Motivating urban cycling through a blockchain-based financial incentives system
Author(s)Jaffe, Caroline Adair
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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As cities become increasingly dense in the coming decades, they must turn to novel technologies and frameworks to address the imminent environmental, mobility, and public health issues that will arise with this population shift. The overwhelming use of single occupancy vehicles in the United States - they account for 76% of all trips - is a major contributor to pollution, traffic, and sedentary lifestyles. However, 50% of trips in the U.S. are less than 3 miles, and could likely be replaced by a more sustainable and space-efficient mode of transportation, such as bicycling, if effective policies and incentives were implemented. This thesis presents a blockchain-based financial incentives system where cyclists can leverage their activity and location data to receive financial compensation from organizations that would like to sponsor cycling activity. For example, an insurance company may want to reward its customers with lower premiums for partaking in healthy commuting behavior. A city government may wish to encourage cycling activity to mitigate urban congestion and pollution. A local business may sponsor bicycling activity in its vicinity to increase sales. The system presented in this thesis allows these organizations to internalize the positive externalities of cycling that have not historically been recognized or rewarded. This incentives system uses GPS data from sensors affixed to bicycles frames and powered by the cyclists themselves. The use of blockchain technology makes transactions in the marketplace secure, seamless, trustworthy, and transparent. Users are able to reveal "just enough" information about themselves to participate in the decentralized marketplace, instead of exposing their entire profile to a central entity. This market-driven system facilitates better matching between individuals and incentives, and delivers those incentives in a more timely, effective manner than current incentives programs. This thesis also envisions expanding this platform to include additional bicycle-based sensors that cyclists can leverage to collect and sell data, monetizing their commuting habits, and contributing to a scalable and stable solution for increasing the use of sustainable transportation in cities.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences ()