Update U-SMILE, Januari 2018

Too many people avoiding travelling outside peak hours is a non-optimal situation: there are costs associated with not travelling at the desired time. However, all travellers travelling in-peak leads to high congestion costs. The TU Delft civil engineering team (Victor Knoop and Hans van Lint) developed a tool that can determine the optimal departure rate, balancing the cost for late arrival, early arrival, and at the same time accounting for congestion costs, including a reduction of capacity if too many people use the road. Besides the scientific progress, a personnel update: PhD student Boudewijn Zwaal has left the project, and will be replaced by Kai Yuan, who introduces himself hereafter.

“My name is Kai Yuan. I earned my PhD degree at Delft University of Technology in December 2016, under supervision of Serge Hoogendoorn and  Victor Knoop. Part of my PhD research was conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA. After graduating, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It is a great pleasure to be involved in the U-SMILE project and to be back at TU Delft. I Look forward to a fruitful cooperation in the coming months!”

The VU-team (Devi Brands, Yue Bao, Erik Verhoef, Paul Koster and Jasper Knockaert) has been working on an experiment with tradable parking permits (the lab-in-the-field experiment). During this experiment, participants make one parking decision each day and can freely trade permits. The experiment provides insights into the understanding of participants of tradable permits in a mobility setting. Furthermore, it allows the research team to investigate the market dynamics of the designed market with real participants and test the developed web environment. A first version of the lab-in-the-field experiment with students was conducted in October; the actual experiment was carried out last December. Analysis of the obtained data will be conducted in the months to come.

The coming six months, PhD Lizet Krabbenborg (of the TU-Delft-TPM team together with Eric Molin, Jan Anne Annema and Bert van Wee) will finish a paper about perspectives in the road pricing debate in the Netherlands. She collected data via an online survey and will present the outcomes at the IATBR conference in Santa Barbara in June. Next, Lizet will conduct interviews with road pricing experts (policymakers, interest groups and researchers) on their opinion on tradable peak permits. Finally, she will write a literature review on the acceptability of innovative road pricing instruments such as tradable peak permits and rewarding instruments. 

The RUG team (Nadja Zeiske, Ellen van der Werff and Linda Steg) continued to work on the evaluation of a three-week trial of a free public transport card for residents of Groningen, who normally commute to work by car. This trial has been running for nearly a year. Initial insights from the evaluation show that participants are very positive about the possibility to try out public transport for free, and are also highly motivated to use public transport during the three-week trial. However, motivation and intention to use public transport after the free trial was very low, for various reasons including financial costs and practical feasibility. The evaluation of this trial is still ongoing.

The HVA team (Jan Dam, Robert van den Hoed and Milan Tamis) continued to work closely with the City of Amsterdam (Carla van der Linden)  to analyze incentives in relation to the voluntary agreement with the taxi sector to become fully electric by 2025. The priority incentive providing advantage to electric taxis at the Central Station taxi stand was further evaluated and monitored, leading to the decision of the City of Amsterdam to allow only clean taxi’s as from 8 January,  2018. Similarly, based on an HVA analysis of clean taxi availability in Amsterdam, the municipality decided to allow only clean taxis at the taxi stand Leidseplein, although, as an exception,  diesels will still be allowed at peak hours on Fridays and Saturdays. HVA will be monitoring both taxi stands and the (growing) pool of clean taxis in the coming year. Currently HVA investigates the main financial parameters for taxi drivers, which is expected to lead to new incentives to nudge the taxi sector towards the use of cleaner taxis.

In addition, in close cooperation with the RUG team and the City of Amsterdam, a survey was carried out to evaluate and monitor taxi driver attitude to switch to electric taxis. Results are expected in the first half of 2018. A feasibility study on incentives to switch to logistic streams with electric vehicles in the ArenA area showed that the conditions for this specific region are currently not positive. Together with ArenA (Maurits van Hövell), both HVA and VU will look into the possibilities for application of peak permits as at peak events in the ArenA area.

The past six months have been exciting times for the Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam (Steven Butter and Ewout Spit): "The formation of a new cabinet and the closure of the Beter Benutten programme led to an unclear future. However, by the end of 2017, the Verkeersonderneming was informed that their continuation was secured - with full power. The year 2017 also marked the completion of the Marketplace for mobility, enabling many mobility initiatives to be given a chance in real life. As a result, some of these initiatives are already independently operational. In the coming year, we will continue to work and look for initiatives to improve mobility in the Rotterdam region. Tradeable permits is one promising example of these new initiatives, and we look forward to a close cooperation with the U-SMILE project team in order to introduce them in real life."

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