USING GAMIFICATION FOR STIMULATING
SAFE AND GOOD DRIVING BEHAVIOR
Gamification, Transportation, Traffic, Safe Driving
The gamification concept can be defined as using game thinking
and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in
solving problems . Gamification is an increasing trend since
2011  and has been successfully applied in several areas, such
as marketing , education and training , health , and hotel
Figure 1. Relative amount of Google searches with the term
“gamification” through the recent years.
Based in this increasing interest in gamification and its reported
positive outcomes when applied to several activities, in this
paper a gamification system to be used in cars and transit is
proposed. This system would simulate safe driving behavior and
if implemented, hopefully reduce accidents and fatalities in
traffic as well as creating fun and joy while driving.
Good behavior in driving is defined in this paper as any action or
comportment while or related to driving that generates a benefit
to the society or to the environment. Safe driving is a subset of
Good behavior in driving, which is related to a benefit of
enhanced physical security to people.
2. IDEA AND EVALUATION
Cars and other vehicles could have different sensors to track
their usage and performance. There are sensors to track their
position (GPS), the distance between other vehicles (proximity
sensor), the acceleration curve and speed, the fuel consumption
and amount, the generated pollution, maintenance of the parts,
and if seatbelts are locked (on-board computer).
Given some time to adaptation, all these sensors could be
progressively implanted in every car of a community or country.
With specific software and a communications system through
cellphone networks, it is possible to build an on-board system in
which the driver could log in the vehicle with his driver license
as credentials, and data gathered from sensors would be sent to
the servers of a central traffic authority and linked to the driver.
These central servers would process the data and return
information and feedback to the driver’s smartphone or to a
display installed in the vehicle.
2.1 Driving behaviors
There are plenty of bad driving behaviors that endanger
pedestrians and people in vehicles, harm the environment or
generate problems for the society. With the use of sensors such
the ones previously cited, several of these bad behaviors could be
identified and measured.
The system could identify, for example, if the distance maintained
between the vehicles ahead is enough to be safe in the case of a
brutal braking (proximity sensor and speedometer), if the speed is
below the current limit (GPS, speedometer and a database of
roads), if the vehicle is in the wrong lane (GPS, compass and a
database of roads), if it does overtaking correctly (proximity
sensors, acceleration and steering), if it stops for red traffic lights
and pedestrians (camera, proximity sensor, GPS, speed), and even
the amount of people and weight in a vehicle (presence and
Sensors could also measure the amount of generated pollution
(patterns of acceleration and engine power), type of fuel,
excessive use of heater and air conditioning, and average of
people transported per distance as factors that affect the
Another good behavior that could emerge from having integrated
information about all the traffic is driving in less congested routes
to help the community and society by evading traffic jams.
For the purposes of this paper, the accomplishment of these
behaviors could be divided between compulsory (required by law,
such as stopping for red traffic lights) and voluntary (that are good
for the society, the environment, or provide additional security,
such as driving in a less congested route).
With the driving behavior being tracked in several ways as
presented, the driver would have a score that is affected by
gaining points if he accomplish voluntary good behavior, and
losing points if he faults in the compulsory behavior.
With good scores, the driver is ranked in a national system and
can reach levels. Depending on these levels, there could be
corresponding levels of discounts in the national car taxes,
stimulating drivers directly through financial reward.
Drivers could also receive badges for accumulated good or bad
behavior, stimulating specific goals that are major problems in
traffic. These badges could be used to also obtain discounts in
services and products as fuel, car maintenance and insurances (a
good driver pays less).
Based on The 4 Keys to Fun , a playful experience that
contains at least three of the four keys to fun (Hard fun, Easy fun,
Serious Fun and People Fun) is a deeply enjoyable game for a
wide market. Each one of these keys is a reason people play
games and is a mechanism for emotions.
By analyzing the proposed system, it accomplishes the Serious
Fun very well by being strongly based in self-improvement,
creating value outside the game and having learning and training
aspects. Besides that, the People fun key is vey well covered with
social interaction and collaborative activities when thinking that
every action is influential in the real world and in other people
directly or indirectly.
There are also aspects of Hard fun in a minor scale, such as scores
and self-challenging goals of being a good driver and get rewards.
With theses factors present, driving could be more than just
transportation, but also have the meaning of contributing to the
society, to the environment, and being rewarded and recognized
as a good driver by accomplishing actions and behaviors
Although user and play experience changes from person to person
and from each interaction, using the PLEX categories  for
playful experiences, the most significant experiences that are
expected to emerge due to the system mechanics and previously
mentioned feelings are Submission (being part of a larger system,
structure or community), Fellowship (social interaction and
building a better collective behavior), Nurture (taking care of
others and oneself) and Completion (contest with oneself and the
2.4 Other purposes
The system could also be used to enforce traffic legislation, by
detecting if vehicles are being driven without license, as well as
tracking stolen cars, generating statistics of accidents and driving
habits, generating a real-time transit map in an area, helping in
locating people and calling emergency automatically in accidents,
and applying fines.
Besides all of that, there are innumerous other possibilities of use
for an implanted system like this. Probably several of them could
also interact and improve the good behavior system with the
Gamification is still a new topic that has plenty of opportunities to
be applied on. Traffic is yet an unexplored one, with big potential
to generate innovative and social outcomes.
All the physical elements (hardware) needed to implement this
proposal are already available commercially. There are also no
significant obstacles such as new complex algorithms in software
development. Therefore, putting this system in use is merely
dependent on investment in adapting current vehicles and
integrating and processing data in a community level.
However, there could be privacy concerns with location data that
is constantly being generated and sent from users. This issue
should deserve attention in further discussions about this system;
especially as to be successful it requires large-scale adoption that
would be ensured by laws or regulations for all the drivers.
Finally, this system proposal fits perfectly with the gamification
definition of : “a process of enhancing a service with
affordances for gameful experiences in order to support user's
overall value creation”. In this case, driving is being enhanced
with gameful experiences to support the creation of better
driving related behavior value.
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