How gamification can help your city achieve its sustainable mobility goals


Julia De Freitas
Julia De Freitas
The quiet force who coordinates marketing and communications
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Whether it concerns the traveling of people or goods, mobility is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which therefore greatly contributes to global warming of our planet. Nowaday, the transport sector is responsible more than 15% of GHG emissions issued globally, with an increasing trend. In Quebec, road traffic alone concentrates more than 80% emissions from this sector.

It is therefore essential for cities to encourage their citizens to change their means of transport that emit a high GHG emissions, particularly solo cars, to sustainable mobility solutions such as public transport, cycling, walking. or carpooling. Howerver, changing the travel habits of a population is not easy and it is here that the concept of gamification becomes extremely interesting. 

What is gamification?

Gamification consists in applying game-related mechanisms to processes that do not have the primary objective of being fun. It is a strategy consisting in using playing techniques in order to create commitment, or even to generate action in the target.

Gamification offers different games depending on the type of player and is particularly popular chez them millennials since it is a method that is mainly found on the web and mobile devicess. The goal of gamification is to make an action more fun, to promote the engagement of the individual who participates in it and to possibly introduce a viral dimension. In a marketing context company, the seeks to change consumer behavior at a cost which will be both low for the organization in question and advantageous for the client.

We therefore take advantage of the concept of game, user satisfaction and the pleasure that the latter finds in playing to reach the targeted actors plus easily, involve them and convert them to the orientations of the company. For example, doperations like the program My Starbucks Reward, or Nike + testify to the success of gamification among consumers who have adhered to the values and experiences offered by the brands.

The gamification to encourage sustainable mobility

This is nothing new; it has long been known that it is essential to reduce the use of the automobile in order to effectively minimize the many nuisances caused by its use. However, the assertion that the use of the automobile should be reduced can be viewed negatively by many because this means of transport remains simple for many, fast or simply essential.

The concept of gamification is therefore very relevant to the issue of sustainable mobility, because the use of games is a positive and effective means that makes it possible to modify the behavior and habits of inhabitants over time. Take for example the Défi sans auto solo. This business game in the form of a mobile application encourages employees to move other than by car alone, qWhether by active transportation, public transportation or even teleworking. Using a mobile application, users can measure the impact of their mobility change in real time, be rewarded for their “good deeds” using a rewards system and thereby become an ambassador of their sustainable mode of transport to their colleagues. 

It is very important to include an incentive aspect as well as a feedback positive in the context of a sustainable mobility game, since this is what will keep participants active and motivated to keep “playing”. 

Solutions based on gamification therefore have great potential in terms of the level of citizens' commitment to sustainable mobility. Indeed, it's a concept that's already proven and works well for one simple reason: it turns a boring, repetitive task into a much more fun task. For example, the Défi sans auto solo 2020 was able to mobilize more than 950 citizens for a total of 61,400 sustainable km traveled and 10,700 kg of GHG saved. The gamification has the power to give a deeper meaning to the daily habits of citizens and the challenges to compete with each other and to excel, while reducing their ecological footprint. 

In the end, is gamification worth it?

In conclusion, the implementation of initiatives integrating the gamification  contribute to the success of the action through a high level of commitment. In addition, these allow a concrete positive impact on sustainable mobility and the use of alternative transport. The integration of mechanisms relating to play in a context of sustainable development is definitely relevant to fight against the climate emergency and the possibilities of gamification in favor of sustainable mobility are numerous.

It is a strategy that definitely deserves to be exploited more by cities, transport companies and businesses in order to take concrete actions and involve their citizens for a green future.