An incredibly innovative citizen involvement tool was used in the cities.multimodal project by Vilnius allowing people to become involved with the mobility management of their city using online games and/or questionnaires.
The game was developed in collaboration with another project named “Humanisation of Vilnius city Old Town and Centre” which was implemented by the Vilnius city municipality in parallel with the cities.multimodal project.
Both projects are oriented towards the promotion of sustainable mobility, the areas of implementation are intersecting, as both projects involve city residents. The programme was not an ordinary questionnaire, but a simple and short interactive game. Participants spent from 1 to 5 minutes to finish the game and despite the valuable data gathering, the format of the questionnaire was not boring at all, also encouraging car drivers to switch to more sustainable modes. In order to involve as many participants, as possible, the projects’ teams collaborated with the biggest car-, bike- and scooter-sharing company in Lithuania (and Latvia) - “Citybee”.
“Citybee” shared the link to the game on their Facebook page, this helped to reach 41,000 followers at once. The format of the tool is very interesting and only two pieces of information were mandatory when completing the game;
- why the participant travels to the city center (work, leisure, lives there, other options) and;
- where she or he travels from (A, B, C, D zones, where B and C project’ pilot area).
Afterwards, the participant would play the game analysing their travel behavior based on the answers they had provided. After the game itself begins – the participant chooses the mode he or she uses from eight different options (car, public transport, walking, cycling, scooter, taxi, car-sharing, multimodality) then, if the mode is not sustainable, the participant receives additional conditions. For example if the participant chooses the car, the game gives the information “Before starting the journey you notice through a parking app that there are no free parking spots within 5-minutes walk from your destination, what do you do?” and new options are provided (car, public transport, bicycle/scooter, walking). If the participant still chooses the car, the game gives them additional information: “Display on the entrance to the Old Town shows, that there are two available parking spots in 5 minutes walking distance from your destination point, while in a 15 minutes walking distance there are 15 available spots”. If the participant chooses the first option, game says there are no available parking spots and provides 4 options: circling, trying to find an available spot; parking in the parking lot, where 15 spots are available; parking far away for free and final option – illegal parking. The more sustainable the mode is that is chosen, the sooner game ends. If the participant still chooses the car option, he or she will receive information about fines, pollution and some random funny facts regarding the outcome choices. The participant also gets a chance to try out different options of travel.
The game was launched on 01 April 2020. The link to the game was posted on Facebook, through both projects’ local team pages, through the “Citybee” Facebook page and some influencers (oriented towards both sustainable mobility and car-culture). The link was also introduced to the local communities. This method of communication helped to collect ~500 responses in a two-week timeframe.
The link is still active, and residents can still try this game, however, the information for the report was downloaded after the first two-week period, on 14 April 2020. As this is a very simple game/questionnaire with only a few questions, the target group was people who travel to the city center. All the data gathered in the 2 weeks period was collected and analysed by the “Humanisation” team members. The results will be included in their project and will be translated to the society through social media, promoting both the cities.multimodal and “Humanisation” projects as well as sustainable mobility options (multimodality included). Additionally, the game was widely discussed in different FB groups, team members received a lot of feedback personally from embarrassed car users, surprised stakeholders, influencers, etc.
It is very important to prepare a well thought out questionnaire if the budget is limited – every question counts. In this particular case, authors have received a lot of feedback about what could be done differently – some of the participants were complaining about missing the e-car option (this option should give the participant another end result than a regular car because of different pollution situation), others stated that questionnaire is balanced only for people who use new technologies (particularly - apps).
Some participants thought it is important to identify the time period respondent will be spending in the area (15 minutes up to a whole day). However, the idea of the tool was to create a simple short game, that would provide as much valuable information for the project, as possible, while remaining attractive and fun, this is why additional questions should be considered very carefully. In this case, most of the participants were pleasantly surprised how short and fun was the game.
The game is accessible at: https://www.xwhy.lt/judumas_apklausa.
This case study was created as a part of the cities.multimodal project and based on a report by Aušra Sičiūnienė Chief Specialist Department for Development Planning, City of Vilnius, Kristina Gaučė, Mobility Expert and Marija Frolova, Project Coordinator.