Sustainable urban mobility: introducing AYR

Today, May 14th, CEiiA presents its newest innovation to the world, at the New York Smart Cities Summit: the AYR Platform. CEiiA is a Portuguese Centre of Engineering and Product Development, and we at CLOO are advising the team on integrating behavioral insights into the project. The AYR Platform is the first platform that rewards users for opting for sustainable choices. Those who save CO2 emissions by commuting to work by bike, scooter or electric car can gain AYR credits. They will then be able to exchange their AYRs for products and services. Imagine, for example, to pay for a delicious coffee with the AYRs you gained by cycling to work in the morning.

CLOO is advising CEiiA on integrating behavioral science into its platform. People behave in less sustainable ways than they might ideally do. What  might prevent people from shifting their behaviors to be more sustainable – to take more optimal decisions? CEiiA’s AYR Platform has the potential to radically influence people’s daily habits in small, but incremental steps. We at CLOO have been exploring how the platform can optimally engage citizens to overcome the hurdles to sustainable choices.

Behavioral science can help design programme and app features that take into account the seemingly inconsistent and unpredictable actions of people, and boost engagement and social impact. A large part of CLOO’s work is to understand and design for the context in which people make decisions. For example, what habits would people have to break to shift to more sustainable transport? Do they feel it is socially acceptable to take the bike or scooter to work? What are people’s implicit biases towards, and expectations of, low-carbon transportation? Can small financial rewards for choosing sustainable options encourage people? Or is it likely to backfire   for those who already engage in sustainable behaviors? These are questions we have been asking ourselves, and will hopefully support the product design. We are excited to continue to contribute to this research area. We wish CEiiA the best of luck presenting the AYR Platform to the world!