Monday, 15 November 2010

Introduction - Road Pricing Blog

Welcome!  The purpose of this blog is to provide a repositary for global news and commentary about the field of road pricing.

Why?

It's simple.  There is information and commentary about road pricing across the internet, but no single site dedicated to the issue on a global scale.  There is one website which concentrates almost entirely on US tolling news, but none which give equal coverage to events elsewhere in the world.  Even Wikipedia does a poor job of summarising the facts around these issues, partly because of the wide range of terminology which has been used.

I have spent the last ten years working in road infrastructure policy, including road user charging with projects in the UK, USA, continental Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.  It includes managing transitions towards free flow tolling, urban congestion charging and distance based charging.

I hope this blog will have guest commentaries and present different regular columns and insights into current issues.   As you can see, the column on the right has a long list of websites covering a wide range of types of road charging, including links to existing systems.

So what is road pricing?  Well if you are familiar with any of the overlapping terms below, it is ALL of those in relation to charging for road use:

Tolls/tolling
Road user charging (RUC)
Congestion pricing
Congestion charging
HGV charging
HGV tolls
Electronic fee collection
Electronic road pricing
Electronic road user charging
Time Distance Place (TDP) charging
Cordon charging
Cordon pricing
Mobility pricing
Toll lanes
High occupancy/toll (HOT) lanes
Road pricing
Road charging
Vignettes
Electronic free flow tolling
Value pricing
Area pricing
Area charging
Eco charging
Access charging

I wont be attempting to narrowly define any of these, except that I will be attempting to distinguish between a few key types of road pricing, based on geography and chargeable event.  What matters is not so much terminology as clarity of understanding about what is meant.   So when I describe a road pricing system as a "toll" or "road user charge" or "congestion charge" there will be an element of the system that lends itself to that term.  I will prefer to use the official titles where possible, even though they do not always capture all of the key characteristics of the system.

In any case, welcome to this blog.  It will carry regular updates about major developments in road pricing, including new systems, major changes to existing ones, and debates about introducing new ones.   If you have any comments or suggestions that are not appropriate for individual posts, please email them to rationaltransport at yahoo dot com.

Regards

Scott Wilson
Rational Transport

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