Enforce congestion toll collection and create integration linkages between pricing system and motor vehicle registries to process violations.

Experience from road pricing programs in Europe and Asia

Czech Republic; England; Germany; Singapore; Sweden

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Congestion pricing programs face political, institutional, and public acceptance challenges and concerns everywhere in the world. Over a 12-day period, from December 7 to 18, 2009, a multidisciplinary scan team from the United States interacted with the experts in Europe and Asia to develop an understanding of factors that contributed to the successful implementation of road pricing. Based on their international experience, the scan team offered the following lessons learned on addressing the operations and enforcement issues of road pricing programs.
  • Enforce an effective system of congestion toll collection. Enforcement is key to ensuring a financially viable and fair system. Video enforcement is an essential element in every site visited. Enforcement has played a large role in public acceptability by ensuring fairness because those paying for use of the road want to know that others are paying as well. Many pricing programs do not consider enforcement penalties as a revenue tool (i.e., fines and fees need not be higher than administrative costs), but do view enforcement as a critical element of ensuring that base road charges are collected without substantial leakage. All of the sites studied, except Stockholm, treat violations as administrative fees, not as criminal acts.
  • Create integration linkages between pricing system and motor vehicle registries. Violation enforcement systems require effective system integration and linkages with motor vehicle registries. Typically, enforcement is managed through video capture of license plate images and an ANPR (automated number plate recognition) system. Back office processing centers use license plate information to identify the vehicle owner and collect payment.

    London and Stockholm: In systems that rely on video systems and ANPR as the means of charging for road use, the enforcement process is an exception-based business process to pursue those who have not paid after some period of time. This process leverages one set of roadside equipment for dual functionality (i.e., primary collection and enforcement). This is the case in London and Stockholm.

    Czech Republic, Germany, and Singapore: In systems that rely on on-board units (OBUs), such as transponders or GPS (global positioning system), for toll collection, the video enforcement process is a stand-alone subsystem that requires roadside video equipment for enforcement and systems integration to ensure violation transactions and electronic toll transactions are uniquely identified and properly distinguished. The systems in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Singapore rely on separate violations enforcement subsystems. All these systems supplement the automated violations enforcement systems with mobile and roadside enforcement efforts for periodic spot enforcement.
    The use of ANPR enforcement requires an effective working relationship with motor vehicle registries for accurate information of vehicle owners from license plate data. Systems that include pricing for significant populations of foreign-registered vehicles (e.g., Germany and the Czech Republic) have a more complex set of relationships to establish and maintain in a cost-effective manner.
Road pricing programs implemented in Europe and Asia offer important lessons on exploring the use of market-based approaches to address traffic congestion and improve mobility. Experience shows that developing and enforcing an effective toll collection process is a key to success, and the pricing enforcement authorities require an effecting working relationship with motor vehicle registries to identify toll-payment violations.

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Reducing Congestion and Funding Transportation Using Road Pricing In Europe and Singapore

Author: Robert Arnold, Vance C. Smith, John Q. Doan, Rodney N. Barry, Jayme L. Blakesley, Patrick T. DeCorla-Souza, Mark F. Muriello, Gummada N. Murthy, Patty K. Rubstello, Nick A. Thompson

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

Source Date: 12/01/2010

URL: http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl10030/pl10030.pdf

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Benefits From This Source

After implementation of the congestion charge in London, the number of vehicles entering the charging zone decreased by 25 percent, travel speeds increased by 30 percent, trip times decreased by 14 percent, and traffic delays plummeted by 25 percent.

In Germany, vehicle-miles traveled using cleaner trucks (Euro 4 and 5) rose 60 percent from 2 percent in 2005 to over 62 percent in 2009 because of the nationwide heavy-goods-vehicle tolling program.

In Singapore, the Electronic Road Pricing program has enabled maintaining target speeds of 45 to 65 kilometers per hour on expressways and 20 to 30 kilometers per hour on arterials.

The Stockholm congestion tax project reduced traffic congestion by 20 percent and vehicle emissions by 10 to 14 percent in the Central Business District.

Lessons From This Source

Be prepared to face the opportunities and challenges posed by political timetables, project deadlines, as well as pricing-equity issues for road pricing procurement and implementation.

Beware that schedule and costs of road pricing projects are affected by various factors including legislative outcomes, clarity and specificity of scope, and contracting methods.

Consider advantages of open-source designs and beware of legal challenges in road pricing systems procurement.

Consider stakeholder outreach and education, transport modes that offer an alternative to driving, performance measurement, and area geography with high importance in the planning phase for road pricing programs.

Create performance standards for operational effectiveness of a pricing program, define business rules for back-office operations, and refine operations practices based on needs.

Define clear goals and pay attention to key institutional and technical factors for successful implementation of road pricing programs.

Develop a statutory and legal framework for as a foundational step for levying road pricing fees and utilizing revenues.

Develop public outreach programs based on the cultural and political context of the project location and provide clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of congestion pricing.

Enforce congestion toll collection and create integration linkages between pricing system and motor vehicle registries to process violations.

For successful implementation of a road pricing program, strive for simplicity in policy goals and strong championing of the program by the executive and legislative leaders.

Understand that while the viability of pricing programs is impacted by political actions, pricing signal is a potential tool for developing a sustainable transportation system.

Use business and functional requirements to guide technology selection for a road pricing program and understand that the technology selected initially evolves over time.

Lesson ID: 2011-00592