Future-proof? The longitudinal multi-method data collection of SOULMATE and its future integration into smart cities

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


The rise of GPS technology over the past two decades has opened up a world of possibilities for travelers, and for the researchers who study them. GPS trackers allow us to monitor exactly where a person is at any given time; to see where a person travels and estimate how that person is moving as well. However, GPS data by itself is not always enough to answer the questions that are of interest to important challenges of today, such as supporting an active healthy lifestyle of the growing aging population. Personal and environmental factors can play a large role with regards to physical activity, which needs to be measured somehow as well, and preferably at multiple moments. Thankfully, most people carry these small devices around that enable the integration of different kinds of measurements; called smartphones. The SOULMATE project aims to use an integrated multi-method longitudinal approach to measure the effectiveness of its mobile application. Through training, routing and safety interventions, the SOULMATE app aims to make travel more accessible and safe for seniors. Combinations of these aspects should help overcome most of the diverse challenges that this group faces, ultimately stimulating active lifestyles and improve overall quality of life. One of the main pillars of the SOULMATE project is the inclusion of endusers in its development. Therefore, a longitudinal measurement period (field trials) will be included that should provide insight into the actual outcomes of using the application in daily life. As a part of these field trials a select group of motivated end-users will be followed for a six-month period. During this period, users will share their travel behavior through GPS tracking. In addition, these measurements will be supplemented with a variety of potential outcome scales such as overall quality of life, social networks, loneliness, and self-reported health. The mobile phones application allows for easy and flexible gathering of the outcome measures. For instance, short questions can be asked of participants when they arrive at their travel destination, or when they are shown to be idle for a long period. At the same time, data from the built environment is becoming more readily available as well. More and more Smart Cities pop up across the horizon, using ICT to dynamically inform decision-making. From the perspective of SOULMATE, many of these developments can be of great value to the promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle. For instance, real-time integration of air quality or traffic sensors can help people steer clear from polluted and busy areas. Or, smart street lighting can direct pedestrians to their destinations in an intuitive way. Potentially, different users of mobility solutions can join up to travel together in a social and safe way. While most of these examples are still in development, we can already think about and discuss the many possibilities and get ready for the Smart future!
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event6th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 26 Jun 201928 Jun 2019


Conference6th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement
Abbreviated titleICAMPAM 2019


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