Gaming the Introduction of an Urban Road Charging Scheme, From Zona a Traffico Limitato to Torino Centro Aperto in Turin

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Early 2019, the municipal administration of Turin (Italy) announced the replacement of a limited traffic zone (ZTL) by an urban road charging scheme (TCA) to diminish negative externalities caused by motorised traffic. This led to resistance among different stakeholders. To deliberate the public debate, this research investigated how serious game (SG) methodology can learn focus group (FG) participants about the rationality to introduce TCA. The SG design reflected a user perspective on Turin’s transport systemm by simulating the effects of both policy scenarios on daily mobility. In-situ game data were extracted to calculate and discuss generalised travel costs and external costs as a result of participant’s gameplay. The SG was incorporated in an FG setting, in which an information lecture and a group discussion facilitated participants to relate it to real-world practices. Questionnaires enabled testing for participant’s attitudinal change to verify gained knowledge. The results indicate that the shared experience of gameplay led to knowledge socialisation. Moreover, the integration of the SG in a learning process of complementary educative elements is vital for relating its experiences to reality. Finally, the research contributes to theory development by providing experimental results for testing hypotheses of road pricing in relation to game-based learning.
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