Gamification in freight transportation: extant corpus and future agenda

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Purpose: Several freight operations rely on human cognition and behavior. Tackling these aspects, gamification transforms activities to resemble game-like experiences. Since the freight transportation sector is rapidly adopting gamification, the purpose of this study is to provide an overview that synthesizes the state-of-the-art and plot future directions for research and the practice of gamifying this area. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review of the gamification of freight transportation was conducted. After screening 691 studies, 40 relevant studies were analyzed. Findings: Most studies found positive psychological and behavioral outcomes from gamification. Literature mainly focused on tackling the operational-level issues of road and maritime transportation modes by implementing simulation games. Research limitations/implications: Besides elaborating how gamification can improve freight transportation, the authors describe directions still uncovered by the current corpus, such as research design and temporality and the variety of modes and tasks. Practical implications: Practical implications emerged from the studies, primarily focusing on understanding users, tasks and contexts, targeting different audiences and transportation modalities, and balancing motivational affordances, while considering the demands of the freight transportation domain, including dynamic, spatially dispersed environments and cooperation between multiple stakeholders. Social implications: The transportation of goods dominates much of the global economy and ecology. Therefore, gamifying this domain has a huge societal impact potential, especially related to issues of sharing economy, safety, environmental sustainability and social media. Originality/value: Beyond providing an original overview of gamified freight transportation, this study maps current research gaps and describes practical recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-710
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Freight transportation
  • Gamification
  • Serious games
  • Simulation games
  • Systematic literature review

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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