The 'Avoid the Peak in Brabant' experiment resulted
in a reduction of more than half the number of peak hour motor
journeys, as well as motorists choosing to keep avoiding peak hour
traffic afterwards. Cycling did not turn out to be a great alternative.
During the last two years motorists in the Eindhoven and
‘s-Hertogenbosch regions could earn from €1.50 to €5 by avoiding the
peak traffic. Some 2300 motorists participated in this trial. The trial
was accompanied by a series of investigations, which showed that 52,6%
of all peak traffic journeys had switched to peak traffic avoidance.
Avoiding the peak during mornings turned out to be consistently more
popular than during evenings.
Participants avoided the peak in various ways. Most motorists chose to
avoid the peak by taking another route away from the city centre. This
group managed to decrease the original amount of peak hour traffic by 22
percent. Motorists choosing to vary their travel times accounted for a
12 percent decrease of peak time journeys.
A relatively small group of people switched to cycling or public
transport. Two percent of journeys that avoided peak traffic were
achieved by motorists starting to cycle or use public transport.
The currently published report does not split travellers into cyclists
and public transport users, although it does mention that avoiding the
peak by cycling was especially attractive for people living close to
their work. 80% of people who switched to cycling lived less than 15
kilometres (by car) from their work. Also, the commuter distance by car
(the fastest route) can differ a lot from the (shortest) route by bike.
The fastest route may be 20% to 50% longer than the shortest route. The
average commuter distance by bike was about 8 kilometres: half an hour’s
cycling. The same distance would take 5-10 minutes by car; so on
average the cycling alternative takes 15-20 minutes longer than the same
journey by car.
Moreover, the percentage of avoided peak traffic journeys by bike varied
enormously, clearly in response to the seasons. During autumn and
winter months cycling decreased by almost 20 percent.
Four months after the end of the experimental period (during which
people were rewarded for avoiding peak traffic), participants were again
observed to see how often they still avoided peak traffic. Contrary to
expectations, participants continued to avoid 47 percent of peak traffic
journeys compared to 53 percent during the experiment.