Skip to main content

CROWD sensing and ride sharing FOR ROAD Sustainability

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CROWD4ROADS (CROWD sensing and ride sharing FOR ROAD Sustainability)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2019-03-31

Road networks are the largest publicly owned assets, they provide essential services to society as a whole, and they play a fundamental role in socio-economic development. At the same time, roads have huge environmental impacts and maintenance costs.

The CROWD4ROADS ( project combines trip sharing and crowd-sensing initiatives, harnessing collective intelligence to address sustainability issues of road passenger transport, by increasing the car occupancy rate and by engaging drivers and passengers in road monitoring. BlaBlaCar ( is the largest trusted ride sharing community worldwide. SmartRoadSense ( is a crowd-sensing system which makes use of the accelerometers of car-mounted smartphones to estimate the roughness of the road surface.
The CROWD4ROADS platform establishes a synergistic relationship between BlaBlaCar and SmartRoadSense, exploiting the network effect which is inherent in both the initiatives, to provide a sizeable impact in terms of car occupancy rate, road monitoring, and end-user engagement in road maintenance and transport sustainability.

Specific objectives are:
• the development of a scalable and inclusive crowd-sensing platform linked to carpooling communities;
• the empowerment of citizens as active community members able to adopt more sustainable usage habits and contribute to road transport sustainability;
• the development of real-world pilots at urban, regional, and national scale;
• the collection of accurate up-to-date open datasets on road surface conditions;
• the development of gamification techniques designed to engage car drivers in passenger transport sustainability;
• the design of a general-purpose rewarding platform that provides policy makers and stakeholders an instrument to raise awareness and incentivize common-good initiatives, driving user engagement.
"Main results include:
• CROWD4ROADS platform: platform inctegrating mobile crowd sensing and carpooling in order to empower endusers to contribute to the sustainability of passengers' road transport. The platform allows endusers to contribute anonymous open data on road quality, while being rewarded both for the data they provide and for the sustainable habits that they adopt.
• CROWD4ROADS deployment and scalability: the platform is active in 7 countries (Italy, Romania, UK, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Hungary) and ready to be activated wherever there is a reference community;
• Open Data: aggregated data on road quality, covering more than 64,000 kms of roads across 7 European countries (see;
• Gamification for CAPSSI: design of a game, ""Balance Trucks"", capable of automatically generating playable terrains from any kind of Open Data, in order to raise awareness on Open Data Sets;
• Open and inclusive reward platform: the WOM (“Worth One Minute”) platform puts CAPSSI aims, citizens, and third-party stakeholders in communication in order to trigger network effects and positive externalities, which can contribute to ensure engagement, sustainability of grassroots initiatives towards the common good, and social innovation. The WOM system has been developed in the open, published under an open source license and has been recorded as a CAPSSI technological output;
• Communication: online and targeted communication, newsletter aimed at the BlaBlaCar drivers community and sponsored articles on national newspapers;
• Dissemination: 2 golden publications + 6 conference papers + 2 papers under submission;
• Exploitation: direct contacts with hundreds of municipalities and stakeholders in Italy, France, Romania, and the UK, exploitation plan based on the inclusive reward platform;
• Reuse guidelines: practical guidelies on how to exploit the results of the project outside the pilots;
• Early adoption of project results and influence on local policies: public administrations at local and regional level have officially adopted SmartRoadSense as a tool that enables efficient monitoring of their road networks. Also, the WOM platform has been adopted by local business associations, the University of Urbino, and by Regione Marche. Moreover, Regione Marche will reuse CROWD4ROADS project outcomes through the integration of the WOM platform with its carpooling platform to be adopted at a regional level;
• Validation and recognition: crowd-sensing has been officially recognized by many institutions and public administrations (Regione Marche, the Danish Road Directorate, and many municipalities in Italy and Romania) as a suitable complementary technology to enhance road monitoring frequency and lowering the costs. The Danish Road Directorate has signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Urbino to run comparative experiments to further validate the method. The experiments will be conducted by the end of 2019.
• Spin-off: a University spin-off, benefit corportarion devoted to digital social innovation, has been established in Urbino before the end of the project. The recently founded “DIGIT srl” will take over development and maintenance activities of project outputs. Starting from the technological backbone developed during the CROWD4ROADs project, innovative road monitoring solutions will be provided to public administrations and other stakeholders;
"CROWD4ROADS leverages the sharing economy to allow citizens to take active part in the sustainability of the road network, while creating a synergistic relationship between public and private stakeholders. The impact of the project is two-fold: direct impacts include continuous collaborative monitoring of road quality and more sustainable car usage habits adopted by community members; indirect impacts include the emergence of crowd-sensing and gamification as feasible means to empower and engage endusers in sustainability challenges.

The progress beyond the state of the art achieved can be mainly recognized in the creation of an ecosystem integrating: mobile crowd-sensing, carpooling, gamification, rewards, and open data. The work performed so far has led to many scientific contributions in the fields of crowd-sensing, gamification, and open data management.

Main impact of the project:
• The SmartRoadSense mobile application has been adopted in several public and private road monitoring projects, including public monitoring of in Buckinghamshire (UK), road network assessment in Novara, Mantova, and the whole Marche Region in Italy. More than 3500 users involved in the data collection process.
• Constitution of the ""DIGIT srl"" spin-off, benefit corporation, ensuring that project results will be maintained and developed. DIGIT will focus on further in-depth validation and experimentation, aiming at the development of complete solutions for accessible road monitoring, that will enable public administrations and private road maintenance companies to get access to reliable information about road infrastructure status in an efficient and economical manner.
• Development of the open WOM platform for user rewarding: business associations, the University of Urbino, and Regione Marche have agreed to incorporate the platform in order to drive adoption of local grassroots initiatives and engage users towards common good practices.
• Cooperation agreements with several institutions and public administrations for further validation and evaluation of project results.
Crowd4roads ecosystem