Feeds

UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

'A high level of monitoring and compliance is needed'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

ANPR is equally well known to be easy to beat. Miscreants can simply use stolen or faked numberplates. It's a trivial matter to find out what make and colour of car is registered under any given number, and so ensure that one's ghost car will appear to be legit in a camera picture. Thus, back when the government was still openly considering a national road pricing scheme, it was expected to make use of some kind of in-car electronic tracking or tagging.

Even quite mild libertarians, however, might get a little bit worried about a national database able to reliably locate and track every vehicle in the land in real time and back into the past. So the government doesn't talk about "road pricing" any more. But the Command Paper nonetheless sees the future "Managed Motorway" as charging money, at least in some circumstances. It's not thought that temporary speed limits and hard-shoulder use can provide enough capacity on their own. Simply building more road is expensive, causes environmental protests, and is ultimately seen as a race the government can't ever win. Traffic will always increase to fill any amount of roads, goes the thinking - and then increase some more. Thus, beyond the use of lowered speed and hard-shoulder driving, there remain plans to bring in widespread charging.

High Occupancy or Tolled (HOT) schemes have been put in place in the US and have been more successful at managing congestion than car-share lanes alone ... Users who choose to use the lane and pay the toll typically get an electronic tag ... While the HOT lane approach has proved very successful in the US – experience suggests that it is the tolled element that offers greatest flexibility for managing congestion ... this idea ... ultimately would require new statutory powers ...

Electronic tags are more reliable than automatic number plate recognition cameras, as they are much less susceptible to fraud, but they do require the vehicle to be equipped before it can use the tolled lane. Devices using the Global Positioning System could be used in the future ...

We will work with the Information Commissioner to ensure that our exploration of these privacy issues properly addresses public concerns and conforms with the Data Protection Act ...

In all fairness, the government does seem willing to have a two-tier motorway system, not a compulsory e-surveillance panopticon. You could choose to get tagged up in the new, hard-to-spoof electronic numberplate system and pay your road prices, which would mean you could use the toll lanes and get places on time when you needed to. But tagless diehard-libertarian and/or cash-strapped drivers would still be able to drive in the crammed and jammed free-to-use ANPR lanes. Criminals and others not inclined to let the government log their every journey would only need enough competence to beat ANPR; but they might take forever to get anywhere.

So yes, Ms Kelly is "giving motorists a choice about how they make their journeys". There doesn't seem to be any option to avoid having your journeys logged while remaining compliant with the law, however. And in many ways it might be more honest to call this "optional road pricing and degree of surveillance" - rather than "Managed Motorway" or "Choice and Reliability" as the government has chosen to do. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.