Feeds

DfT rounds up Road-Pricing 2.0 contractors

Car-tagging pork barrel opened for early nibbles

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The UK government's rebranded road-pricing scheme took another lurch forward this week, as the Department for Transport announced the companies which will build pilot technology.

The Financial Times reports today that the DfT has named T-Systems (part of Deutsche Telekom), Trafficmaster, Sanef Tolling of France and US firm Intelligent Mechatronic Systems. It seems the companies will "work with volunteer road users to develop an accurate, affordable and reliable system that will also safeguard users' privacy".

As previously reported by the Reg, the DfT plans to wring more capacity out of Blighty's crowded roads - especially its motorways - by various different means. Apart from use of the hard shoulder, there are also plans for inescapably-enforced low speed limits at peak times, reducing the knock-on effects of braking and keeping traffic moving smoothly. Paid-for toll lanes - in effect, partial road pricing - are also expected.

The adjustable average speed limits have been enforced using automated numberplate recognition (ANPR) in pilot schemes thus far, which works well provided that faked or stolen plates aren't in widespread use. The government, however, has admitted that such fraud is simple, and might well become more widespread as the incentives for using it became stronger - as they would on the "Managed Motorway" of the future.

Thus it is that the new alliance of tech companies will be looking to develop some kind of in-car tracking or tagging kit which will more reliably identify a car than numberplates do. This will initially be used for the toll lanes, but it seems likely that in time there would also be calls to use it rather than easily-spoofed ANPR for ordinary speed-limit discipline too.

Thus libertarians will remain concerned about the prospect of the new car-tags or whatever eventually becoming compulsory on all British cars - in effect tightening the grip of the feared surveillance state. Such libertarians might also admit, however, that something will have to be done to keep the traffic moving - and a huge expensive road-building programme, even if it could gain consent, is looking more and more unaffordable. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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 ...'
Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?
EU reckons we've one foot out the door anyway
'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
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
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
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.
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.
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.