Low Operational Costs
Not only the deployment but the operation costs of congestion fee based systems can be high. It has been estimated that operating and maintenance costs of toll collection are on the average about 20% of revenues. A study of New Jersey’ Garden State parkway showed that the figure was as high as 37%. The operating expenses for the tolling system on the California State Route 91 freeway were almost $24 million in 2006.
ZeroTraffic relies on engaging users and motivating them to modify their driving patterns through techniques and lessons learnt from the video gaming industry and employed with great success in non-gaming applications, e.g., Foursquare, SamsungNet, RecycleBank. The focus of ZeroTraffic is to provide non-monetary awards which can address better the intrinsic motivators essential to long term involvement of the users. The key motivator used by ZeroTraffic is the recognition of the user being a responsible citizen contributing to the reduction in traffic congestion and the resulting economic savings to the society (in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars) as well as environmental benefits. Visible social recognition is a strong motivator and has proven successful in programs such as PracticallyGreen, RecycleBank, Fitocracy in other domains.
For the small segment of population that may not be motivated by altruism, the program can also actively solicit corporate sponsors to provide material rewards including cash prizes, corporate branded rewards (Aerpolan, Petro-Points, Shoppers Optimum Points etc.) or coupons.
The cost for operating ZeroTraffic is expected to be minimal: servers to collect and analyze the data, servers to run the NoTraffic gamification website, help desk staff to assist the users, on-going publicity and advertising costs, with negligible costs for the monetary awards. The low operational costs make it easy to support ZeroTraffic on a continual basis.