It’s only been a few weeks since the launch of the Pokémon GO app, a game that lets you catch 150 different types of Pokémon that can be found anywhere around you from your office desk to the local supermarket. It uses a technique called augmented reality (AR) which merges the real world with the virtual ‘Pokémon’ world. In order to play the game well, players must travel around the real world searching for and catching these virtual creatures.
Whilst the popularity of Pokémon GO can’t be argued, it has raised concerns about how far people will go to catch Pokémon while they’re on the move:
Here are 5 ways Pokémon GO has impacted the transport industry:
- Some authorities have viewed it as a safety hazard and are warning people not to drive around while playing the app after several people have already had accidents, one person in New York crashed their car into a tree while playing, and people on the UK underground have shared images of Pokémon characters on the train tracks.
- Others are encouraging it – the Los Angeles Metro launched a Pokémon GO twitter account giving hints as to where the creatures can be found in LA’s transit system. Rather than focus on the negative, they are encouraging people to ride the subway by using Pokémon as an incentive, and it seems to be working…
- Some people are hiring Pokémon Go chauffeurs – eliminating the risk of an accident by paying someone to drive around while they catch Pokémon makes sense. In the US ‘Poketours’ have become popular with people charging just $15 an hour to drive while you catch.
- Pokémon GO has increased foot traffic, particularly in urban areas and people are choosing to leave their cars at home in order to do more walking and catching.
- It’s encouraging road trips – players have been known to drive for hours, visiting local towns, collecting different Pokémon and finding ‘Pokestops’ hidden in national monuments and attractions.
So is Pokémon GO having a positive or negative impact on the transport industry?
Pokémon GO has caused some accidents among motorists and pedestrians trying to multitask. However, when used cautiously, it definitely encourages people to go out and travel further than they normally would, be it using public transport, chauffeurs or their own cars.
Bryan Lufkin. (2016). How Pokemon Go is changing transport.Available: http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20160715-how-pokmon-go-is-changing-transport. Last accessed 05/08/2016.
Cara McGoogan. (2016). Pokémon Go gamer crashes car into a tree.Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/07/14/pokemon-go-gamer-crashes-car-into-a-tree/. Last accessed 05/08/2016.
Chloe Chaplain . (2016). Commuters’ fears over use of Pokémon GO on London’s transport network. Available: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/commuters-fears-over-use-of-pok-mon-go-on-londons-transport-network-a3294036.html. Last accessed 05/08/2016.