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Article

A Large Scale, App-Based Behaviour Change Experiment Persuading Sustainable Mobility Patterns: Methods, Results and Lessons Learnt

1
Insitute for Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment, SUPSI, Via Trevano, 6952 Canobbio, Switzerland
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Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, ETH Zurich, Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
3
Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), USI-SUPSI, Galleria 2, Via Cantonale 2c, 6928 Manno, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2674; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092674
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
The present urban transportation system, mostly tailored for cars, has long shown its limitations. In many urban areas, public transportation and soft mobility would be able to effectively satisfy many travel needs. However, they tend to be neglected, due to a deep-rooted car dependency. How can we encourage people to make sustainable mobility choices, reducing car use and the related CO 2 emissions and energy consumption? Taking advantage of the wide availability of smartphone devices, we designed GoEco!, a smartphone application exploiting automatic mobility tracking, eco-feedback, social comparison and gamification elements to persuade individual modal change. We tested the effectiveness of GoEco! in two regions of Switzerland (Cantons Ticino and Zurich), in a large-scale, one year long randomized controlled trial. Notwithstanding a large drop-out rate experienced throughout the experiment, GoEco! was observed to produce a statistically significant impact (a decrease in CO 2 emissions and energy consumption per kilometer) for systematic routes in highly car-dependent urban areas, such as the Canton Ticino. In Zurich, instead, where high quality public transport is already available, no statistically significant effects were found. In this paper we present the GoEco! experiment and discuss its results and the lessons learnt, highlighting practical difficulties in performing randomized controlled trials in the field of mobility and providing recommendations for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: persuasion; randomized controlled trial; smartphones; mobility patterns persuasion; randomized controlled trial; smartphones; mobility patterns
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cellina, F.; Bucher, D.; Mangili, F.; Veiga Simão, J.; Rudel, R.; Raubal, M. A Large Scale, App-Based Behaviour Change Experiment Persuading Sustainable Mobility Patterns: Methods, Results and Lessons Learnt. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2674. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092674

AMA Style

Cellina F, Bucher D, Mangili F, Veiga Simão J, Rudel R, Raubal M. A Large Scale, App-Based Behaviour Change Experiment Persuading Sustainable Mobility Patterns: Methods, Results and Lessons Learnt. Sustainability. 2019; 11(9):2674. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092674

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cellina, Francesca, Dominik Bucher, Francesca Mangili, José Veiga Simão, Roman Rudel, and Martin Raubal. 2019. "A Large Scale, App-Based Behaviour Change Experiment Persuading Sustainable Mobility Patterns: Methods, Results and Lessons Learnt" Sustainability 11, no. 9: 2674. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092674

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