trafficO2: Move Play Win

Palermo, ItalyPalermo, Italy
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

TrafficO2 is an app for smartphones that aims to reduce traffic and pollution offering citizens a convenient agreement: prizes in exchange of sustainable moves

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if moving around the city became a game?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

An accessible and livable city is what we need to guarantee freedom and healthiness for citizens, but old cities are not designed for cars. Changing urban structures to meet the “oil based mobility traffic” is costly, degrades our environmental heritage and our precious resources. We need to change the mentality towards mobility, we simply need to focus on human behaviors and change them in order to improve “human transit”

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

TrafficO2’s main goal is to decrease urban traffic and pollution engaging users by giving them rewards for environmentally positive actions. The project indeed target three different urban actors: communities needing traffic management; local businesses willing to invest in innovative local advertising; big companies willing to engage customers with positive values. Users just need to open the app and start moving around the cities to get O2 points. Depending on your destination, you receive information on the different mobility options you have, classified by emissions, costs and calories: the more environmentally friendly will grant you more points. Users collect the points to win prizes and discounts from affiliated local businesses.


2012 - “Smart cities and communities and social innovation” by Italian Ministry of Education and Research; 2012 - EU Campaign “Do the right mix”; 2014 - Social Innovation AROUND Award; 2015 - Smart City Innovation Awards by MIT Enterprise Forum, BNL/BNP
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Marco starts his classes at 9 am at the faculty of Architecture in Palermo. He has got a car but traffic is really a plague and most of the time he arrives late thus starting the day stressed. trafficO2 is an easy and fun game created for people like him, living in cities with a high vehicle density and pollution. He just needs to select the alternative mobility option he prefers and start moving to collect O2 points that can be used to get prizes. If Marco on his way decides to drink a coffee at Moka Bar or he passes nearby other shops partners of the initiative, he gets more points. He can also increase them by challenging friends. So he is a winner, he is there on time, he has been environmentally responsible and he can get a free pizza.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The project has been launched in Palermo that, according to recent analysis, is the worst in Italy and among the 5 worst in Europe regarding traffic (Tom Tom traffic observatory). During its developing phase the project has been tested in 3 different periods involving students of the University of Palermo: the users who have actively used the mobile app are 1877, while 187 local businesses have adhered to the initiative giving prizes and discounts. The mobile app has tracked 13228 routes, recording a total amount of 55.160g of spared CO2. The results, compared with data on mobility habits collected thanks to a survey filled out by the users during the subscription phase, show interesting features allowing to detect specific behaviors connected to urban mobility and improve the solution that may be included in planning processes and result in new solutions for policy-makers in EU.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The testing phase has proved how huge is the potential such as the opportunity of spreading the project on a national and international scale. Test results have shown how, without any structural or infrastructural change, trafficO2 can improve citizens’ behaviours and thus start a process to change cities. Moreover the solution has proved to be cost effective, thus it can be easily integrated in every single city’s alternative mobility system. PUSH is building an international network in order to enlarge the research scenario, test it in new cities and comply with the Horizon 2020 standards.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Public Administrations, Transport Companies and Chambers of commerce can play a key role by integrating the service with the urban fabric, providing media, logistic support and info for the local public transport implementation. Among “Revenue Streams” the project introduce 3 product categories: Service: the platform for communities; Advertising: geo-localized/ propelling marketing; Data: info gathered thanks to the utilization of the platform.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Nuride, Moovel, Urban Engines share with trafficO2 some aspects. Thanks to its activities and technological assets it allows a shift in the state-of-the-art along a number of dimensions and against several gaps: tO2 potentially integrates local mobility offer for each city in a single app; tailor-made route proposals according to individual preferences, tested game strategy to foster good behaviors; social-value-driven proximity marketing; more active devices than the larger experimentation conducted to date (e.g. Smart Citizen); first hand mobility habits data; real time data visualization.

Founding Story

The idea of trafficO2, weird to say, was born in a car from two project designers, Domenico Schillaci (former researcher at Politecnico di Milano) and Toti Di Dio (former researcher at sensible city lab at MIT), during a trip from Milan to Palermo. "The main problem in Palermo is traffic" Benigni starred in a famous film, thus a difficult but challenging place to test the solution. The idea came from young people who had left Palermo to study or work abroad, so the goal was also to create a chance to return and launch a startup, PUSH, to shape a real dream: working for such a beautiful city, but full of problems, that is a difficult challenge but, at the same time, a great opportunity.


Today PUSH consists of a team of 15 young professionals – median age, 28 years old - software developers, architects, engineers, designers and experts in communication & marketing – connected by the passion for technology and urban dynamics, with the certainty that a concrete and sustainable change must start from the bottom, with the right mix of competencies, creativity and determination.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

We heard about the competition from the Ashoka Changemakers newsletter.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Project Manager of trafficO2 and co-Founder and Technical Director at PUSH

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

PUSH is an innovation lab operating in the Smart Cities and Social Innovation domains, with the aim of developing efficient and sustainable solutions to face difficult social and environmental challenges. Through a multidisciplinary approach, based on service design, the lab conducts action research activities to address and solve complexity with simple ideas, which are able to trigger new urban and social dynamics. PUSH develops social innovation projects in several areas: the actions' scopes go from the streamlining of bureaucratic processes to urban policies co-design, from the safeguard and valorization of the historic and artistic assets to the processes of transformation and evolution of the urban culture. It wants to be a reference point for citizens, public administrations and authorities to foster smart city policies and transform them into realistic and efficient projects. The experience gained by PUSH over the last three years in project management, mobile software development, UX design, fast prototyping and field testing is crucial for the future developments of trafficO2. Research and implementation activities will be conducted in line with the approach adopted in this first 3 years and taking into account the results, representing an excellent starting point for the future research.
Here below a list of previous projects developed by PUSH, that are connected to the subject of this proposal: Open Tour - Gamification and realtime information for tourism; uMayor - Mobile app for civic engagement; Palermo by Bus - Smartphone app for infomobility.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

In these years, projects and researches developed by PUSH, gathered many recognitions and we are proud to have partners like UN Global Compact, World Urban Campaign, Code for Europe. Our organization usually works on a double scale: in Palermo we carry out different activities - strictly linked to the territory - aimed at bringing out its hidden value and change, as far as possible, the city in which we live.
In Palermo we have been working closely with the local public administration but also with the network of organizations and entities active in the city.
The process of collaborative problem solving, crucial in many of our projects, imply the involving of other subjects, to improve the way of facing some critical situations and make best practices.
To make this possible at a national level there’s a long collaboration with Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, a research and innovation centre operating in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) domain based in Turin and different other companies and organizations. Moreover PUSH has built an international network by taking part and actively organizing and hosting events linked to international formats in order to animate the community and give back to the territory part of the value that we collect everyday.