Feeds

TfL hands out contracts for congestion charge tags

Tag and beacon to bring home the bacon

Boost IT visibility and business value

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
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.