Representatives from local authorities and road tolling technology providers heard Michael Goodwin, administrator for the Department of Environment Transport and the Region's road-user charging project, charging and local transport division, say it was not a question of if road tolling were introduced, but when. And such was the importance of the issue that the success of the Integrated Transport Policy white paper, which details plans to allow local authorities to establish their own road-user charging schemes, rested on their successful implementation.
Trials in Leicester and Bristol had shown the improvements to traffic flow as a result of the introduction of road tolls with simultaneous roll-out of new, or enhancement of existing, park and ride schemes. But Goodwin was confident road-user charges would be accepted by at least one motoring sector. He told Fleet NewsNet: 'The representations from the business community have been quite positive about pricing. Business people see it in terms of improving the reliability of journey times and believe that if charging can contribute to that they would be satisfied. Being delayed by congestion and arriving too late can cost a business a lot more money than a road toll.'