opportunity within the e-mobiliTI project, which aims at analysing the main psychological and behavioural barriers affecting the transition to new mobility solutions. The project sets up a ”living lab” made up of around twenty families and gives them the opportunity to test electric cars and bikes, public transport season tickets and car and bike sharing. Beside traditional social research tools (questionnaires, interviews, focus groups), to analyse their mobility behaviour we use a specifically developed smartphone application. In this paper we present the results of the first phase of our field trial and discuss the major challenges faced so far in the automatic gathering of mobility data: high battery consumption, limited performances of the GPS smartphone devices, problems in the Internet connectivity, limited reliability of the information the application asks to the users and risk that the users quit using the application, due to the lack of immediate compensation for the nuisance of being always monitored and for the daily effort of actively using the application.

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