Wednesday 20 July 2011

100th post

I started this blog primarily to be a website where anyone interested in tolls and road pricing could find a comprehensive list of links to all sorts of pricing systems from around the world. This covers not just conventional tolls, but HOT lanes, urban congestion charging systems and network tolling and distance charging systems for heavy vehicles (and all vehicles).

I perceived a “gap in the market”, between what is offered by the only other similar website, as I sought news on road pricing from around the world, not just the US.

Of course, having adequate time to do this is a challenge that I have failed to deliver consistently in the past few months, but it is my hope to improve this and to be a reliable central source for news on the road pricing/toll sector worldwide. My focus is on major developments, which means steps forward in terms of policy, technology and the introduction of new road pricing systems. It means I am not covering minutiae or minor local issues, or specifically, whether or not a road should be built, but rather strategically interesting issues around tolls.

My hope is that you find it interesting enough as a reference point, and as a place to come for such information, with a little commentary added in from my perspective. I also intend to occasionally feature articles which are not simply reporting news, but taking a more incisive view of recent developments.

I don’t want this blog to be specifically political, but it will reflect an outcome based approach. I am interested in results, in outcomes for road users and those who live and work adjacent to roads (which is largely everyone!). I am interested in economic efficiency, safety and efficiently minimising the negative externalities from transport. I don’t believe that transport, as a sector, should be subsidised as of right, but do believe that the public policy goals for transport should be transparent, and policies implemented based on achieving clear objectives, not because the policies themselves are seen to have merit in themselves.

I firmly believe that the levels and extent of road pricing around the world will increase, in part because technology will make it ever easier and cheaper, in part because the economic and environmental benefits from better pricing a scarce resource (road space) are abundantly clear and finally because the tolerance of motorists and taxpayers in charging other activities (or proxies for road use, such as fuel) is continuing to be pressed. People are typically willing to pay for what they use, they are less tolerant of paying for one thing, and finding the money is used elsewhere.

So, please continue to read, and gain insights into developments around the world, as interest in road pricing continues to grow.


  1. Well, interesting but I really don't agree. Is important that those that really use infraestructures pay for using them as you pay your telephone bill without arguing for this. Probably, toll road prices will decrease as you will pay in all roads instead, not for a kind of primary and secondary roads, as this model doesn't make sense any more. Thus trucks will pay more than a vehicle, and a car with a high occupation rate will pay even less, or cars with no fines nothing at all... In the future will be used a more green concept instead of an industrial model (rich vs poor) model.

  2. It's not clear what you are arguing here, since it is difficult to enforce charging vehicles based on occupancy. The economically efficient approach is for prices to be based on a range of factors, including consumption of road capital (e.g. wear and tear), road space and reflection of demand vs supply. Simply doing this would make a considerable difference to demand and support more environmentally friendly outcomes