Implementing sustainable mobility
Extensive infrastructure road works in Utrecht-West between 2007 and 2012 will temporarily constrain road capacity on some of the most important entry routes. For the city to remain accessible, an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 cars would need to avoid the morning rush hour. Utrecht has put together a variety of measures to achieve this. One of them is a pilot project under the name Utrecht Bereikbaar - Beloningsmaatregel West (Utrecht Accessibility – Reward Measure West) or short UB-BMW. The project tests a system where motorists are rewarded with a cash bonus if they avoid rush hour.
The main objective of this measure is to:
>> Shift private car trips from rush hour to off-peak times while construction works in Utrecht West are ongoing.
Reversed road pricing, providing financial incentives to stimulate behaviour change instead of charging motorists, is an innovative approach for Utrecht. The results from this pilot will be used to investigate how rewarding desired behaviour can acquire sufficient acceptance, and how structural implementation can be supported. This requires an understanding of what reward level can be cost-efficient. It also requires insights into the way in which road authorities can communicate with road users, ways to scale up the technology, and the extent to which outcomes are structural and sustainable. Through the pilot, Utrecht wants to gain experience with public-private partnerships in this field and understand what would be required to scale up the initiative to include more vehicles. The city wants to set up and operate the system in cooperation with the Dutch Highways Authority (Rijswaterstaat) and a few big companies.
How is the measure progressing
Utrecht has selected potential participants for the pilot through licence plate camera registration technology. Vehicles the camera registered three times on Utrecht’s A2 motorway within a two week period were invited to participate in the project. During the second phase of the pilot, UB-BMW has been introduced and data will be collected for evaluation. An evaluation plan will be designed for periodic evaluations. Over the course of 13 weeks, participants were rewarded with €4 for every day they avoided the A2 motorway during morning peak times.
What are the expected results of the measure
Utrecht aims to decrease the number of cars during rush hour by a least 1,000 vehicles during the period of construction works in Utrecht-West. Results from the first phase of the project show that 4,025 motorists earned an average of €55, which brings the total cost of the pilot to €220,000. Traffic counts revealed that there were approximately 750 cars less on the motorways around Utrecht. Once a full-fledged evaluation has been completed, the city will decide whether to go ahead with the measure.
Contact: Kees Pas