Exploring Mobility habits in NYC and Defining the Concept of Social Cycling for Behavior Change



Intense urbanization is presenting a challenge for cities suffering from congestion and high energy use for personal urban mobility. Sandra researched how to change mobility behavior by employing persuasive technology to increase levels of bike-commuting as a sustainable and healthy mobility option.


Sandra investigated related work as well as best practices of persuasive technology for changing behavior. She chose New York City as a site example and analyzed current mobility patterns. Sandra conducted in-depth interviews to explore why urban young professionals don’t bike commute pairing qualitative research with quantitative assessments. The most interesting patterns were formulated into insights which functioned as design guidelines for a strategy to increase bike commuting.  Her main finding showed that biking alone in a dense area is perceived as unsafe while biking with others increases the level of perceived safety. Within her thesis, Sandra coined the term “Social Cycling”, which she explains in more detail in an upcoming paper. Sandra developed a strategy and specific design guidelines for cities to enable social cycling. A crucial element of her proposition was a concept for a persuasive mobile application, which she designed. Sandra implemented a variety of persuasive elements into the functionalities of the application and created a use case scenario


Spike is a social cycling application that enables city dwellers to bike-commute together. The application is designed as an add-on for bike sharing programs. Persuasive strategies in the system like frequent biker miles, social benefits or free minutes incentivize and trigger a behavior change.

Documentation for review here.Persuasive Mobility_358175



Yael Alkalay

Juhee Kim