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Transportation Gamifying public transportation

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
19,161
Points
71
You've probably heard of a shower thought: an epiphany or brilliant thought that just pops up out of nowhere when you're bathing. I've had plenty of nonsensical shower thoughts before, like the idea that being a Generation Xer growing up in a city that was culturally 15 years behind the rest of the country could mean I'm a Boomer in reality. When I took a shower last Saturday night, though, a different idea popped up -- introducing the public to public transportation through gamification.

Over the past 50 years, public transit systems have been slowly moving to cashless fare payment. Today;s smart card technology is far more sophisticated than the simple stored value cards of the past. What if smart card technology is used not just to store cash value, passes, privileges, and the like, but also for transit geek stats keeping? For instance, if a public transit user registers a card (and gives up some anonymity in the process), the back office system that keeps track of times and trips could also use that data for gamification,. A rider could earn rewards or recognition for different transit usage achievement. For example:

  • Number of different lines they've ridden on.
  • Number of stations or stops they've entered or left. (For example, In the vein of amateur radio contesting, a "WAS" award for "worked all stations".)
  • Number of days of transit use in a row, month, or year..
  • Number of certain landmarks visited by public transit.
  • Long rides, or rides with three or more transfers.

You get the idea. Your thoughts?
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
29,608
Points
73
You've probably heard of a shower thought: an epiphany or brilliant thought that just pops up out of nowhere when you're bathing. I've had plenty of nonsensical shower thoughts before, like the idea that being a Generation Xer growing up in a city that was culturally 15 years behind the rest of the country could mean I'm a Boomer in reality. When I took a shower last Saturday night, though, a different idea popped up -- introducing the public to public transportation through gamification.

Over the past 50 years, public transit systems have been slowly moving to cashless fare payment. Today;s smart card technology is far more sophisticated than the simple stored value cards of the past. What if smart card technology is used not just to store cash value, passes, privileges, and the like, but also for transit geek stats keeping? For instance, if a public transit user registers a card (and gives up some anonymity in the process), the back office system that keeps track of times and trips could also use that data for gamification,. A rider could earn rewards or recognition for different transit usage achievement. For example:

  • Number of different lines they've ridden on.
  • Number of stations or stops they've entered or left. (For example, In the vein of amateur radio contesting, a "WAS" award for "worked all stations".)
  • Number of days of transit use in a row, month, or year..
  • Number of certain landmarks visited by public transit.
  • Long rides, or rides with three or more transfers.

You get the idea. Your thoughts?
Okay, I think that would appeal greatly....to transportation geeks. All 20 or 30 of us.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,481
Points
53
Sounds fun, but most riders just ride from A to B and back home. Plus, who pays for the awards or do you just give them a worthless badge on their phone? Which some people might like.
 

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,251
Points
25
We run a TDM program that's basically supposed to encourage people to take alternative forms of transportation like carpooling, transit, bike/ped, etc. It can be kind of a tough program to work on because there are a lot of limitations on what you can and can't do. I woke up from a dream and had the brilliant idea that once the pandemic is over, we needed to plan parties on the buses to encourage people to try them.

Anyway, my point is more that there may already be programs that are in place that could partner with something like that to provide rewards and help other programs meet their goals. There are commuter tracking systems that track this kind of information already (just not necessarily in the game format). I have been logging my teleworking trips since the pandemic started and just won a $50 Amazon gift card last week.

But I don't think the game in and of itself will promote use initially. You have to partner with other organizations and efforts to promote greater ridership. I'm not as plugged in on the research part of this programming, but there may be something helpful at the Association for Commuter Transportation.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,228
Points
30
Like a Strava for public transportation users? The public policy implications of this are interesting. You need to give Pete Buttigieg a call. Imagine a Kroger, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, or Safeway offering specific kinds of rewards to the users of public transit. Then, imagine a federal policy that awards a certain kind of tax break (or some other incentive) for those companies who show measured increases in quarterly public-miles-travelled for their customers? Also, think of the junk-coupons that will no longer be issued at point-of-sale for points members for 3 cents off per gallon at the gas station on the outlot. Better yet, award a coupon for a free fare for every ten public transit trips.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,676
Points
46
You've probably heard of a shower thought: an epiphany or brilliant thought that just pops up out of nowhere when you're bathing. I've had plenty of nonsensical shower thoughts before, like the idea that being a Generation Xer growing up in a city that was culturally 15 years behind the rest of the country could mean I'm a Boomer in reality. When I took a shower last Saturday night, though, a different idea popped up -- introducing the public to public transportation through gamification.

Over the past 50 years, public transit systems have been slowly moving to cashless fare payment. Today;s smart card technology is far more sophisticated than the simple stored value cards of the past. What if smart card technology is used not just to store cash value, passes, privileges, and the like, but also for transit geek stats keeping? For instance, if a public transit user registers a card (and gives up some anonymity in the process), the back office system that keeps track of times and trips could also use that data for gamification,. A rider could earn rewards or recognition for different transit usage achievement. For example:

  • Number of different lines they've ridden on.
  • Number of stations or stops they've entered or left. (For example, In the vein of amateur radio contesting, a "WAS" award for "worked all stations".)
  • Number of days of transit use in a row, month, or year..
  • Number of certain landmarks visited by public transit.
  • Long rides, or rides with three or more transfers.

You get the idea. Your thoughts?
I'm reminded of our bikeshare.... there is one game: Ride to all the ~40 docking stations in a single day. Bonus points if no ride segment is more than 30 minutes because basic membership or a daily pass costs a flat fee. If you dock a bike within 30 minutes of checking it out, you don't pay additional rental fees. You hear occasionally that someone has done it. It will soon get much harder because our bikeshare just acquired 25 more docking stations from Kansas City who just switched to dockless bikeshare (a decision they will soon regret; Dallas ended up with bicycles EVERYWHERE except where they were needed).
 
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