As Kapsch Traffic Com prepares to exhibit at Traffex in Birmingham, Johannes Rogi takes a look at the prospects for pay-per-mile road user charging (RUC) in the UK.

In a bid to control traffic congestion and minimise associated air pollution, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to expand London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) during 2023. The aim is that the expanded ULEZ will help to reduce NOx emissions from vehicles in Greater London by up to 330 tonnes per year and CO2 emissions by up to 150,000 tonnes.

But although this is clearly great for the health of the city, the adoption of electric vehicles, which is gathering pace across the UK, means that fuel consumption – and related fuel duties – are declining. This, in turn, will further reduce funding available for transportation, while doing nothing to reduce the total number of vehicles on the road – and the related congestion challenges.

When it comes to solving London’s congestion and funding challenges, road user charging (RUC) is likely to play a key role. This technology looks at both the distance travelled by motorists in their vehicles, as well as the type and emissions status of vehicles – and applies charges based on these criteria.

“Because of its ‘pay-per-mile’ approach, RUC is much fairer than traditional congestion charging solutions that apply flat-rate charges for all vehicles, whether they travel for just a few miles in the restricted zone, or drive around all day,” explains Steve Parsons, sales director at Kapsch TrafficCom. “At Kapsch TrafficCom, we provide the powerful back-end systems that power London’s congestion charging, LEZ and ULEZ schemes. What’s more, our broad portfolio of RUC technology solutions and tolling and congestion charging expertise provides a clear and uniquely low-risk roadmap to RUC across the capital when the time is right.”

Having deployed a nationwide satellite distance-based tolling solution for heavy goods vehicles in Bulgaria, Kapsch has also field-tested end-to-end RUC capabilities, with excellent outcomes and KPIs achieved.

Find out more about RUC and other ongoing projects, at Kapsch TrafficCom’s Booth F040 at this year’s Traffex in Birmingham (14-16 June).

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