6ST Campsite

6STCampsite is designed to facilitate travel collaboration among campsite visitors. It enables users to post and accept travel-related requests, such as lift-share and shopping requests.

The app also gives users an opportunity to share local travel information and provide / look for travel advice. It contributes to more effective use of local transport resources and visualises travel opportunities to campsite visitors. The app enables campsite visitors to avoid unnecessary car journeys, thus making camping travel more environmentally-friendly. It can help campsite visitors establish new friendships with fellow campers and build stronger social bonds with members of the camping community.

6ST Campsite


The Tourism case study had three primary areas of interest. First, we sought to better understand the role played by time in destination based travel behaviour. We then explored how an understanding of other campers' travel patterns over time might affect individual travel choices. Second, we explored the current level of collaboration at the campsite and assessed the scope for adoption of collaborative travel. Third, we explored the mobile technology used by tourists and the scope for adoption of a campsite travel collaboration App.


campsite.pngAn iterative design process involving end-users was used to create the 6STCampsite App. The first phase involved interviews with potential App users during summer 2012. These interviews explored the project's core issues relating to use of time, collaboration and mobile technology. The interviews also explored the scope for adoption of a collaborative travel App and fed into the development of the 6STCampsite App. The second phase involved interviews to explore a wire-frame mock-up of the App with campsite visitors. This led to a finalised App design which was built over winter 2012-2013. The final App design included the following key features:

  • a map interface to show the user's current location and allows users to add places of interest
  • a heat map which visualised the collective travel patterns of all users over time on the map
  • a message system that enables users to offer or request help

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The trials took place at Tom’s Field Campsite (Purbeck, Dorset, UK, http://www.tomsfieldcamping.co.uk/). Visitors were recruited to trial the App on a rolling basis over a five week period through face-to-face engagement by researchers supported by on-site posters and leaflets.

Each participant was briefed on the nature of the trial, given an introduction to the Campsite App and a user manual. 30 participants were loaned a project iPhone for the trial, with another 7 participants downloading the App to their own phones. Participants registered with a username, password and a unique code that joined them to the campsite social network. The participants were encouraged to use the App for the duration of their stay which varied from 3 to 19 days. 11 participants took part in feedback interviews. Participants were asked to engage in collaborative travel activities for the duration of the trial, with lift share, collaborative shopping and travel information sharing given as examples. App usage data were compiled by the App itself, which logged all activity on a secure computer server, and through researcher observations.

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Key Findings


The campsite creates a temporary 'neighbourhood' which is often a direct contrast to people's home neighbourhood where people may rarely see their neighbours or engage in conversation.

Collaborative activities

  •  The degree of App engagement varied with some users 'lurking' (observing rather than posting or responding to messages).
  • Information sharing dominated App use, especially information about places and travel which generated a sense of community.
  • Offers of help dominated in contract to requests for help. This is due to the perceived need to build credit in the exchange system. People do not want to feel in debt to others, so seek to offer help.
  • Some enthusiastic users were put off by a lack of response.
  • Some tourists were already engaged in forms of collaborative travel.
  • Physical barriers, such as families with full cars, prohibited lift sharing opportunities for some participants.

Trust, Privacy and Safety

  • There was a presumption of trustworthy character among people staying at the campsite.
  • The majority of App users acknowledged a range of privacy, trust and safety issues. However, most users were unconcerned. Issues included the dangers of meeting strangers, travelling in unsafe vehicles and the potential for people to misuse information, e.g. the knowledge that tents were unoccupied.


  • Some users felt the App generated unwelcome planning stress as holidays were about having the freedom to be spontaneous and collaborative activities needed a degree of forward thinking and commitment.
  • Users valued real-time information sharing, such as a message indicating a local beach car park was full early in the day


  • For some, camping is about switching off mobiles and being spontaneous. This is a potential barrier to App use in this setting.
  • Technological barriers were encountered in terms of user's familiarity with the technology but also the reliability of signal in a rural setting and lack of phone charging facilities at a campsite.

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linklocal.pngJulia Hibbert, Janet Dickinson, Christopher Winstanley, Tom Cherrett, Nigel Davies, Sarah Norgate, Chris Speed (2014).

The use of smart phone technology in creating a bottom up approach to behaviour change, The psychology of governing sustainable tourism mobility: Bridging the science-policy gap, 2nd International Workshop, 1-4 July 2014, Freiburg, Germany

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We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social tablet.pngnetworking principles to transport users.

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Mobile Apps

The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, phone-exploded.pngkey findings and outputs.

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The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, people.pngBournemouth and Lancaster.

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