EMPOWERing sustainable mobility

A new €4.89 million international collaboration led by the University's Institute for Transport Studies is set to reduce our cities’ reliance on conventionally-fuelled vehicles.


The EMPOWER research project will create a set of new tools to influence the mobility choices and behaviour of drivers, using positive incentives delivered through smart technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the three-year project will use individual mobility profiling in eleven ‘living labs’ across Europe as part of ambitious roll-out plans.

EMPOWER will reduce the use of conventionally-fuelled vehicles by:

  • shifting trips to other modes or more sustainable vehicle types
  • promoting sharing and self-organisation
  • reducing demand overall e.g. through remote access to services.

Consortium leader Dr Susan Grant-Muller, together with co-investigator Ms Frances Hodgson, from the Institute for Transport Studies, leads the international collaboration of 12 universities, research institutes, city authorities and businesses, including partners from the Netherlands (TNO1, Enschede City2, University of Twente, Mobidot, Imtech3), Sweden (Viktoria Institute4), Germany (Pocketweb, Wuppertal Institute5), Finland (Forumvi6), Turkey (Embarq7) and the United Nations (UNHabitat8).

Dr Grant-Muller commented: "The time is right to explore the full potential of pervasive smart technologies as part of a behavioural approach to transport demand management that focuses on carrots rather than sticks. We aim to demonstrate the energy and carbon savings that can be achieved by a large number of people making modest shifts in their transport choices."

At present, transport planners, policy makers and city authorities face a mass of evidence on which types of positive incentives (such as rewards, points, vouchers, dynamic information, games, peer support etc) work well. An important output from EMPOWER will be a Toolkit to support positive policy interventions.

The Toolkit will include:

  • new mobility services to deliver positive incentive-based schemes
  • new evidence on behavioural responses and impacts from positive incentives
  • improved business models for those engaging with incentive-based schemes.

Posted in: