“Smart incentives in between pricing and rewarding” (Slimme prikkels tussen prijzen en belonen) was the title of the final workshop of research project U-SMILE (Urban Smart Measures and Incentives for quality of Life Enhancement). The event was part of the VerDuS SURF*-festival and took place in the morning of March 25. With more than 50 attendants, the workshop was very well attended.

Financial incentives to solve congestion

Are price incentives efficient and effective to solve the negative effects of car use such as congestion and pollution? This question was central to the U-SMILE project. More specifically, the project examined by means of experiments whether tradeable permits could be a suitable budget-neutral pricing instrument – in between rewarding (as in Spitsmijden) and pricing (such as with road pricing). Consider, for example, tradeable peak-hour rights or tradeable parking rights. U-SMILE was a collaboration between researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, TU Delft, University of Groningen, and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, in consultation with a number of urban partners. Head of the Department of Spatial Economics Erik Verhoef was project leader.

Further study warranted

Partly because of the relatively small scale of the experimental applications carried out, there are still interesting and challenging research questions about tradeable mobility permits, including upscaling and acceptance among larger groups. The results of U-SMILE are such that further study, especially through further experiments, is warranted. Tradeable permits appear to be effective in order to help solving the negative consequences of urban car use such as congestions and pollution in an efficient and socially acceptable way.

Presentations given:

Pcoins – the first field experiment with tradable mobility permits’  by Erik Verhoef, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – Spatial Economics (SBE)
Tradable credits for congestion management: support/reject?’ by Lizet Krabbenborg, Technische Universiteit Delft – Transport and Logistics (TBM)
Intrinsic motivation and sustainable transport behavior’ by Ellen van der Werff, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen – Environmental Psychology (GMW)
What shapes the bathtub — effects of departure time shifts’ door Victor Knoop, Technische Universiteit Delft – Transport and Planning (CITG)



March, 2021
Ellen Woudstra

*SURF (Smart Urban Regions of the Future) is part of VerDuS (Verbinden van Duurzame Steden – Connecting Sustainable Cities). Within this knowledge initiative, scientific researchers work together with professionals to develop knowledge that helps address issues relating, for example, to urbanisation, the environment, mobility and transport. VerDuS is an initiative of NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), Platform 31 and various Dutch ministries.