GIS Thoughts

Road User Charging – Don’t Panic !!

Yesterdays announcement, that the Government in looking into a system of road usage charging has resulted in the usual doom vendor calls of another government IT disaster in the making.. it is easy to agree with this based on the track record of delivery of big IT projects so far, but here I believe there should be more optimism.

Installing black boxes with GPS and GPRS modems in every car in the UK will be a major logistical challenge, as will the development of the backend systems to support this and a potentially complex pricing system to allow temporal change in charging perhaps even pricing models based on demand (EasyRoads anybody ?).

But… The technology here is actually already robust – GPS vehicle tracking and the associated telematics infratrucutre already exists for niche markets such as high value parcel tracking, and there is already considerable experience in building complex billing systems from the mobile phone industry; and of course in the UK we have the necessary underlying geograhical data.

So lets not kick this project before it has even started.. we can in the UK lead the world in developing this technology – the real challenge will be politically making this happen !!

Written and submitted from the Roadchef at Northampton on the M1, using a BTOpenzone 802.11 network. (Glamorous eh!)

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