MobileCityGame – a virtual community for sustainable mobility

The case study implements and tests a new interactive digital game called MobileCityGame to examine how gamification can support citizen engagement in the energy transition. The game is being developed and tested in Karlsruhe, a city in the southwest of Germany with about 315,000 inhabitants, and it aims to help citizens gain insights on and participate in the sustainable planning of mobility within a city.

A digital game demonstrates the complexity of sustainable urban mobility

Developed by researchers and city representatives together with citizens and civil society, MobileCityGame provides a real-life setting simulating the city of Karlsruhe, including its population, infrastructure, mobility services, behavioural trends, new technologies, and energy systems. In the game, the players act as sustainable city planners, i.e., decision-makers, with all the processes and decisions that come with it. The players’ choices influence the course of the game, which means they get immediate feedback on their behaviour and get to experience the complexity of sustainable mobility planning.

The game aims to make citizens aware of the complex relationship between different aspects of decision-making and its behavioural consequences. The players gain a better understanding of policy and decision-makers, their mobility choices and the related energy usage, as well as the importance of sustainable mobility within their city. By playing MobileCityGame, the citizens of Karlsruhe are likely to gradually change their behaviour towards more sustainable actions as they learn to understand the systemic consequences of their own urban mobility choices and those of others. Furthermore, playing the game may lead to citizens gaining broader views of sustainability and adopting conscious actions not only in the mobility sector, but also in other areas, such as energy efficiency, which could be perceived as a more active type of energy citizenship. 

We will study how gamification can create understanding and engagement in the energy transition

In the case study, we will evaluate the perceptions and behavioural intentions of the players through surveys. A special focus may be placed on younger citizens, such as teenagers at school. The evaluation will also include feedback (via short interviews or small workshops) regarding MobileCityGame to further improve the game and its effects, and to foster interaction between players. Currently, MobileCityGame is in its development phase. The case study will thus start as soon as the game is ready to be played, most likely in the second half of GRETA’s lifetime.  

The case study will provide valuable insights on the importance of gamification in enhancing awareness of energy-related issues and citizen engagement in the energy transition. Moreover, it will demonstrate the effects of a digital community (the digital city of Karlsruhe) and interaction between players. Ideally, the game will be expanded to other cities, creating more energy communities – Karlsruhe acts as the starting point. The case study is led by Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.


Dr. Sabine Preuß
Senior Scientist, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research 

Maria Stadler
Researcher, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research 

Dr. Claus Doll
Project Manager and Coordinator of MobileCityGame, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research

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