Behavioural Economics: Incentives to Cut Road Congestion

Here is an interesting experiment in applied behavioural economics designed to get some motorists to alter their time of road use and make better use of existing road and motorway capacity. Click on Earn Rewards for Smart Commuting and read this background article from the New York Time: Incentives for Drivers Who Avoid Traffic Jams

Similar ideas are being applied to incentivising people to use mass transit systems at off-peak times and the experiments also include an important social network or “badge effect” - where your socially beneficial transport choices are transmitted to your friends and acquaintances. Are these incentives enough? Are they durable? Most transport policies towards congestion involve sticks rather than carrots - which do you think is most effective?

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A Level Economics Teacher

Guanghua Cambridge International School, Shanghai, Yangpu District,Shanghai

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