The Peak Avoidance Project in Rotterdam and Its Behavioral Impacts

The Peak Avoidance Project in Rotterdam and Its Behavioral Impacts


H Palm, Goudappel Coffeng BV, NL; A Kooistra, NedMobiel, NL; E Wiebrens, De Verkeersonderneming, NL


The peak avoidance project in Rotterdam will run for 2.5 years and includes prices and information incentives. Approximately 2000 commuters are participating. Different types of data are collected to measure the travel behavior.


Peak avoidance is one of a series of measurements to reduce the amount of peak traffic at the motorway A15 in the Rotterdam harbour area. In previous years, there have been several similar rewarding experiments and projects in the Netherlands in which the focus was to analyze travel behavior and decrease congestion during construction works. However, these projects were running not more than a year and focused to change behavior by monetary incentives. The peak avoidance project that we describe in this paper will run for a total of two and a half years and also includes several other incentives, such as information incentives.

The peak avoidance project started at October 26th 2009. Approximately 2000 commuters have been participating since the start of the project. They were selected based on characteristics of their daily routine during the morning peak between 6 and 9 a.m. at the motorway A15. Travelers who do not make their usual car trips in the morning peak but take alternatives, will be monetary rewarded. They will receive their rewards at the end of each period of four weeks.
All participants have received a smartphone to let us know in advance if, and how, they will avoid the morning peak. The alternatives are: go to work before or after the morning peak, make a carpool date, use mass transportation, or work at home. GPS signals from the smartphone combined with registration by ANPR-cameras are used to check the daily intentions of the participants.

In order to seduce participants to choose an alternative that avoids traveling by car in the peak period,
three value-added-services (VAS) were developed. The first service concerns a multimodal trip planner, which assists travelers in choosing a departure time and a travel mode. This trip planner has several innovative aspects, such as travel times based on accurately predicted travel times including congestion, inclusion weather conditions and a wide range of alternatives, which includes public transport and departure time periods before and after the peak period. A dynamic traffic model is used to predict the delay of road works or special events in the near future.
The second service is a carpool planner, which assists travelers in finding carpool friends with more or less the same work trip. Linked to social networks like Facebook, Hyves and Linkedin personal profiles can be compared to give insight in the interests of a potential carpool buddy.
The third service is an office near the A15 motorway where participants can work or make appointments during peak hours. After peak hours they can continue their trip to the work location.

A monitor system is developed to measure the travel behavior of each individual participant. Therefore different types of data are collected: daily intentions sent by smartphone, camera detection and web-based surveys about their home to work travel routines and socio demographic characteristics.
So far the number of usual car trips in the morning reduced with 600 per day, most done by shifting to early and later periods. In the paper results for a longer period will be presented. A survey in March 2010 will provide insights in: (i) relations between household and personal characteristics and participant?s behaviour and (ii) additional aspects like the frequencies, ease of use and influence of information incentives.

Finally a short comparison with other peak avoidance projects in the Netherlands will be made to drawn conclusions about the different character of the peak avoidance project in Rotterdam.


Association for European Transport