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Utrecht: rewarding sustainable travel behaviours
One of the very first Covenant of Mayors Signatories (2008), Utrecht has set itself the ambitious objective of reducing its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020. Due to its central location, the 4th largest city in the Netherlands sees tens of thousands of commuters travel through it every day.

In order to reduce the daily stop and go on Utrecht’s highways, the Province set up an innovative project : “Spitsvrij” (in English : off-peak), encouraging commuters to travel off rush hours. The participants’ change in timing is facilitated thanks to tailor-made travel advice, car-sharing opportunities, traffic updates, etc. The societal benefits created by this project so far are evaluated at €5m, including :

  • shorter travel time,
  • less road accidents,
  • less energy use and CO2 emissions,
  • improvement of air quality.

Over 5,000 travelers have already taken part in the project. Indeed, in addition to the obvious environmental benefits, the city offers a financial incentive to drivers avoiding the critical time slots of 6.30 am-9.30am and 15.30pm-18.30pm. The less the participants drive during the rush hour, the more they earn. Clever behaviour is being rewarded by up to 100 euros per month !

The project will be running until the end of the year, but is expected to be extended due to its success. At this time, no new participants are allowed, but some are already registering for the next period.

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter January 2013 <<
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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, Fedarene, and ICLEI Europe.

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