While sustainable mobility options and improved information services such as co-modal route planners are increasingly available, such offers could not yet encourage enough travellers to change their habitual mobility patterns. The objective of Virtual Pursuit is to assess the potentials of such gamification approaches in the traffic context: the idea is to let Players compete against several virtual ‘twins’ travelling along alternative routes, thus increasing the perception of alternatives and triggering changes in their mobility behaviour. The Virtual Pursuit approach is to investigate and continually test with potential user groups 1) routing aspects and 2) the potential of various gaming elements. The project results are concepts and system specifications for game variants having a high potential to be successful for the target groups.
Despite growing availability of sustainable mobility alternatives and improved information services provided e.g. by multi-modal route planners there are still many people sticking with their mobility habits. “Persuasive” measures aim at significantly increasing the interest for and the perception of these alternatives by designing the interaction with such mobility information services in an entertaining fashion. Virtual Pursuit investigates the potentials of gamification approaches in the context of mobility by way of a specific game concept, where gamers compete in real everyday situations against other virtual travelers (trip “twins”), who aim for the same goal on alternative paths through the multi modal transport system. In this way the perception of alternative ways of traveling can be enhanced and changes of habits stimulated.
The main focus of Virtual Pursuit is not to include gaming elements into mobility information services, in order to stimulate habit changes, but to include mobility elements into games, in order to stimulate gamers to gather information on mobility alternatives. Through this concept groups in the population are reached, that currently are not interested in multi-modal trip alternatives. As they learn about the alternatives they are more inclined to consider them as viable alternatives for their real trips.
In order to obtain plausible and acceptable game results, which motivate to playing the game, realistic alternative routes including their evaluation need to be generated. To this end in Virtual Pursuit aspects related to the actual alternative routes (choice of plausible alternative routes) are combined with gaming elements (route evaluation, goals of the game, functionalities, gaming platform) and investigated using interdisciplinary methods involving tests on selected potential user groups.
In this way Virtual Pursuit develops for the first time concepts for presenting decisions on multi-modal mobility alternatives in a motivating and entertaining fashion and above all persuasive. Gamers learn that goals in the game can be achieved and their own decisions in the real world have consequences. Consequently an information platform is developed for experimenting in a gaming environment with different options achieving awareness of the consequences associated with the choices. The results of Virtual Pursuit contain imple-menttation concepts and system specification for different game variants directed towards different targeted groups (e.g. depending on age, game preferences, attitudes towards technology) showing high potential for succeeding in affecting the mobility habits of the targeted groups.