Driven by declining fuel duty revenues, increasing traffic volumes, and demand for a seamless experience, the future of UK road pricing requires coordinated policy and systems.
Multiple road pricing schemes currently operate in the UK, including: fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, a heavy goods vehicle levy, tolling and road user charging, congestion charging, and Clean Air / Ultra Low Emission Zones.
Individually governed and/or operated by a wide variety of organisations (including central government, local governments, highways authorities and private operators), the UK’s schemes use a broad range of vehicle identification and back-office solutions which require customers to maintain multiple accounts and – in some cases - identification tokens.
The number of road pricing schemes operating in the UK is expected to increase over the coming years, driven by three key trends:
- As zero emission vehicles become prevalent and fuel duty declines, road pricing schemes will emerge as a replacement.
- Carefully planned road management schemes will be needed to tackle increasing traffic volumes, congestion, and short-term air quality issues.
- Customers will begin to demand a more integrated and interoperable road pricing ecosystem in which they do not have to maintain different accounts and technologies for different schemes, and where pricing policies are consistent (or, at the very least, aligned).
A coordinated and coherent policy and roadmap is integral to ensuring frictionless adoption by road users, and cost effective delivery of the future road pricing landscape.
Our report, in collaboration with IMS, explores these issues and sets out how the UK can learn from experiences in integrated and interoperable road pricing schemes in the US.