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Gamifying transportation and active modes — what's next?

24 February 2016

Like many people, I'm obsessed with data. For me it's cycling data — every ride I do gets uploaded to Strava and examined for personal records, average speeds and elevation gains. Each ride will bring a new insight and I can even compete for digital badges. But what if all this data, all this effort, could be rewarded tangibly? Let's say you commute to work by bike a couple of times a week, saving four single occupancy trips. What if you UberPool’d to work on one of those days? What if you could convert those trips into rewards? 

Steer Davies Gleave has been developing gamification tools for six years now and have just finished designing developing our next-gen Commute Challenge platform. It's been built from the ground up using all the experience we've gained through the years and we've done it in a way that will allow us to draw upon the way people move, securely collect and analyze their data, and reward them for doing so in a positive and fun fashion. 

Last year we recorded a webinar in which we talked about the 'quantified self', and how we could hook into existing fitness apps and data feeds to create really exciting commuter challenges. Don't recreate the wheel, but present data in a new and interesting way. Why build yet another app, when you could use someone else's with a huge user base?

We've been allowing Challengers to manually log their trips for a while now, and have purposely avoided an 'app' (we make the site responsive to mobiles instead) - mainly because, well, why build another app? We are instead looking at how we could allow Challengers to log their active trips (walking, cycling, running, etc.) via a GPS app like Strava, or record a transit trip via an app like CityMapper or Google Maps and then automatically include it in a Commuter Challenge. Not only would it make it easier for users to take part, but the client would have access to some pretty interesting data. 

The technology exists and we are confident that Commuter Challenges will soon recognize the power of the quantified self as more people track their trips. We are currently working in Central Florida with the reThink team, and with GetDowntown in Ann Arbor, MI. Both of them are looking to more exciting ways to engage and involve people in Commuter Challenges, and to get them to switch trips on a regular basis. Watch this space - but if you are interested in using gamification for your TDM program, please get in touch!

Written by Craig Nelson

About the author

Craig Nelson's picture
Craig Nelson
Craig specialises in digital information solutions for transportation, gamification websites, Intelligent Transport Systems and Smart Cities. Craig has managed numerous innovative technical projects in North America and the UK, including multi-modal travel portal websites, interactive maps and bespoke software development.

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