How and When Road Pricing will Happen
The Economist takes an in depth look at how and why road pricing will happen. Key takeaways are:
- As ride-sharing and electric cars take off, governments are seeking new ways to make drivers pay.
- Nineteen US States have not raised duties on fuel in at least a decade.
Governments will have to find new ways of making drivers pay as tax revenue from motoring is drying up, one reason for this is the spread of ride-hailing and ride-sharing. Another reason is vehicles are becoming increasingly efficient; fuel efficiency has doubled in the past 25 years. Coupled with the fact that electric car ownership is increasing and very often electric vehicles often incur no fuel duty, but instead attract government subsidies.
Car ownership is falling; in many countries, the share of 20-somethings with driving licenses is falling. In the US the number of car-less households has declined from 1960. One in ten vehicles sold by 2030 will be for ride-sharing.
Congestion zones help but ideally road pricing would adjust to traffic flows in real time.
Technology will make it easier to try road pricing; with many premium cars already connected to the internet. Together with GPS technology it will be easier to track the use of vehicles.
Several states are using technology to experiment, such as the OReGO project in Oregon. A device is attached to the vehicle and data is recorded such as the fuel used and the distance driven. Motorists are then charged based on how far they drive.
Once motorists have become used to the idea of paying for the road space they take up, rates could be tweaked to account for the noise, pollution and the risk of collisions in each location. As fuel tax revenues dry up, the way in which Governments raise money is surely set to change.
Although many motorists reject the idea of having to pay a tax on their commutes and would prefer to slog through a congested roadway, economists generally agree that road pricing would be an excellent way to resolve funding issues. This is increasingly important on American roadways, as the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the overall state of the U.S. infrastructure a grade of “D+.”1 Refreshing infrastructure budgets would enable cities, states, and towns to better maintain their roads with new materials, as well as refreshed visual markings, which will be increasingly important as AI-powered vehicles are made accessible to the public.
In advance of adopting road pricing, Keysoft Solutions is helping civil design groups preserve their costs on road and highway drafting projects with their markings tool for AutoCAD, AutoSTRIPE. Click here to schedule a demo of how the tool makes drafting teams more efficient.