Drivers in the West Midlands could earn up to £3,000 a year to get out of their cars under government-funded plans to cut congestion and air pollution.
A trial, which has been approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and could begin next month, is part of a proposed £20m Future Mobility programme.
The 'Mobility Credits' pilot would 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.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the WMCA, wants to incentivise people to give up their private vehicles to help with congestion and 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.'
Laura Shoaf, managing director of TfWM, said the plans could help 'reduce the number of vehicles on the road, improving congestion, and allowing vehicles and road space to be used more efficiently'.
Other ideas being considered for the Future Mobility programme include:
- extending the Swift transport smart ticket scheme to allow it 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.
The WMCA also said it would bid for more of the remaining £70m Future Mobility fund from Government to expand its proposals.