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Smart Industry 1/2018

Smart Industry 1/2018 - The IoT Business Magazine - powered by Avnet Silica


Smart Business Toll Systems $ 15. 20 Toll Systems What Price the Road? Toll systems in use around the world are hopelessly stuck in the analog age. By using intelligent IoT-based metering governments might be able to keep pace with rising numbers of vehicles as ride-sharing and electric cars take off. ■ By Tim Cole* Toll roads go back a long way and have existed for at least the last 2,700 years. Records show that tolls had to be paid by travelers using the Susa–Babylon highway under the Assyrian regime of King Ashurbanipal, who reigned in the 7th century BC. In 14th-century England, some of the most heavily used roads were repaired with money raised from pavage grants, a toll for maintenance or improvement of a road. In early US history, many individual citizens would maintain nearby stretches of road and collect fees from travelers. Eventually, the toll leviers formed companies to build, improve, and maintain a particular section of roadway, and tolls were collected to finance the enterprise. Road pricing is more efficient than the typical indirect ways drivers pay for imposing costs on others, such as through taxes on fuel and on car ownership These private “turnpikes” were soon owned by business corporations that built and maintained new roads for the right to collect fees from travelers. Turnpikes often left an important social and political imprint on the communities that created and supported them, but they seldom turned a profit. There were three important phases of toll road construction in the US: the turnpike era of the eastern states from 1792 to 1845, the plank road boom of 1847 to 1853, and the Far West toll roads between 1850 and 1902. Political sentiment eventually turned against them, and the Federal Road Act of 1916 prevented the use of tolls on highways from receiving government money. The prominence of the tollway model increased further with the rise of the automobile, and many modern toll roads all over the world charge fees for motor vehicles exclusively. Money for jam In recent years, tolls have been used as a way to ease traffic jams in inner cities. In 2003 Ken Livingstone, then London’s mayor, introduced a system called the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ). Motorists pay at least £11.50 a day ($15.56) to drive into the center of town. At first, the system seemed to work wonderfully: the number of cars entering Central London fell by almost a quarter but, since about 2012, the numbers started to creep up again. One reason is that delivery trucks and taxis are clocking up more 22 *Tim Cole is the editor of Smart Industry.

$ 17. 23 source: Transport for London miles within the zone. Another is the spread of bus lanes reserved for public transport – especially the famous red London double-deckers. Today, more time is being lost to gridlock than before the introduction of the CCZ. According to a report in the business magazine The Economist, the average vehicle speed within the zone fell from 32 kph in 2013 to 28.5 kph in 2016. As a result, London is currently searching for a more radical solution for congestion control. In January the London Assembly, the city's governing body, called for municipal authorities to develop a new system of road pricing that varies according to when, where, and for how long a motorist drives in the city. The idea of selling time on the streets isn’t really new: Singapore already London stalling London traffic, weekday afternoon rush hour Average speed kph 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 2007 2010 2015 *Extra time it takes to travel 1km at rush hour versus at night has the world’s most comprehensive road-pricing system which is camerabased. It plans to introduce a new GPS-based one in 2020. The system will use built-in global positioning systems in cars as well as smartphone signals to charge motorists more precisely. The Singapore experiment is being carefully watched by other authorities all over the world, with California and Oregon in the US already in trials of similar setups. As The Economist notes, it’s not just about frayed nerves and lost time on the way home. ”Using prices to ration a scarce resource, such as space on busy roads at busy times, makes sense,” remarked the authors of a recent article on congestion avoidance (Jam Every Day, August 2017). Those who consume goods should Average delays* Minutes per km Central Inner Outer 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0 2007 2010 2015 Inner-city traffic problems Despite the introduction of congestion charges, London's traffic slows to a horse and buggy crawl at the height of the ironically named rush hour pay for them, they argue. And they believe that road pricing is more efficient than the typical indirect ways drivers pay for imposing costs on others, such as through taxes on car ownership and on fuel. Taxing cars or fuel doesn’t discourage motorists from causing congestion, which increases pollution and crimps productivity by delaying workers and deliveries, disrupting supply chains. Although congestion zones can help, they are blunt instruments. Road use pricing could be adjusted to penalize traffic flows during rush hours and offer incentives to drive during off times instead – and the systems could be made to work in real time. Taxes are unpopular, no matter what purpose they serve. Drivers would much rather “pay” by queuing than through road pricing. The Netherlands hoped to run a 60,000-vehicle trial of road pricing in 2011, on the way to rolling out a national scheme, but opposing politicians supported by motoring organizations fought so hard that the plans were dropped. Governments need to bring their systems into the digital age anyway, because a major reason congestion in inner cities is growing is the huge success of ride-hailing and ridesharing models spawned by the Internet and IoT. Drivers for Uber and their ilk can ride all day inside London’s CCZ picking up fares, but are only charged once. On the other hand, typical commuters usually 23