Fleet News

Motorway tolls a step closer

MAJOR Government trials have shown that the technology is now available to introduce motorway tolling into the UK. The electronic road pricing trials were carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory, and the results have been published in the run up to the publication of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' integrated transport white paper.

The release of the 'Report on the Test Track Trials of Motorway Tolling Technologies 1996-97' coincided with the end of Leicester City Council's on-street trials of urban road pricing, in which the TRL again played a key role. The motorway tolling scheme showed that commercially available technology can charge vehicles and capture images of non-payers, but at the moment no off-the-shelf package would allow drivers to be charged without the need to stop or slow down.

Transport minister Gavin Strang said: 'These trials proved that electronic road user charging is possible. But putting together a complete electronic system is complex and there are some sub-systems which would need further investigation to ensure they have the necessary capacity and are robust enough for day-to-day use.' And looking ahead to the transport white paper, he added: 'If we are to achieve our goal of an integrated transport network, we must not be afraid to look at innovative technology and fresh approaches.'

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