Using incentives as traffic management tool: empirical results of the "peak avoidance" experiment

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Abstract

Although positive incentives have been successfully applied in various domains to influence behavior, they have received limited attention in transportation. This paper reports on the Dutch 'Spitsmijden' ('Peak Avoidance') project, in which travelers received positive incentives if they avoided travelling in the peak by car. Incentives could be financial (3 to 7 EURO per day) or credits to earn a smartphone at the end of the experiment. Travelers' responses were measured using electronic detection equipment and travel diaries. The results of the study indicate that positive incentives are able to reduce the amount of peak traffic of the participants by about 60%. Travelers mainly responded to the incentives by shifting their car trips to the periods before and after the peak period. Although the experiment was intended to achieve a structural change in travel behavior, we observed that travelers returned to the peak period when the incentives ended. © 2010 J. Ross Publishing, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-51
JournalTransportation Letters: The International Journal of Transportation Research
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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