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Munich faces RFID-controlled congestion charge

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The German Green Party intends to designate the centre of Munich as a tolled zone to significantly reduce the amount of traffic on its streets, and has suggested using RFID tags for car registration.

Every vehicle would have to carry a RFID transponder card emitting a unique registration code. The number plates of unregistered cars entering the city would be photographed, so they could be charged later.

The plans are similar to the congestion charge scheme introduced more than a year ago in London. The system requires drivers to pay £5 per day if they wish to continue driving within the designated congestion zone London.

At midnight, images of all of the vehicles in London that have been in the zone are checked against the vehicle registration numbers of vehicles which have paid their congestion charge for that day. The computer keeps the registration numbers of vehicles that should have paid, but have not done so.

Green party members have been pressing for congestion charge schemes for most German cities, where the amount of traffic can also be very high. Munich has by far the worst congestion. Stockholm - pretty quiet compared to most European cities - already plans to follow London’s example in 2005. ®

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