How gamification can help your city achieve its sustainable mobility goals

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Julia De Freitas
Julia De Freitas
The quiet force who coordinates marketing and communications
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Whether it concerns the transport of people or goods, mobility is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which consequently contributes to global warming. Today, the transportation sector is responsible for more than 15% of GHG emissions worldwide, with an increasing trend. In Quebec, road traffic alone accounts for more than 80% of this sector's emissions.

It is therefore essential for cities to encourage their citizens to transfer from modes of transport that emit large amounts of GHGs like solo driving, to sustainable mobility solutions such as public transit, cycling, walking or carpooling. However, changing a population's travel habits is not easy and this is where the concept of gamification becomes extremely interesting.

What is gamification?

Gamification suggests different games depending on the type of player and is particularly popular with millenials since it is a method that is mostly found on the web and mobile devices. The goal of gamification is to make an action more entertaining, to increase engagement and to eventually introduce a viral dimension. In a corporate marketing context, gamification seeks to change consumer behavior at a cost that is both low for the organization in question and advantageous for the customer.

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 take advantage of the notion of game, the user's satisfaction and the pleasure he finds in gaming in order to reach the targeted actors more easily, involve them and convert them to the company's orientations. For example, operations such as My Starbucks Reward program, or Nike + testify to the success of gamification with consumers who have embraced the values and experiences proposed by brands like these.

The gamification to encourage sustainable mobility

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

The concept of gamification is therefore very relevant to the issue of sustainable mobility, as the use of game mechanisms is a positive and effective way to change people's behaviors and habits over time. Take for example the Défi sans auto solo. This corporate game encourages employees to commute using other modes of transport than solo driving: whether by active transportation, public transit or even working from home. With the help of a mobile app, users can measure the impact of their mobility behavior in real time, be rewarded for their sustainable mobility trips with a rewards system, and at the same time become ambassadors of their sustainable mode of transportation amongst 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 gamification initiatives leads to a high level of engagement. Furthermore, these initiatives have a concrete and positive impact on sustainable mobility and the use of alternative modes of transport. The integration of game-related mechanisms in a sustainable development context 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 further exploited by cities, transport companies and businesses in order to take concrete actions and involve their citizens for a green future.