Special Track 9

Special Track 9

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Title: Systemic engagement: Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the design challenge of inclusion, sustainability, and data ownership

Track Chairs:

Dr. Ronit Purian and Avi Cohen, SYN-RG-Ai, Tel Aviv University, and CODATA

Author keywords:

  • Accountability
  • Beliefs
  • Civic mindedness
  • Data integration
  • Global citizens
  • Human-machine interface
  • Interoperability
  • Mechanism design
  • Migration
  • Open code
  • Privacy
  • Resilience
  • Smart cities
  • System use
  • Trust in government
  • Urban networks
  • Vulnerability


Participants in this track will present approaches and methods to better understand urban dynamics, identities and spatial behaviors that incorporate collective actions in cities today. Specifically, willingness to share data in decentralized systems through careful design is at focus, assembling data trusts for communities – in different ecosystems and social groups – while reconstructing trust in government and in the nation state and institutional practices.

Personal data sharing for the benefit of society at large is a goal inspired by the Covid-19 contact tracing applications. The voluntary use aimed at utilizing the value of crowdsourcing and self-reporting, to appropriate the very same principles of citizen science; however, acceptance rates were low (similarly, institutional distrust is so widespread that vaccination is at risk, even if provided voluntarily and free of charge). We wish to better understand the reason for this failure in terms of service design and institutional practices, i.e., what makes a trustworthy technological and organizational design.

On the continuum – between the elementary disclosure of information, to beliefs creation and trust building – lays a level in which a contract is established between the citizen and the dedicated authority. The contract level is core to technology use. Contract violation decreases users intention to reuse the system, and therefore, violating this psychological contract with the public is a moral hazard. Citizens were suspicious of the state-controlled applications, although government intrusion into their personal life with applications that applied a decentralized architecture was implausible. Is that possible that, rather than mechanisms to avoid privacy invasion, other design aspects should have been considered and emphasized? Dull interface and functionality could explain the evident failure of contact tracing applications. How can we identity design aspects and institutional practices that alienate participants?

In this track, we wish to extend our knowledge of information systems (IS) design. How can system use elicit empowerment, engagement and trust building? This question refers to data intermediaries, informed consent, data ownership, modularity (to be able to switch between decoupled apps and data servers, not losing data due to vendor lock-in) and the ability to easily reuse existing data from other apps – as proposed by SOLID,[1] and more. In addition, the question refers to a series of new socioeconomic contingencies, mainly: the chronic-rural poverty – and the new-urban poor.

To illustrate this, the World Bank (2021)[2] presents the “multidimensional character” of poverty in rural areas, where low levels of educational attainment are common to both poor and nonpoor; but at the same time, telework may challenge the education advantage of cities and the productivity effect of agglomeration in dense urban areas. Early results from rapid-response phone surveys show that a large share of the new poor will be urban. Moreover, “many of the new poor are likely to live in congested urban settings and to work in the sectors most affected by lockdowns and mobility restrictions; many are engaged in informal services and not reached by existing social safety nets” (World Bank, 2021; p. 143). Thus, the character of poverty is “multidimensional” also in urban areas, and Covid-19 is likely to have distinctive effects on poor people who are urban residents. An inclusive and sustainable mobility service should consider, accordingly, specific populations (e.g., undocumented work immigrants), point of departure (who live in congested informal settlements), and destination (who work in the informal sector). What should be the focus of data interoperability in such mobility services?

We believe that identifying the most vulnerable groups in society is important, not only to eliminate health disparities and adverse health effects related to climate variability and societal gaps, but to increase resilience in the sense of systemic engagement, caring about ecological and social systems, nurturing mutual responsibility and a sense of individual ownership.

The climate crisis, and health and economic problems are intertwined through our urban-digital life, and call for an urgent systemic transformation. Therefore, our overall aim is to further develop the systems and the societal practices that encourage healthier and more sustainable spatial behaviors.

We plan to carry out a collaborative interdisciplinary track that will define focus areas, activities, and priorities, e.g.: Needs assessment and knowledge gap analysis (the desirable data sources and tools); reflections on current studies (case studies – challenges, solutions; and how to generalize); operational research plans (national surveys, public concerns and perceptions in questionnaire items), and the like.

From the domain viewpoint: to define a cluster of mobility-related problems that are encountered by many cities.

From the data viewpoint: to define the data components we share in our research. The goal will be to facilitate open data, knowledge sharing, and data integration.

From the service viewpoint: to define the data sources and tools we use; what are the preferred integration and granularity (e.g., local-global); and how to achieve that.

To address such goals, we wish to invite researchers from different disciplines, who are interested in: Urban Resilience, spatial behavior, flexible mobility, data ownership, service design, and any other topic within the broad domains of smart cities, information systems, data science, and behavioral sciences.

The track will integrate the following aspects:

  • Accountability and privacy by design, security, open code
  • Beliefs creation and trust building, attitudes, communicative action
  • Civic mindedness in global cities
  • Data integration and interoperability
  • Global citizens and work immigrants
  • Human-machine interface and rich system use
  • Mechanism design, moral hazard, PPP, P2P
  • Resilience
  • Smart cities and urban networks
  • Vulnerability

[1] SOLID: https://solid.mit.edu

[2] World Bank (2021). Global Economic Prospects, January 2021. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/34710 and https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/34710

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