The gamification framework is central to ZeroTraffic. It employs game elements in non-game environments as a way to encourage drivers to adopt desired behaviours. It will engage users online with the aim to influence and modify their behaviour offline. It is based on lessons learnt from the 70 billion dollar video-gaming industry on user engagement, granting rewards targeted to specific motivators. The idea is to target intrinsic motivators of the users such as social good, environmental impact to keep them engaged and motivate them to modify their driving behaviour. The complete design of the gamification framework will consist of the following main components:
Rich, gamified, socially-enabled website
Reward Calculation Algorithms
ZeroTraffic will use the collected metrics from the Deputy Mayors and virtual transponder application as the primary input to calculating credits to be awarded to the uses. Points will also be awarded for other activities beneficial to the overall goal of congestion reduction. This can include referral to potential new users, switch to fuel efficient or hybrid cars, sharing of benefits resulting from use of system, allow use of anonymized travel patterns from the virtual transponder application, etc. Behavioural psychology research has indicated that individuals are more motivated by the chance to receive a larger prize, as opposed to the certainty of a small award, even when the overall expected payout is the same. This insight will be used, in future if the source of funding (e.g. corporate sponsors) exists, to create games which will allow the user to exchange the credits they earn for small monetary rewards.
In conjunction with the rewards, it has been seen that social factors are of key importance in reshaping user behaviour. The INSINC and Stanford Capri pilot programmes indicate that the more 'friends' a user has within the system, the greater the behaviour modification. The implication is that users will be motivated by competition with their friends. An alternative paradigm which may also be effective is to allow users to form and join teams (for example for a certain workplace or neighbourhood). The addition of teams allows for competition with a more cooperative and social flavour. It is important to realize that different groups of target users have different weightings for the various motivations: accumulation of rewards, competition with other individuals, cooperation with team members and so forth.
The ZeroTraffic website will support common social networking facilities, such as a forums, user profiles and discussion groups, with the aim of building a robust and cohesive user community. The connections between users may be examined as a social graph. This social graph, in conjunction with other data generated by the system (such as the trace of individual journeys taken) permits analysis to be performed which may yield novel insights into the nature of traffic flows and journey intents. This information may be used as feedback to 'tune' the rules of the game in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.
The gamification website will provide a number of activities and challenges to create an environment that leaves the user in control and provides an enjoyable experience while guiding the user through a series of actions that lead to intended goals of social good – reduced traffic congestion. Gamified features which may be included in the ZeroTraffic website include the award of points for completing certain actions and the presentation of badges to reflect user achievements. For example a user may be awarded a 'Green Commuter' badge, which is then displayed in her user profile for her friends and other team members to see. Leaderboards may be used to track overall and team standings. Interactive mini-games may be incorporated, perhaps as a mechanism for implementing a reward lottery in a more interactive and compelling manner.