Rewarding rush-hour avoidance: A study of commuters' travel behavior

Eran Ben-Elia, Dick Ettema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Spitsmijden, peak avoidance in Dutch, is the largest systematic effort to date to study, in the field, the potential of rewards as a policy mean for changing commuter behavior. A 13. week field study was organized in The Netherlands with the purpose of longitudinally investigating the impacts of rewards on commuter behavior. Different levels and types of rewards were applied and behavior was tracked with state-of-the art detection equipment. Based on the collected data, which included also pre and post-test measurements, a mixed discrete choice model was estimated. The results suggest that rewards can be effective tools in changing commuting behavior. Specifically rewards reduce the shares of rush-hour driving, shift driving to off-peak times and increase the shares of public transport, cycling and working from home. Mediating factors include socio-demographic characteristics, scheduling constraints and work time flexibility, habitual behavior, attitudes to commuting alternatives, the availability of travel information and even the weather. The success of this study has encouraged adoption of rewards, as additional policy tools, to alleviate congestion, especially during temporary road closures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-582
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research, Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior change
  • Congestion
  • Revealed preference
  • Rewards
  • Road pricing
  • Travel information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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