The UK’s Intelligent Transport Society has told the Department for Transport that there is no technical barrier to distance-based charging of HGVs.
The ITS (UK) Road User Charging Interest Group is responding to a consultation on reforming the heavy goods vehicle road user levy.
A wide-ranging group of respected experts agreed that technology required already exists, with Germany having a successful truck tolling scheme since 2005. Options for technology range from automatic number plate recognition or toll tags to a solution based on an on board tolling unit or the use of a GPS-enabled “dongle” plugged into the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic port.
The experts have advised on privacy issues surrounding any use of location-based charging, and although it was agreed that this is less of an issue for freight carriers than it would be for private drivers, there still needs to be mechanisms in place to allay any fears.
The report to the DfT also includes comments on the effects of charging on congestion, emissions and the economy and is being submitted following the Department’s call for evidence last November.
ITS (UK)’s President Steven Norris is a vocal supporter of Road User Charging and agrees that the technology is now mature enough to support it, “When I was Transport Minister in the 90s it was easy for road user charging to kicked into the long grass because the infrastructure costs were prohibitive. There is now no such excuse and any decision is purely a political one.”
Secretary General Jennie Martin added, “This is a very important issue for the future of mobility and I’m proud that ITS (UK) has again been able to help set out the options in an informed way – it’s another example of the service we give to members and, by implication, to the wider travelling public.”