Timeline: 2016-2018
Keywords: incentives; Real-time System; Smartphone; Energy Efficiency.
Team participants: Carlos Lima Azevedo
Lead Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Research highlights

  • Develop an open-source agent-based simulator for multi-modal transportation networks, vehicle energy performance, and a wide set of traveler behaviors including reaction to incentives.
  • Develop a simulation-based system optimization framework that predicts traffic, energy consumption and the effect of different incentive strategies in real-time.
  • Energy saving choices “pay out” at different token rates according to real-time system based optimization and personalized reward optimization.
  • A personalized trip menu with real-time information and incentives integrated with a travel diary and an electronic mobility market in a smartphone app.


Tripod (Sustainable Travel Incentives with Prediction, Optimization and Personalization) is a system that incentivizes travelers to pursue specific routes, modes of travel, departure times, ride sharing, trip making, and driving styles in order to reduce energy use. Tripod relies on an app-based travel incentive tool designed to influence users’ travel choices by offering them real-time information and rewards. An open-source simulation platform, SimMobility, and an energy model, TripEnergy, to test Tripod. The system model, which simulates the Greater Boston area, is able to dynamically measure energy use as changes to the network and travelers’ behavior occur. The team’s system model is linked with Tripod, which evaluates energy savings and traveler satisfaction with different incentive structures. Tripod presents users with personalized options via a smartphone app, and it includes a reward points system to incentivize users to adopt energy-efficient travel options. Reward points, or tokens, could be redeemed for prizes or discounts at participating vendors, or could be transferred amongst users in a social network.

Sponsors and Partners

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • APRA-e (U.S. Department of Energy, Sponsor)