Difference between revisions of "Pay-as-you-drive"

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Description:

The Dutch economy very much relies on its road system. Public transportation is widely available, but often an unreliable and unfavourable way of transporting oneself to a work or other location. This means the car is still the primary used way of transportation within The Netherlands. Being extremely dense populated with several natural bottlenecks originating out its delta-like geography traffic congestion is a major problem in The Netherlands.

The Port of Rotterdam, the primary transit port to the (German) hinterland suffers from severe problems with its connection to road transportation, and is afraid of its competitive position in comparison with for example Antwerp. The Dutch transportation and logistics sector reportedly has losses accumulating into billion of Euros annually for being delayed due to traffic congestion.

It may come to no surprise that the traffic congestion problem has been recognized by the Dutch government. However the periodical building of new lanes, new bridges, carpool lanes, rush-hour lanes, and additional speed limits does not seem to be an effective solution so far. A more structural solution may be the pay-as-you-drive system.

This was initially meant as a toll collection system near the large cities of the Randstad area, but the plan was abandoned after worries about its costs, the technical possibilities, and resistance from motorist groups and cities. In 2005 however consensus was reached for an entire different kind of system, with a cost per driven kilometre.

The system will be introduced in phases, and will be finalised in 2016. During the early stages people will only pay near the large cities, but eventually they will pay for every driven kilometre, its price depending on the location and time. This system, while its feasibility and timeframe is questionable, will replace road taxes and lower the infamous Dutch BPM tariffs.

Enablers:

  • Consensus between political parties and motorist groups (ANWB)
  • Common agreement about the urgency of the traffic congestion problem
  • Long period of research and debate finished
  • Rapid development of new technological solutions
  • Period of economic growth
  • Opportunities for additional tax income for the government

Inhibitors:

  • Implementation of the project not yet made specific
  • Possible technological limitations
  • Change of government in upcoming elections
  • Lack of cooperation (and investment) from the business environment
  • Resistance from individual groups of motorists
  • Lack of necessary funding to create nationwide network
  • Difficulties in making the nationwide hardware safe for vandalism
  • Period of economic hardship

Paradigms:

Despite the fact that the pay-as-you-drive system can (or can not) be successfully introduced on a nationwide scale one must consider its effectiveness. It has not yet been proven that such a system will indeed stop people from regularly using the car, just like raising the excises on cigarettes does not stop people from smoking. Although the introduction of a toll system in the London city area did have a positive influence on the traffic jams, and also Singapore has been using a similar toll system with success for years, the Dutch situation is different. The current proposal suggests that you will be charged more during rush hour near Amsterdam then near Wolvega (which is of course reasonable), but it will also charge you differently on different roads (driving during rush hour on a 80kmh road near Amsterdam will have a different price as taking the highway?). Furthermore, as long as people will not have a proper alternative for the car they will use it anyway. This means huge investment in the (privatised) public transportation sector need to be done as well. That this can pay off extremely well has been proven by the Flemish government over the last couple of years.

Experts:

N/A

Timing:

  • 1999: Dutch Secretary of Transport, Public Works and Water Management Tineke Netelenbos introduces the first ideas of the pay-as-you-drive system using toll gates near heavily congested areas
  • 2001: After heavy debates the system is being postponed until further notice, while the search for alternatives continues
  • 2005: The old pay-as-you-drive system appears in a new format in which motorists will pay per driven kilometre and road taxes will be abolished

Web Resources: