Feeds

TfL hands out contracts for congestion charge tags

Tag and beacon to bring home the bacon

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Transport for London has contracted six companies to introduce 'tag and beacon' technology for the next phase of the capital's congestion charge.

The framework contract will provide roadside equipment to charge motorists for driving into the centre of London and the western extension which covers Kensington and Chelsea.

Tag and beacon technology, which is already used on toll roads including the M6 Toll and some bridges, operates by picking up a radio signal emitted by cards on vehicles. So far, London's congestion scheme has relied on automatic number plate recognition technology (ANPR), where cameras read licence plates which are checked against a list of who has paid. Those not paying can be traced through Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency records.

The new contract, which covers both technologies, has gone to six companies, according to the Official Journal of the European Union on 5 June 2008: Efkon, Kapsch TrafficCom, Siemens, Thales Transport & Security, Q-Free and Capita Business Services. Capita is currently TfL's main congestion charge supplier, but is due to be replaced by IBM in November 2009.

Commenting on TfL's move to tag and beacon, Stephen Roberts, senior analyst at Kable, said: "Although there's a significant upfront cost in setting up a tag and beacon system, the complexity of managing each transaction at the back office is far less than with an ANPR system. Also, the need for human intervention to manage anomalies and queries is greatly reduced.

"It's estimated that once 30 per cent of drivers are using tag and beacon, it makes sense to use it alongside ANPR."

Congestion charging was introduced into central London in February 2003 and extended westwards in 2007. Figures from TfL show that the scheme has reduced traffic entering the original charging zone by 21 per cent, as well as generating revenues of £123m in the last financial year, which is being used to improve public transport.

Manchester is currently bidding for £3bn of government funding to develop a peak time congestion charging scheme for the city centre, which will also use tag and beacon technology. Businesses in Manchester today announced a new alliance to back the scheme, saying it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the city.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?