May 21, 2014

Want To Ease Traffic Congestion? Just Play Games!

Chutes and Ladders
Although seemingly counter-intuitive, a new game app developed by a Google Ventures-backed start-up can reduce traffic in busy transportation systems.

How? The app, a mobile version of the children's board game Chutes and Ladders, incentivizes people using transit systems to commute during less active hours, thus reducing congestion at traditionally brisk travel times. Users earn points when they commute during off-peak hours based on the time-stamp on their commuter cards, and those points can be redeemed for real prizes, including money or tickets to sporting events. Preliminary results showed as much as a 17% shift from peak to off-peak travel in heavily congested areas, including Singapore, Bangalore and California.

Would cash and prizes tempt you to show up to work at 10AM, instead of 8AM? You'd be able to earn money, sleep in and save the earth. Sounds like a win-win for everyone! (just make sure your boss is on board.)

To learn more about this inventive game app, read this article or visit Urban Engines.

Screenshot of the app

May 6, 2014

Playful Recycling

Can recycling be fun? The folks at the Coca-Cola Company seem to think so. To encourage recycling in parts of the world with little awareness of its benefits, Cola-Cola introduced an arcade game powered not by tokens nor money, but by plastic Coke bottles. Just pop an empty bottle into the uniquely designed slot and earn your chance to play the Pong-like game on the machine.

Known as the "Happiness Arcade," this game was on display in six different parts of Dhaka, Bangladesh over a six-day period. Watch the awesome reactions of some of the players in this video.

What do you think? Can playful recycling lead to broader awareness and higher rates of participation?