How effective are rewards for good behaviour?


Rewarding good road user behaviour may lead to more appropriate and safe behaviour, provided the reward system meets certain critical conditions. One study, for instance, clearly shows that young Dutch drivers are prepared to moderate speed if they are rewarded by insurance premium discounts [62]. In order to achieve long-term effects, a rewards programme needs to be regularly repeated.

Conditions for a successful reward programme are among others [63] [64] [65]:

  • It is clear that the reward depends on displayed behaviour and when and how rewards are effected.
  • Desired behaviour is specific, measurable and feasible.
  • Behaviour is regularly monitored, but desired behaviour not continuously rewarded.
  • It is important to see others receive rewards.
  • Rewards are direct, instant and attractive; they may also involve chances of a reward via a lottery.
  • Rewards are large enough to induce behavioural change, but not so large that they are the only incentive for desired behaviour.
  • The reward programme is progressive: more successes lead to higher rewards.
  • The (chance of a) reward is equal for everyone, or considered equal.
  • Information about the reward program does not only cover the rewards, but also the relevance (benefit) to the road users themselves, such as their safety.
  • There is fast and clear feedback on behaviour and, possibly, on progress made to achieve set goals.
  • The reward programme pairs well with police enforcement.

Also see the archived SWOV fact sheet Rewards for safe road behaviour.

Part of fact sheet

Traffic enforcement

In the Netherlands, a sustainable road safety approach, in which measures in the fields of Engineering, Education and Enforcement (3Es) are… Meer

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