A research collaboration of AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and Changing Places at MIT Media Lab

by Agnis Stibe, Matthias Wunsch, Alexandra Millonig, Chengzhen Dai, Stefan Seer, Katja Schechtner, Ryan C.C. Chin, and Kent Larson.

Former affiliates: Felipe Lozano-Landinez, Francesco Pilla

The Project

We share the vision of cities as places where people live and work, connected by better mobility systems that are sustainable and enable a high quality of living. As a result of rapid urbanization, many existing transportation systems and particularly car depended ones can neither provide sufficient capacity nor help reaching that vision of the future city. Besides a rethinking in urban planning and public investments in urban transport systems, changes in the citizens’ mobility choices are necessary to realize a vision of a high quality of life and sustainable city.

The project goal of Persuasive Urban Mobility is to examine how persuasive technologies can be utilized to shift the mobility behavior of citizens. We are particularly interested in studying the key persuasive strategies to enable, motivate and trigger users to shift from high energy to low energy modes of transportation, with the current research focusing on promoting cycling as an alternative to single passenger car use.

Contact

Send us an email: agnis@mit.edumatthias.wunsch.fl@ait.ac.at

Studies

Current studies:

Virtual CYCLING COACH

We are helping citizens to start biking by providing them with an interactive, on-the-bike, experiential learning experience. The Urban Cycling Coach can be a feature of the Persuasive Electric Vehicle and is designed to help users develop their cycling competencies in order to make riding the city safe, comfortably and enjoyable.

Biking Tourney at scale

We are providing the necessary technology for running a successful bike promotion initiative to cities, bike advocacy groups, schools, universities and many other organizations around the world. Giving the right set of persuasive technology to a diverse set of people enables citizens around the world to start or increase their utilitarian cycling while providing insights to our understanding of change in urban transportation behavior.

Past Studies:

Biking Tourney 2015

We created a bike commuting challenge between 14 companies in the Greater Boston Area in fall 2015 aiming at motivating employees to commute by bike. This six week study involved 239 participants using a socially influencing system for reporting commutes and watching the rankings. The frequency of bike commuting increased for 15% of overall participants due to their participation. Within the subgroup of occasional bike commuters an even higher share of 30% commuted by bike more frequently.

Public displays showing standings of participating companies

Public displays showing standings of participating companies

Frequent Biking Challenge

Participants within this study were provided with an app to visualize level names and descriptions, badges and a competition element in form of a leaderboard. The design included several elements for competition and social comparison, enabling participants to compare their performance with the best and the average performance in a group.

Screenshots of the Frequent Biking Challenge 

Screenshots of the Frequent Biking Challenge 

Virtual Bike Tutorial

As safety concerns are one of the most cited barriers for urban biking, we created an interactive urban cycling training to enable the learning of necessary skills for riding a bike in a city while in a protected environment.

Screenshot of the Virtual Bike Tutorial

Screenshot of the Virtual Bike Tutorial

BIKE BUDDY PROGRAM

This study linked experienced bikers with novice bikers, organizing a joint bike ride in order to help the new bikers ride through the city. By that they were able to explore safe routes, have somebody to personally takes care on on of their fist rides and receive general tips for riding urban streets. The tutoring bikers got a rewarding experience through voluntarily helping other citizens in their community.

Publications:

  • Wunsch, M., Stibe, A., Millonig, A., Seer, S., Schechtner, K., Chin, R.C.C. (2016) “Biking Tourney: Effects of a Persuasive Corporate Commuting Challenge”HCI International 2016.

  • Wunsch, M., Millonig, A., Seer, S., Schechtner, K., Stibe, A., Chin, R.C.C.: Challenged to Bike: Assessing the Potential Impact of Gamified Cycling Initiatives. Presented at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 95th Annual Meeting 2016 , Washington, DC (2016)

  • Stibe, A. (2015). Towards a Framework for Socially Influencing Systems: Meta-Analysis of Four PLS-SEM Based Studies. In T. MacTavish & S. Basapur (Eds.), Persuasive Technology (pp. 172-183). Springer International Publishing.

  • Stibe, A. (2015). Advancing Typology of Computer-Supported Influence: Moderation Effects in Socially Influencing Systems. In T. MacTavish & S. Basapur (Eds.), Persuasive Technology (pp. 253-264). Springer International Publishing.

  • Wunsch, M., Stibe, A., Millonig, A., Seer, S., Dai, C., Schechtner, K., & Chin, R. C. C. (2015). What Makes You Bike? Exploring Persuasive Strategies to Encourage Low-Energy Mobility. In T. MacTavish & S. Basapur (Eds.), Persuasive Technology (pp. 53–64). Springer International Publishing.

Talks & Presentations

  • Wunsch, M., Millonig, A., Seer, S., Schechtner, K., Stibe, A., Chin, R.C.C., „Challenged to Bike: Assessing the Potential Impact of Gamified Cycling Initiatives”, Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, USA, January 12, 2016.

  • Wunsch, M., “Get ready for sustainable urban transportation” Changing mobility routines and increasing urban bike use with persuasive technology. AIT Mobility Talks, Vienna, December 10, 2015

  • Stibe, A., “Persuasive Cities for Sustainable Wellbeing”, Advancing Wellbeing initiative, MIT Media Lab, December 8, 2015.

  • Stibe, A., “Empowering Cities for Sustainable Wellbeing”, Personal Health Informatics seminar, Northeastern University, November 23, 2015.

  • Wunsch, M., “Evaluating Persuasive Strategies and Persuasive Technologies that Promote Biking as Sustainable Urban Transportation”, Young Researchers' Seminar (YRS2015), Rome, June 18, 2015.

  • Wunsch, M.: What makes you bike? Exploring Persuasive Strategies to Encourage Low-Energy Mobility. The 10th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2015), Chicago, IL, Juni 6, 2015.

  • Wunsch, M., “Introduction of the Persuasive Urban Mobility project”, MIT IAP course, MIT Media Lab, January 23, 2015.

  • Stibe, A., “Persuasive Biking”, MIT IAP course, MIT Media Lab, January 15, 2015.

  • Wunsch, M.: What makes you bike? Exploring Persuasive Strategies to Encourage Low-Energy Mobility. Lunchtime Scientific Series, TU Vienna, Vienna, January 12, 2015