Gamification in public transportation: passengers win points in ecological competition based on kilometers of travel, measured by Onyx Beacons

Posted by Doru Supeala / Thursday September 22nd, 2016 / Categories: iBeacon / 0 Comments

In the Bolzano region of South Tirol in Northern Italy, public transportation is not anymore just a service, but is going to be a game with generous environmental purposes. The regional transportation company SASA is trying to educate and motivate its customers to prefer public transportation instead of own vehicles, in order to reduce fossile fuels consumption, avoid pollution and protect the environment.

This September, the local transportation company has released a new version of its mobile application SASABus, which brings a stimulative innovation for every passenger and user: everyone who is registered as a user and uses company’s buses is transforming all kilometers travelled by bus into points that can be used in exciting online challenges and are added to an aggregate personal score, publicly visible.


The number of kilometers is precisely calculated for each mobile user which turns on the Bluetooth on its mobile device. Every bus and every bus stop reached by SASA buses are covered with Onyx Beacons, and these devices provide, via mobile app installed on the mobile phone and via a CMS platform, an accurate measurement of the on-bus dwell time for each mobile user.

The boarding point and the drop-off point for each travel are precisely determined as well, by using the Bluetooth Beacons deployed in each point of the transportation network. So, the number of kilometers, the number of travels and all the interactions via mobile app between passengers and the transportation company can be transformed in points and accumulated in a general score.


Passengers are awarded with points for every kilometer of bus travel, but they can gain supplementary rewards when responding to various challenges launched by the transportation company: they are invited to follow and go onboard to the ecologic fuel cell buses (powered by hydrogen engines), to accumulate a given mileage in a month or to participate at “Giornate per la mobilità” – “The Mobility Days”.

For each level passed in the game, passengers receive other rewards that can be shared via social networks and all their results are publicly presented in a ranking, so they feel like being in a continuous competition with other users. Using the public transportation system is not anymore a boring daily routine, but becomes a fun, entertaining and challenging experience, having as an ultimate purpose the protection of the environment, the reduction of the air pollution and a better and friendly traffic in the region. Passengers become an active community, their social interactions and relationships are stronger and they have a real contribution to the improvement of the quality of life in their region.

Gamification becomes an effective method to involve and stimulate local public towards an increased use of public transport, by transmitting a virtuous message such as protection of the environment and by providing a game tied to the actual reality, that mobilizes people to become more and more active and interested in this context.

„In an increasingly complex urban dimension one has to act through new technologies in order to involve who is living in the cities and to confront current issues. At the global level, projects that aim at establishing a balanced relation between the circumstances of the citizen, environmental resources and life styles are becoming increasingly widespread. Their common leitmotiv is the careful use of new technologies, oriented towards improving our daily habits.

Technology, with its undeniably constant increase in dissemination, is becoming a driving force for a new relation towards the world around us, a strong appeal of our time to reconsider environment and tools in a new light. It is in this spirit that SASA wants to continue its innovation, trying to increase even further the general level of satisfaction, which is already amply documented by periodic surveys”, says the press release related to this launch, signed by the SASA management team.

SASA is the first company on the local as well as on the national level in Italy to take on the challenge posed by the ever more widespread concept of the Playable Smart City. This is the second phase of implementation for the SASABus mobile application, based on Bluetooth Beacon technology. In the first phase of the project, 1000 Onyx Beacons were placed on all buses and bus stops, to provide interactive real-time information for passengers and satisfaction surveys, applied to passengers immediately after they have made a local travel.

The project is implemented by Raiffeisen Online, a prestigious partner of Onyx Beacon in Italy, and a member of the famous Raiffeisen financial group. The new version of the SASABus application is already accessible for all Android Mobile users and will be available very soon also for iOS.

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