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Changing mobility behavior in a playful way

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Other specified
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Active mobility


Background & Policy context

The project PlayMobi aims to promote inter- and multimodal mobility in the urban area by developing a playful framework with newest ICT technologies integrated. The possibility to travel long and short distances at any time enables a high degree of individual flexibility on the
one hand, but also results in diverse traffic planning consequences, as for instance a massive impact on traffic flow and a constantly growing problem regarding lack of space. Increasing emission values (CO2, NO2) and the associated fine dust pollution are to be considered as
serious barriers for achieving objectives of international agreements on environmental preservation and negatively influence the health of city residents. Hence, the mentioned factors will increase communal and state expenditure due to insufficient sustainable and future
oriented individual traffic behaviour (e.g. accidents, parking violation tickets).


In the course of "PlayMobi" an integrative game concept was developed, which promotes diversity in individual mobility choices and encourages players to choose inter- and multimodal mobility options. The research approach is based on human playfulness (" homo ludens ") in course of which game mechanics, motivation and commitment are key factors for promoting sustainable mobility behaviour.

The development of the game concept and the app demonstrator "traces" took place using the mobile living lab method in order to involve the target group as soon as possible. Following this approach, the basic game mechanics, the functionality and usability were optimized iteratively based on the feedback from potential audiences. In addition, experts from the field of mobility and the game development were also involved, in order to enable a high level of technical and practical implementation.
"traces“ represents a synthesis of a serious game with location based gamification elements, latest technologies (like NFC and geofencing techniques) as well as behavioural theories (self-regulation model, flow theory, FOGG model). The goal of the project was to promote multimodal mobility in urban areas by changing and enhancing existing behavioural patterns. Alternative modes of transportation were promoted in course of the game while the reward system included virtual and real incentives.


Following the game motto - "make Vienna more colourful" – each player left colourful traces (see right screenshot) on a grey city map through the use of climate-friendly means of transport (cycling, public transportation, micro scooters, walking, car sharing). Motivating game mechanics (like emptying and filling virtual paint pots), an exciting narrative, on-site interventions at busy places in combination with challenging quests encouraged players to use as many different mobility options as possible. Each quest was tailored to predefined player types, in order to increase the level of personal involvement.

The project was evaluated using an extensive repertoire of methods (focus groups, expert workshops, summative evaluation). The results of the 2 -week field test included recommendations for the optimization of the game and an impact analysis with respect to the behavioural and cognitive effects.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
FFG - Die Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
bmvit - Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie


It was shown that the "traces“ game was generally well accepted. The success of the project is indicated by the numerous tracks which were recorded until well after the end of the field test. Bugs or tracking problems which occurred occasionally were resolved gradually through regular updates. Although the main aim of changing behavioural patterns with respect to increased multimodality could not be demonstrated statistically, a significant impact on the personal attitude towards and the perception of environmentally friendly transport could be found. These results could serve as facilitator for future research projects.


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