Platform 14

We all edge closer to the platform’s edge when our train is incoming, but how good at you at judging where the doors will be? Predict where your train will stop and gain points to exchange for travel credit. Platform 14 is a precise geolocation app that gamifies public transport and rewards play.

Public transport gamification

The brief from Bristol City Council was to encourage digital interactivity within the city’s excellent transport offerings. My daily commute involved passing through Temple Meads Station and I had noticed there was no platform 14. Bristol Panel Signal Box was built on the site of the Platform 14. When opened it controlled 280 multiple-aspect signals and 243 motor-worked points on 114 miles of route. This was the largest area controlled by a single signal box on British Rail at the time. My goal was to draw interest in the history behind Platform 14 and encourage play within the train station.

How It Works

Once you’ve arrived at your platform, select where you think the doors to your train will arrive. The app allows both an augmented reality view and a top-down “map” view. Lock-in your prediction and when your train arrives you will be awarded points based on your distance from the nearest carriage door. The underside of platforms in Bristol Temple Meads are fitted with a series of proximity sensors. The data of each train and the carriages is fed into the app to determine where carriage doors are upon arrival. The user’s location is detected through high-detail GPS detection.

Reception

Installing the initial prototype for testing and pitching purposes went incredibly well. The hardware worked perfectly with the data provided and the app itself was both quick and easy to use. Due to the scale of the event and lack of marketing during the early stages of the campaign, Platform 14 was only deployed for a beta period. Exploring gamification to enhance everyday experiences is something I have a great interest in since this project.