Using digital social market applications to incentivise active travel: empirical analysis of a smart city initiative

Francesco Manca, Nicolò Daina, Aruna Sivakumar, Jayne Wee Xin Yi, Konstantinos Zavistas, Giuliana Gemini, Irene Vegetti, Liam Dargan, Francesco Marchet

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as mobile communication networks, and behaviour-based approaches for citizen engagement play a key role in making future cities sustainable and tackling persistent problems in high-density urban areas. In the context of Sharing Cities, an EU-funded programme aiming to deliver smart city solutions in areas such as citizen participation and infrastructure improvements of buildings and mobility, a prominent intervention has been the deployment and monitoring of a Digital Social Market (DSM) tool in Milan (Italy). The DSM allows cities to engage with residents and encourage sustainable behaviours by offering non-monetary rewards. This paper aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the DSM approach to promote active travel (cycling and walking) by analysing the data collected through the app as well as through participant surveys. Our model results show that a broader engagement with the DSM app (number of claps to posts, number of posts made, non-monetary rewards earned by participating in non-travel events) is positively correlated with the monitored level of active travel. Lifestyles, attitudes, and social influence also explain the variability in cycling and walking. This highlights the importance of investigating these factors when replicating such initiatives on a large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103595
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Early online date13 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022


  • active travel
  • digital social market
  • smart cities
  • social network
  • sustainability


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