Congestion Charging

So, it looks like they\’re going to go ahead with the trials of full road pricing:

The Telegraph can disclose that the Government is pushing ahead with plans for a national road-pricing scheme, including testing "spy in the sky" technology.

Excellent, on two grounds.

1) Paying by the mile, according to the road and the time of day, is the only way that congestion can be properly reduced, because it\’s the only way the roads can be properly priced.

2) They\’re running extensive trials. It may well be that the technology just isn\’t up to it, or that the costs are greater than any beneits. Worth finding out if it\’s possible before thinking about whether it\’s desirable on a full scale.

17 thoughts on “Congestion Charging”

  1. They are running trials like they ran trials of GPS tagging of criminals. It was predicted by engineers it wouldn’t work. It didn’t work. Millions were wasted. Similarly, this “spy in the sky” won’t work either.

    The reason that this won’t work is because it isn’t a spy in the sky, but rather each vehicle ‘fessing up to its own mileage: the owner has an interest in the GPS unit failing to get a signal, and it’s generally not possible to distinguish between genuine failure of the technology and tampering (thus providing plausible deniability to any tamperer).

    Besides, it was tried for trucks in Germany and was a dismal technical failure.

  2. I think, given this government’s track record with regard to news technology and databases, we can assume it’ll be a similar dismal failure here too…

  3. “Paying by the mile, according to the road and the time of day, is the only way that congestion can be properly reduced, because it’s the only way the roads can be properly priced.”

    No, it isn’t going to ease congestion. The vast majority of congestion is caused by commuters; commuters travel at a certain time of day because they are compelled to be in the workplace at a certain time of day.

    If this were not the case, the trains at peak times — when prices are double what they are off-peak — would be empty. They aren’t: in fact, as we keep hearing, they are absolutely rammed.

    Will this measure be revenue-neutral? Of course not. So, this will simply make people poorer. Again.

    DK

  4. “because they are compelled to be in the workplace at a certain time of day.”

    And price has no effect on whether commuting is worthwhile? The fact the trains are packed is because the prices aren’t high enough: Government regulation ensures that the “fair” price everyone pays means that people don’t look for different jobs, or try to restructure their working day to avoid peak times.

    A question for you DK: if you had to pay more (twice as much?) for your season ticket, you’d reconsider your taking of a 9-5 job, yes?

  5. 1) Kay Tie makes a valid point. It is very easy to screw up a GPS unit. Silver foil. I suspect we will see a similar regime as used for Oyster in London. If something goes wrong or you do not “touch out” and electronically complete your journey, you will pay as if you took the most expensive journey.

    2) The only way to reduce road use is to enable new railways to be built, existing ones expanded and new housing to be built alongside new stations that feed into large centres of employment.

    This happened 150 years ago and London grew without requiring mass motorcar use.

    Of course, we will get some out of town employment, but it is all a matter of degree.

    Abolishing stamp duty and freeing schools so people are not scared about relocating their kids will also allow for more movement so we do not get the barking situation ofpeople driving 50+ miles round the M25 twice a day.

  6. Pingback: ‘Road pricing’ « The Landed Underclass

  7. “If something goes wrong or you do not “touch out” and electronically complete your journey, you will pay as if you took the most expensive journey.”

    What journey? There’s no record a journey took place, apart from what the box said, and if the box isn’t saying, then no journey took place.

    Anyway, it will be quite an issue to impose fines on people for the inevitable failings of the technology imposed on them against their will.

    One last question: how many car-proud owners are going to allow Gordon Brown to come round in a boiler suit and bolt a Government-issue iron box and aerial on to their beloved car?

  8. What makes you think the govt would stop spending after the trial just because the technology isn’t up to the job? It’s never stopped them before… ID Cards and biometrics?

  9. “It’s never stopped them before… ID Cards and biometrics?”

    The NHS NfkwIT system is collapsing, and there is a willingness on the part of staff and patients to see it work. What happens when Labour try to bring in a technological mammoth that is actively resisted?

    People who don’t want ID cards will sand down their fingertips and wear coloured contact lenses so they can’t be enrolled (the entire project is predicated on an enrolment failure rate of less than 1%, so we can guess what’s going to happen).

  10. Kay Tie “What journey? There’s no record a journey took place, apart from what the box said, and if the box isn’t saying, then no journey took place.”

    Then a flat fee per mile for all the days your box cannot log in and tell the system you have not gone anywhere.

    Remember, in New Labour/EU world, we are guilty until we can prove our innocence.

    Do not think they will not try and do this.

  11. “Then a flat fee per mile for all the days your box cannot log in and tell the system you have not gone anywhere.”

    What’s the “per mile” bit? The box is wired into the odometer? And when you’re driving through France on holiday, you’ll be billed for that too?

    “Do not think they will not try and do this.”

    I don’t doubt that for a moment. The hallmark of this Labour Party is a pathological inability to think things through properly, combined with a total belief in its power to command things to be, merely by words. Hence the concept that to announce something is to make it so.

    I believe completely that they will bring this system in to being, planned and executed as well as any of their IT projects, and I also believe it will collapse into farce and injustice faster than Modernising Medical Careers.

  12. “…with the unfortunate side-effect of also jamming the sat-nav……”

    Hmmm, jam the satellite (to avoid tax), but bugger the sat-nav (and read a map instead)…? What to do…? It’s a real puzzler….

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