Drivers in the West Midlands could earn up to £3,000 a year to stop using their cars under government-funded plans to cut congestion and air pollution.
The Mobility Credits pilot, in Coventry, could begin next month and will centre around a controlled trial of electronic voucher credits in Coventry.
Cash credits will be loaded on to a travel card and smartphone app to spend on alternative travel including public transport, car sharing or green hire schemes.
Those taking part in the trial would receive the credits to cover their costs – with the new travel app to help them decide how to travel and maximise their credits.
It has been approved by the West Midlands Combined Autority (WMCA) and is part of a proposed £20 million Future Mobility programme.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the WMCA, wants to incentivise people to give up their private vehicle to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street, said: “The West Midlands leads the world in automotive research – we’re hosting autonomous vehicle trials in Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry, electric taxis are manufactured in Coventry, and the Government is trusting us to blaze a trail for the UK as the first region to receive Future Mobility funding.
“'We want to make it quick, easy and cheap for everyone to travel around the region by creating a range of reliable alternatives to private car ownership.
“People could leave their cars at home, or get rid of them altogether, and instead opt to take the Metro, train or bus to work, hire an electric vehicle to do their shopping, and share a taxi on a night out.
“This is a bold, ambitious vision for the future, and we’re confident we can prove the concept in the West Midlands and show the rest of the UK the way forward for the future.”
Other ideas being considered for the Future Mobility programme include:
- Extending the Swift transport smart ticket scheme, so Swift cards can be used to pay for parking or gym membership
- Introducing a daily cap so Swift users only pay the lowest rates on public transport
- Harnessing digital technology to improve live traffic information
- Extending trials for self-driving vehicles.
The £20m funding is due to last four years, with up to £6m in further revenue support, and the WMCA says it will bid for more of the remaining £70m Future Mobility fund from Government to expand its proposals.
Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said: “Instead of owning a car, people could have the freedom to choose between sustainable travel options, including public transport, shared vehicles, walking or cycling, all within one package.
“That would remove the expense of owning and operating a private vehicle. It would also reduce the number of vehicles on the road, improving congestion, and allowing vehicles and road space to be used more efficiently.”