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Enköping cyclists can combine benefit and leisure with their town's new initiative, Source: Enköping Municipality

Swedish town entices residents to help in path maintenance…with a phone game

Swedish town entices residents to help in path maintenance…with a phone game

This innovative approach has not been tried before in the country

Enköping is a town of about 21,000 residents in central Sweden, which like all other municipalities needs to take care of the walking and cycling paths on its territory. Unlike other municipalities, however, it has decided to resort to a mobile phone game as a way to pique local residents’ interest in lending a helping hand for that process.

For the purpose, the town authorities teamed up with Crowdsorsa, a Finnish startup software company. The latter developed a smartphone game where virtual fruits and berries, which are worth actual money, can be collected by filming the cycling paths.

Gamification – a policy for citizens’ engagement

Anyone with a mobile phone, a bicycle and a phone holder can take part in the survey, which starts at 10 am on Saturday, 16 July - unless it is delayed by rainy weather. The Crowdsorsa mobile game is free to download from the App Store and Google Play. The app contains an assignment that has been created for the Enköping survey as well as all the necessary instructions.

The game is very simple. Users see the local bike paths on a map view, filled with virtual fruits and berries. In Enköping, there is a 110-km cycling path for the players to map and each kilometre has objects worth approximately SEK 20 (about 1.88 euros).

The first user to collect an item is rewarded for it, then it disappears from everyone's maps in real time. This makes the survey well-organized and shows users where data has not yet been collected,” explains Crowdsorsa's CEO Toni Paju.

All collected video data is analyzed by an AI model to detect damage to the roadway and is then used for planning the maintenance of Enköping's cycle path network. Never before in Sweden has such data been collected by engaging citizens with a mobile game.

The project is important for us as we can finally get a good basis to see in a methodical way how we should maintain our walking and cycling paths. It gives us a better idea of ​​what we should prioritize. We also believe that this will be a good way to engage citizens in Enköping municipality to get out and experience our walking and cycling paths,” said Maurizio Freddo, traffic planner at Enköping municipality, as quoted in a press release.

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