When people hear the phrase “eco driving”, they tend to think of a Prius or a Tesla and the recent tech movements to design driving around using less fossil fuel. But eco driving can mean so much more than just an electric car.
The Green Driving Challenge, founded by Scott Osberg and Sarah Stiles, was built on the premise of empowering users to reduce their carbon footprint by way of engaging with their driving data.
The Green Driving Challenge creates a gamified environment to encourage safer and smarter driving. Users plug in a small piece of hardware, log in to an ambient app, and get going with their trip.
“Not a lot of people understand eco driving,” said Rebecca Hinch, Director of Research and Communication for MyClubEco. “Eco driving is safe driving, but not in a grandma-driving way of safety. When cars go over 60 miles an hour, they lose efficiency.”
With a small piece of hardware and a background app, users can track and interact with their driving data over time. Metrics like speed, miles per gallon, and time spent driving without using fuel can all be tracked by the user to help them better understand their impact on the environment as they drive around each day.
Cars and driving can impact the environment on a far wider scale than most people realize. Crashes leave debris and chemicals behind and poor vehicle maintenance can result in higher emissions, not to mention the effect that a typical commute to and from work can have on the environment.
Osberg, who has a background in traffic safety, wanted to develop a solution to the question, “how do you get people to drive safely?”
“Scare tactics don’t work well,” said Hinch. “Giving positive feedback and using a gamified environment to give that feedback gives users enjoyment. The impact is indirect but effective.”
Gamification has long been a tactic to fuel engagement for users. Whether it’s earning points and badges, playing mini games, competing with friends, or even building up some cool data trends, turning just about anything into a game makes it less boring and more trendy. So why not translate carbon footprint reduction into a bit of a game?
“Our biggest hurdle right now is conveying the simplicity and effectiveness of the app to a wider user base,” said Hinch.
While the user base for the Green Driving Challenge is currently small, the team behind the Green Driving Challenge is using that to their advantage by taking a more personalized approach.
“We can give individual feedback and tips based on a person’s data trends,” said Hinch. “As our user base grows, we’ll need to build out an eco driving page with generalized tips based off of overall data trends.”
The Green Driving Challenge is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money they need for testing and development. While the plan is to maintain their non-profit status, the goal is to eventually create a social enterprise while still maintaining personalized feedback.
Interested in following the Green Driving Challenge? Check out their website.