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Technology platform to empower families to take decisive, tangible and sustainable travel behavior change action

Smartphone sensors and artificial intelligence enable the development of personalized interventions to transfer car trips to other modes.

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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (Benjamin Franklin).
Road transport accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the US. Importantly, a large proportion of families live within walking distance of schools – we should reduce their exposure (at least) for those trips where there is ‘no excuse’ to ‘put them in harm’s way’. In addition, one in five children in the United States are obese, due primarily to physical inactivity. Furthermore, child pick-up and drop-off have been identified in many areas as important contributors to congestion. Initiatives are thus needed to promote active travel to schools, thereby reducing mortality/injury and obesity rates in children, congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Smartphone-based technology platforms should be developed to empower families to transfer school trips from cars to other modes. High-fidelity smartphone sensors and advances in artificial intelligence enable the automatic detection of travel mode. This provides the foundation to implement truly personalized interventions that provide real-time recommendations for people to drive less, while enabling them to arrive at their destinations even earlier (or at worst within a few minutes of their current choice). Pilot studies should be implemented across schools to test the potential of new technologies that enable the provision of individually relevant information to promote a meaningful and sustained shift in travel behavior.


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