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I-GEAR: Incentives and gaming environments for automobile routing

Traffic congestion costs Europe an estimated 1% of €105bn per year in lost GDP with congestion in Luxembourg alone estimated to increase driving time by an average of 21%; resulting in significant social, economic and environmental problems. The problem of traffic within Luxembourg is further amplified by the 120,000 commuters to travel to work everyday form outside the country coupled with the government`s stated aim of making cargo handling a major part of the economy. Furthermore, the reduction in government`s budgets means that approaches are required that do not necessitate the installation of expensive road-side traffic management systems, rail networks or new roads but instead rely on the use of mobile devices such as phones and tablet PCs which members of the public already own. In order to address these challenges iGEAR will provide new approaches to managing traffic in a distributed way without recourse to expensive infrastructure where drivers will benefit in some way via incentives for the good deeds that they undertake.

The iGEAR project will address the long-term challenges faced within the area of traffic congestion in Luxembourg and beyond. It will do so by developing and testing collaborative driving concepts that encourage drivers to undertake new courses of action through the use of social, psychological, or economic incentives  drawn from computer game design. As a result, iGEAR will move beyond the existing guidance offered by in-vehicle information systems (IVIS). In order to archive this iGEAR will adopt a contextual design approach coupled with appropriate methodologies drawn from traditional user requirements capture and testing approaches to identify relative scenarios, appropriate serious gaming concepts, effective incentives and usable (easy-to-learn/easy-to-use/fun-to-use) interface designs. iGEAR will also address the human-factors issues with allowing drivers to play games, in essence by focusing on designing approaches that will allow the driver to keep their attention on the primary task of driving. As part of this we will explore novel multi-layered and multi-channel interfaces that adapt to driving context.

In order to achieve this iGEAR will:

  1. Undertake extensive fieldwork to identify potential scenarios and incentives;
  2. Conduct extensive empirical testing of the scenarios and human-factor issues;
  3. Identify novel approaches to representing and interacting with information.

As a result the project will deliver the following aspects for in-vehicle information systems:

  1. A proof of concept system to optimise traffic flow based around gaming concepts;
  2. Guidelines for the use of gaming concepts and incentives in IVIS systems;
  3. Novel concepts for in-car user interfaces;
  4. An interaction model of game and incentive based IVIS systems.

iGEAR will enhance the critical mass of research within vehicular networking technologies and content and services in Luxembourg by working extensively with on-going and other proposed projects. This will allow for the development of shared technical approaches, know-how, data and potential end-users, therefore providing synergies that will bring long-term benefits for research and industry withing Luxembourg.

For further information or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Vincent Koenig or visit http://igear.lu/project/