Solution proposed by:
In a Nutshell:
TrafficO2 is an app for smartphones that aims to encourage sustainable mobility and reduce traffic and pollution offering citizens a convenient agreement: prizes in exchange of sustainable moves.
Where and When:
In 2012 the project won the contest “Smart Cities and Communities and Social Innovation” promoted by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research. Between 2013 and 2015 the experimentation took place in Palermo involving a growing slice of the 60.000 students of the University of Palermo. Early tests have shown a reduction of more than 50% of CO2 emissions in the routes house-university.
An accessible and livable city is what we need to guarantee freedom and healthiness for citizens, but old cities are not designed for cars. Changing urban structures to meet the “oil based mobility traffic” is costly, degrades our environmental heritage and our precious resources. We need to change the mentality towards mobility, we simply need to focus on human behaviours and improve them in order to improve “human transit”.
The innovative idea is to combine in a serious game two of the complementary actors involved in the urban traffic scene: the community of workers/students and the local retail businesses. Depending on their destination, users thanks to trafficO2, can receive information on the different urban mobility options classified by emissions, costs and calories: the more environmentally friendly grant more points. Like this they collect points and win prizes and discounts from affiliated local businesses. All of the local businesses that subscribe to the platform as sponsors gain visibility and become stations of a new type of mobility system that fosters travel by walking, biking, public transportation, car pooling and car sharing.
In order to design a solution to foster sustainable mobility we started from a simple question: why do people move? We all move mainly to reach the working places or go shopping. The answer, though banal, helped us to focus on a process of urban mobility that can be more efficient because it facilitates the meeting between supply and demand. Presuming this, we invented trafficO2, a decision support system that aims to reduce traffic and pollution while creating value for citizens, the city and the urban network of businesses and sponsors taking part to the initiative. TrafficO2 is thus a platform for value exchange: for every responsible choice there is a tangible market value expressed, and every choice is an instrument for advertising and communication for local businesses.
«Traffic is the worst plague of Palermo», that’s what used to say a controversial character of Johnny Stecchino, a movie by Roberto Benigni. Obviously the statement would sound like a joke considering the much more asphyxiating social problems caused by mafia and corruption, but on closer look we find out that, according to ISTAT, Palermo is the slowest city in Italy and that according to TomTom it’s at the first places among the most traffic congested cities in the world. In a time when resources are scarce, facing the problem of the traffic in a city like Palermo is an ambitious purpose, but for the criticality of its context it represents a perfect lab to prototype innovative and low cost solutions.
During its developing phase the project has been tested in 3 different periods by the students of the University of Palermo: the users who have actively used the mobile app are 1877, while 187 local businesses have adhered to the initiative giving prizes and discounts. The mobile app has tracked 13228 routes, recording a total amount of 55.160g of spared CO2. The results, if compared with data on mobility habits collected thanks to a survey filled out by the users during the subscription phase, show interesting features allowing to detect specific behaviours connected to urban mobility and improve the solution that may be included in planning processes and result in new solutions for policy-makers in EU.