I just posted the paper I wrote jointly with Peter Purgathofer and Fares Kayali of the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology Vienna University of Technology about the use of games in transportation, with a focus on the technical evaluation of the Grr-Grr-Bike game prepared by Peter and Fares last spring. Here’s the paper abstract:
This paper presents an introduction to using games in transportation. Many organizations are using online games to help explain complicated subjects, increase awareness and encourage participation, three key transportation agency objectives. The Grr-Grr-Bike game was developed to better understand how mobile games could be designed to achieve these objectives. In the game players swipe the screen to guide a bike rider along an increasingly more complicated streetscape while avoiding opening car doors and stopping at traffic lights. The game’s objective was to encourage people to get involved in local bike planning and to teach them about urban cycling. The prototype game was released in January 2013 and then evaluated by game design experts. The experts produced a research report with improvement recommendations. The paper begins by providing an introduction to using games in transportation including example games, then uses the expert recommendations for Grr-Grr-Bike to illustrate important game design concepts, and finally presents general recommendations for using games in transportation.
You can download the paper from my publications page or directly via this link.
I’ll present the paper at a poster session on Monday morning January 13, 2014 between 8:30 -10:45 AM, Hilton International Center.
Hope to see you there!
Last week I participated in the Velopolis 2025: How mobile are urban societies in the future? workshop at Vienna’s MAK museum. The workshop was sponsored by the MAK and Vienna’s Departure Program. It was led by Sandra Y. Richter from the MIT Media Lab. On the first day we focused on developing scenarios for the future of urban bike transport. It was a fun and interesting way to think about the future in a structured way.
On Friday we broke into three groups and developed bike products for the future. Our group decided to develop a sort of social network for bicyclists called “We Bike”. The idea was to develop some sorts of clothing or patches that people could wear to show that they were open to being approached – in the real world – for conversation and potentially to serve as tour guides to their city. The idea also included apps and new media, but the main idea was focusing on real world connections. The video we developed is at the top of the post. (Our group: Corinna Danninger, Manuel Weilguny, Oskar V. Hanstein and me.)
The other two groups focused on developing products. One developed a cool picnic basket/seat/cargo container and the other developed a concept for using compressed air to keep you dry when riding in the rain … I wish I had that for my ride today.
It was a neat event both because we worked on bicycle ideas and because we learned some of the prototyping techniques used at the MIT Media Lab.
meine-radspur is a GIS app developed in Vienna that tracks the routes used by bicyclists. Riders can indicate hazards and places that need improvements later.
I’m organising a roundtable discussion on using social applications (social networks, crowd sourced reporting, online games, wikis, and other tools) for helping improve sustainable transport.
We’ll start by identifying existing applications and then brainstorm ideas for Vienna (and beyond). If there’s interest we’ll organise a group to develop a real application or two. If you have questions or good examples to include in the presentation please contact me (email@example.com).
When: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 … 18:30 – 20:30
Where: The Impact HUB Vienna, Lindengasse 56, 1070 Vienna
Please register here (free): https://sustainabletransportslot.eventbrite.com/
I’ve just finished preparing a paper titled A Proposed Structure for Understanding Interactive City Tools for the upcoming TU Delft conference: Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance.
The paper turned out to be much harder than I thought to write because I kept getting different ideas on how to organize the different interactive city tools … by the way, I borrowed the name “Interactive City Tools” from Play the City, an organization doing really great work out of Amsterdam. It refers to a wide set of applications and information technologies that can be used to help the public get involved in improving cities.
The paper was useful for me because it gives me a structure for thinking about interactive city technologies. It’s already helped me as I prepared a proposal for developing an application designed to improve the intermodal station planning process.
The figure above is from the paper. It shows the five main elements of the proposed structure: input, analysis, support, collaboration, and output. Most applications cover several of these elements which is one reason developing the structure was difficult.
Paper: A Proposed Structure for Understanding Interactive City Tools
Presentation: Interactive City Tools – a proposed structure for understanding
Conference Papers and Presentations: Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance
Grr-Grr-Bike! (working title) is a new smart phone app game designed to link players with local bike advocacy groups and provide some funding to these groups through in-app purchases. We have finished the prototype and are now working on fundraising to get the app finished.
That’s the YouTube Grr-Grr-Bike! game introduction video up above.
We need to raise 10,000 Euros to finish the game and put it on the app store. We are raising funds via the crowd funding application Indiegogo, here’s the Grr-Grr-Bike! Indiegogo information page (donate here!). There’s some fun perks for people who donate. UPDATE: We did not raise our goal and so we’re looking for other funding opportunities.
Even if you can’t donate, it would be great if you spread the word to your friends who are bikers and/or gamers … even watching / liking the video on YouTube will help.
Let me know if you have any ideas or questions in the comments and thanks for your help.
Waze – “Outsmarting Traffic Together” – application homepage.
A new report “Connected Commuting” was just released on the use of social networking in transport. The report describes how commuters use two social network apps to share information: Waze (for automobile drivers) and Roadify (for public transport users).
The study used two techniques: sentiment analysis of words used in the social network comments and focus group discussions. The primary sentiment analysis method used was a software program that recognizes the emotional connotation behind specific words and phrases.
Connected Commuting (2012) Report Cover
The study’s main conclusion is that social networking can be very useful for improving transport. It recommends that transport agencies use Sentiment Analysis to help provide better information to users. The report also recognizes that “technology is integral to the future of commuting” and states, “There is a real opportunity to please commuters and enhance the commuting experience through future app technology.”
I’d say that these conclusions also apply to transport in general (not just commuting) and the full report is well worth reading. On the other hand, the report seems to go too far with its generalizations about the differences between how auto drivers and public transport passengers use social networking. Clearly these groups use social networking differently, but I think there’s not enough data to support strong conclusions on differences since this field is changing extremely rapidly and the study was based on a limited amount of data. (The Roadify data used in the Sentiment Analysis was for a relatively short amount of time and the focus groups were very small.) This isn’t meant as a criticism of the study, only to say that it’s clearly the beginning of a fascinating field of research. Congratulations to the Task Force for starting the process and developing a structured approach for the analysis.
One idea for further research to consider additional social networks and uses of information. Maybe public transport users don’t use social networks as much as drivers because public transport users are well served by existing real time schedule applications. So it would be interesting to consider how social networking apps can be used to achieve other transport goals such as reporting system problems (e.g. seeclickfix) or long range planning input (e.g., GreenCityStreets.com). There were also several fascinating studies on the use of Twitter and Facebook presented at the 2012 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (Transit Wire report on Chicago CTA project) and 2011 IIID Transport Conference in Vienna (my summary notes).
Read more discussion of the Connected Commuter report at the Transit Wire and Atlantic Cities.
The Connected Commuter study was conducted by the “New Cities Foundation Task Force in San Jose” a team consisting of the New Cities Foundation, Ericsson, the City of San Jose’s Department of Transportation, and the University of California’s Mobile Millennium team from the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.