Sustainable mobility persuasion via smartphone apps: Exploiting external extrinsic motivational factors

Cellina, Francesca and Ramalho Veiga Simao, José Pedro and Mangili, Francesca and Vermes, Nicola and Granato, Pasquale (2020) Sustainable mobility persuasion via smartphone apps: Exploiting external extrinsic motivational factors. In: Proceedings of TRA2020, the 8th Transport Research Arena 8th Transport Research Arena, 27-30 Aprile.

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Abstract

Cities worldwide seek to counteract problems associated with car-based carbon intensive lifestyles and novel appbased tools persuading mobility behaviour change are emerging as effective supports to structural and regulatory measures. Most persuasive apps adopt a gamified approach and motivate behaviour change through external extrinsic motivational factors, such as real-life prizes, with point-based rewarding systems depending on the distance travelled by non-car transport modes. Use of prizes, however, could be counter-productive, if not properly designed: promoting additional soft mobility leisure trips instead of modifying carbased commuting habits or stimulating wrong validations of automatically detected transport modes to gain points. In this paper, we introduce the features of a persuasive app co-designed with citizens in a Swiss-based living lab experiment, showing how, accounting for current limitations in automatic mobility tracking, we avoided counter- productive effects of typical point-based rewarding systems and guaranteed fairness, reducing the chances for app users to cheat the system.

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