Open source platform + undergraduate energy = sustainability research

K. Shankari blog 0 Comments

This Earth Day, join a study on motivating sustainable transportation behavior.

I have blogged about the e-mission project earlier in the context of the National Transportation Data Challenge.

To recap, e-mission focuses on building an extensible platform that can instrument the end-to-end multi-modal travel experience at the personal scale and collate it for analysis at the societal scale. In particular, it combines background data collection of trips, classified by modes, with user-reported incident data, and context-sensitive surveys.

I also blogged earlier about involving undergraduates in research

To recap, the challenges at the time included managing different skill levels, compressing the learn-plan-build cycle into one semester, and the fact that undergraduates typically don’t have the experience to build platform code.

However, it turns out that if the structure of the undergraduate participation is changed, the concept works much better. This time, I recruited the undergraduates specifically for a research project, extended the time frame to a year, and had them focus on the usability and features while I focused on the platform. And it worked!

Jack, Andy, Kyle, Vaz, John and Jesse built the tripaware study on top of the e-mission platform. They read social science papers on modifying behavior, planned their features, obtained UCB IRB approval, set up an instance of the server, and got the implementation to the deployment stage.

Join the study at, see what a team of motivated Cal undergrads can do, and help us understand what can motivate sustainable transportation behavior.

Happy Earth Day!

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