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This article was published on October 18, 2021

Still driving a gas-powered car? Use it to help change driver behavior

Lose that car-driving guilt by helping Code the Streets

Still driving a gas-powered car? Use it to help change driver behavior
Cate Lawrence

Are you still driving a gas-powered car? As you no doubt know by now, it’s YOUR fault that the planet is getting hotter and the world is ending. But don’t worry, there’s a way you can assuage some of that guilt without even leaving your car. In fact, please stay right there, in your car.

Amsterdam and Helsinki are two of my favorite smart cities. Researchers are looking for local car drivers to help make these cities more liveable.

The project is called Code the Streets. They’re seeking car drivers to test new functions in the traffic navigation app TomTomAmiGO and Mercedes-Benz‘s navigation planner. The aim is to understand better how to route motorists in a more environmentally aware way.

Getting people to change their habitual car-driving routes is hard. Incentives must be situation-specific and offered in real-time, while driving.

Code the Streets for sustainable routing

In creating this pilot, cities and service providers have built an open application programming interface (API). It allows cities to communicate directly with car drivers via the service providers. This makes it possible to nudge drivers to choose alternative sustainable routes.

The pilot focuses on guiding car drivers away from areas traditionally congested or with poor air quality. Drivers receive data about school zones, traffic jams, environmental zones, and vulnerable infrastructure. 

The pilot planners believe that digital tools are also a catalyst for repurposing public space for different uses at different times. Imagine, for example, that a traditional car driving road changes to a bicycle lane in the afternoon and a terrace in the evening.

The initiative is a collaboration effort. Partners include:

  • City of Amsterdam
  • City of Helsinki
  • Aalto University
  • Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute)
  • Forum Virium Helsinki
  • Technical University Delft
  • The Future Mobility Network

It’s funded by TomTom, Mercedes-Benz, and EIT Urban Mobility.

Yes, I’m sitting in my car feeling guilty, how can I get involved? 

car drivers can help green the streets
Even car drivers can help green their cities

All you have to do is fill in a short questionnaire and download the app. But, you need to be an Android user.  

As a sweetener, you can get free tickets to Move Amsterdamif you’re in Amsterdam. This includes a guided exhibit tour and a drink at Madame Cyclette.  

Find out more and register to join the pilot via the Code the Streets website.


Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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