An innovative GPS smartphone based strategy for university mobility management: A case study at the University of RomaTre, Italy

Eleonora Sottile; Giovanni Tuveri; Francesco Piras; Italo Meloni; Tommaso Giacchetti; Daniele Calli; Vittoria Concas; Leonardo Zamberlan; Stefano Carrese
Research in Transportation Economics

Private car dependence has adverse effects on both mental and physical health. Travel Demand Management (TDM) strategies are adopted by public and private organizations to encourage users to switch to sustainable transport for daily commutes. Originally, mobility management only focused on employees, but recently various universities worldwide have started to adopt policies specifically targeted at students. To improve their effectiveness, an innovative approach to TDM based on a GPS smartphone application is tested at University of RomaTre (Italy) on a sample of students. The strategy identifies the integration of all mobility management activities into one smartphone application called IPET (Individual Persuasive Eco-Travel Technology). The IPET enables activity-travel data collection and automatic processing, personalized information provision, use of persuasive technology and implementation of a gamification system. Two questionnaires were conducted before-and-after the measure, to assess its effects on psycho-attitudinal factors. The main objective of the investigation was to analyze individuals’ voluntary behavioral changes with regard to travel mode and everyday behavior following implementation of a personalized travel plan. Data analysis indicated a strong positive change in the level of awareness regarding CO2 emissions and calories burnt after the program implementation. Comparison of GPS data collected in the first and second weeks showed, for those who received a personalized travel plan, an 8.1% shift towards more sustainable transport modes.