Since 2007 extensive infrastructural adaptations were implemented in the "Utrecht-West" area. One of the consequences of this large-scale restructuration is a temporarily decrease of traffic capacity on some main roads and highway junctions. Aware of these traffic disturbances, the city of Utrecht, in close coordination with the national highways authorities, founded a public-private cooperation between five organisations – called ‘Stichting Utrecht Bereikbaar' (SUB) – which has one objective to limit the negative impacts on the traffic flows due to road works in and around Utrecht.
The SUB has implemented several measures to prevent traffic disturbances in a short time frame and encourage changes citizens’ behaviours towards sustainable mobility options. In this context, the MIMOSA measure ‘Rewarding mobilists for avoiding rush hour’ was designed to reach the combined objectives of the national initiative and of the local public-private cooperation. The specific objective of the measure was to reduce the amount of private cars in Utrecht-West area during the morning rush hours (6 am – 10 am) by giving financial incentives to car drivers who chose another itinerary, use another transport mode, or drive before or after the morning peak hours. Therefore a pilot-project was implemented and focused on road sections strategically selected along the national highway A2 and along five main roads in the southern and western part of Utrecht.
The principle of the pilot project consisted in identifying car owners who usually drive along the selected roads in the morning rush hours and in rewarding them with €4,- if they did not drive along these roads at that time of the day during the pilot. Preliminary studies showed that a reduction of 1,000 cars along the selected roads would be sufficient to prevent increases in the length and duration of traffic congestion in the morning rush hours. Consequently, the expected objective of the pilot project was to reach a participation rate of at least 1,000 car drivers per day.