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EcoNav project developing user tools to support more ecologically responsible travel behavior and decisions

The European Commission is funding the project EcoNav (Ecological Aware Navigation), led by CURE (Center for Usability Research & Engineering) an independent Austrian research institute. EcoNav aims to provide travelers with personalized mobile and web tools that allow, help and persuade them to behave in an more ecologically responsible manner with regard to their traveling behavior and decisions.

To convince users to make more sustainable travel choices, EcoNav intends to enrich navigation systems with innovative approaches and features:

  • Automated travel mode detection based on real-time GPS data will minimize the need for explicit user input.

  • EcoNav will determine the purpose of a trip through the analysis of behavioral patterns, and can then make appropriate trip-tailoring suggestions.

  • EcoNav will build dynamic user models allowing personalizing recommendations based on prior trip choices and individual preferences.

  • EcoNav will develop advanced door-to-door emissions models that provide accurate feedback on the ecological/carbon footprint and exposure levels in planning as well as during travelling and car driving activities.

  • EcoNav will develop and utilize interface strategies to give feedback about the ecological impact of individuals’ behavior as well as make the ecological friendliest behavioral pattern visible and attractive.

The system will be developed in two iterations, and field trials in Vienna and Dublin will contribute to the targeted high quality and impact of the developed EcoNav system. The EcoNav consortium integrates expertise from navigation systems, transportation sciences, environmental modeling, artificial intelligence, persuasive technology, human-computer interaction to software development.

EcoNav Project facts
Title: Ecological Aware Navigation: Usable Persuasive Trip Advisor for Reducing CO2 consumption
Reference: 288466
Funding: 7FP, Low-carbon multi-modal mobility and freight transport Future and Emerging Technologies (ICT-2011.6.6)
Cost: €3.13M; EU contribution €2.35M
Duration: 36 months (October 2011 – September 2014)

To achieve maximum impact, EcoNav will provide situation- and location-based suggestions and information to users regarding travel choices and options. The calculation and presentation of options will take the current location of the users, their actual travel situation, their individual preferences as well as their travel mode choice and trip history into account.

EcoNav will reduce the need for explicit inputs by the user and thereby increase the user experience, comfort and desirability of use.

In contrast to existing trip planning and impact calculation services, EcoNav automatically keeps track of the user’s prior travel decisions and tracks current travel decisions by use of GPS and automated travel mode detection. It identifies the current mode and purpose of a trip, and builds tailored models for each user.

—Johann Schrammel, Senior Researcher at CURE and coordinator of the project

EcoNav calculates the carbon footprint of a user’s trip, taking into account the used means of transportation as well as dynamic variables influencing the actual emissions such as current traffic situation, and therefore can provide more accurate data than simplistic, static computation models.

In addition to CO2, the model will also consider additional emissions such as NOx, SO2 and PM10. Based on this information the ecological and carbon footprint will be computed. This accurate calculation of the average ecological footprint enables the presentation of detailed and exact feedback to the travelers, thereby fostering the targeted behavior change.

Furthermore, EcoNav will present relevant information for multi-modal trip planning. The system’s user interface will be designed in such a way as to guide the user to choose less polluting alternatives. To this end the design will utilize known psychological principles and strategies such as making the consequences of choices clearly visible during the decision process. Special care will be given during the design to focus on emotionally positive aspects rather than restrictive approaches.

CURE has set up a consortium composed of experienced, interdisciplinary experts in the needed areas of expertise: trip mode and purpose detection; detailed calculation of environmental impact and carbon emissions; human-computer interaction research; persuasive technology research and mobile and web application development.

All research and technology development activities are centered on user needs. The project coordinator, CURE, has long experience with the application of user-centered methods. This will ensure that EcoNav’s objectives stay aligned with user needs and that user-based requirements are specified in enough detail to be usable in the implementation phase. The Austrian software and design company Fluidtime is expert in the development of mobile and web applications in the context of real-time information, and additionally has very broad knowledge of involving users in the development phase. In cooperation with the Vienna Public Transport Service (Wiener Linien), Fluidtime has developed the mobile transport service application Qando.

ETH Zurich will contribute with expertise in the area of transportation research and will ensure that transportation modalities and purposes are identified by using available GPS and travel information data. Furthermore, it will provide knowledge on transportation planning and data interfaces for transport information. ETHZ will work closely together with the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) of the National Technical University of Athens. The ICCS is expert on user modeling, personalization and adaptive interaction development.

The required expertise for estimating environmental impact is contributed by the Trinity College of Dublin (TCD), which will be responsible for the behavioral analysis, the emission and exposure modeling as well as the eco-driving model. TCD is especially experienced in the field of CO2 calculation and savings possibilities, as well as in the area of researching the reasons for travel mode choices.

Expertise from the navigation industry is represented by the global industry player TomTom and the Czech software enterprise Telematix. TomTom is the market leader for navigation software, used by more than 45 million people every day. Telematix has also developed widely used navigation software called Dynavix. Telematix will be a strong contributor in terms of system design and implementation. Together with TomTom they are highly interested in making use of advanced research outcomes for future product development.

The Austrian Partner ITS Vienna Region will be responsible for providing traffic information data in Vienna, where field trials will be held.



This is just an ordinary gps with nothing special, what's the fuss, LOL.


Half way thru the superficial hype I was persuaded "to behave in an more ecologically responsible manner".

I turned off my computer and did some chores.

Unfortunately I did not keep track of my carbon footprint.

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