Motorists 'must pay for road use'
Motorists should be asked to pay to drive on the nation's road network, a report commissioned by the government has recommended.

Former British Airways chief Sir Rod Eddington has examined options for modernising the UK transport network.

He has reported that road tolls could benefit the economy to the tune of £28bn a year.

With road charging, drivers would pay more to use roads when they were busy or more congested.

If road charging was introduced, the government would be able to examine the option of whether it could raise enough revenue to replace fuel duty and the car tax disc.


Road charges could cut congestion by half, Sir Rod said in the report commissioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Grand projects like high-speed rail links were less important than using existing networks better, he added.

Smaller projects, including an expansion of the UK cycle network, received strong backing.

But Sir Rod warned the new technology would be hard to implement.

"Road pricing on this scale is new and at this stage has unknown implementation costs," Sir Rod said in the report.

"There are very significant risks and uncertainties involved in delivering a pricing policy, particularly around the technology needed for its delivery."

The government announced the transport study in 2005 as part of an effort to examine the long-term impact of transport decisions on the UK economy.

Sir Rod has examined the possibilities for road pricing, road building, rail and airport investment, as well as the planning system.

His report identifies three strategic transport priorities - congested and growing city catchments, "inter-urban" corridors and important international gateways showing signs of congestion and unreliability.

Such gateways include Heathrow Airport where 28% of flights are delayed by more than 15 minutes - some of the worst delays in the EU.

The report concludes that the potential benefits of charging motorists for using roads will outweigh the costs of the scheme.

Road charges will put some people off driving entirely, cut congestion and carbon emissions and could raise up to £16bn a year in payments, Sir Rod says.

Sir Rod's report also says:

Many of the recommendations are in line with government thinking, but have now received the backing of a respected businessman.

The prospect of road pricing was given a cool welcome by some.

The Transport 2000 lobby group said that, for road pricing to work, alternatives to driving must be improved.

Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling said a national road pricing scheme for every road was not "realistically achievable in the near future".

Conservative plan

Sir Rod's report warns that how we get around Britain will be vital for future economic success.

For road pricing to work it's going to have to be accompanied by a lot of other measures
Stephen Joseph,
Transport 2000

The government has already indicated it will press ahead with trial road-pricing schemes across England - amid fears congestion could rise by 25% by 2015 in big towns and cities.

The draft Road Transport Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech, gives councils more freedom to bring in their own schemes in busy areas.

The Conservatives have released their own strategy, Getting Around: Britain's Great Frustration, calling for greener cars on the roads and major long-term projects.

They have also not ruled out road pricing but say they would build new roads and have a more integrated transport policy.


Intro to GSM-PostCode-CarShare

Rich Text Format (paginated) 49K

This scheme was first submitted to Vodafone in the mid 1990s. It seems it got lost in the rush to 3G etc. and I submitted it again in 2002. To give Vodafone their due, they immediately sent a clued up man to see me and we duly covered a restaurant table in paper and scribbling and pronounced the dawn of a winning idea.

GSM-PostCode-Carshare can work with basic GSM-SMS technology, and it can benefit from enhancments for those who graduate to 3G and even GPS, but the point is it can work for all, very cheaply.

In the 1950s, fewer people had their own cars. During my national service in the RAF I used to often thumb a lift even in civilian clothes, and when I had a car, stop and pick up hitch-hikers. These days few people do that. But there is a way it could come back.

So far, all that has happened is a more elaborate version, aplicable to taxis and paying assengers and using GPS has been trialled, by an independent company that has done the work for Vodafone and other GSM service providers. It does NOT use the simple, universal technology and principles of the attached proposal.

The text in the two versions accessible by the links above (HTML and RTF) is the same. 
Since it has been decided that people are not capable of driving and using a mobile, the system will need to be restricted to hands-free audio and text. Hands-free text is possible, but the aim was to keep it simple.

UPDATE 21st SEPT 2006


LIFTSHARE - - is a good effort. All we need now is for the mobile ISPs to get involved and power up the idea so that people can join groups that are organised along the lines suggested in my original paper.

The next part of the jigsaw requires any increase in congestion zone charge in London, and any extension of the zone westward, to be acompanied by 3 cheaper days per week allocated to half the cars registering for access and 3 other days of the week allocated to the other half. Perfection and total compliance is not required to make this reduce congestion dramatically while allowing London business and shops to have better access and trade than they do now. Combined with some significant lift-sharing its win-win-win for travellers, the environment, London and business. It's a no-brainer.

See also,8748,204933-204060,00.html,8748,204873-204060,00.html?nv=sd