Are GPS Based Tolls The Way To Go?

from the it's-coming... dept

Forget all the hype about RFID-based “EZPass/FastPass/WhateverPass” tolling. That’s just a stepping stone, it appears, to GPS-based tolling. We’ve written about the concept before, but now a well-regarded think tank in the UK has come out with a report recommending GPS-based tolling and suggesting how it can be done (and how it can be used to increase toll revenue). As you might imagine, many people aren’t thrilled about the idea. There are also many hurdles the system would need to jump over – such as how to deal with cars without GPS systems and how to make sure it all works properly. A similar system in Germany has apparently run into problems with drivers being charged while not being on toll roads. Meanwhile, what isn’t necessarily mentioned is that such a system could be used to make many more roads into toll roads (and conceivably, make all roads toll roads).

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Comments on “Are GPS Based Tolls The Way To Go?”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:


Why would you go to the expense of making all roads toll roads? Someone has to pay to put a GPS recorder/transceiver in every car, work out a database of all road locations and the corresponding toll for that location, develop a system for tracking all the incoming GPS data and calculating tolls based on that information and then in some way billing the drivers for the ‘tolls’.

Why not just raise the federal tax on gasoline by $0.03 (or British equivalent) per gallon (litre) and forget about all the ‘high tech’ answers?

Gee, that should only save the British government a few million quid… How much you want to bet that the people who thought this was a good idea are people that own stock in the GPS manufacturers?

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Re: Why?

GPS people will say that their method is less regressive because the people who use the roads the most will pay the most in toll money.

And how long before GPS jammers are available to anyone who wants to go without paying the tolls.

Relying on GPS is not the safest thing to do. If people really want to get an accurate toll system, then they will have to design a secure, tamper-proof, and unjammable system which records actual milage driven by folks and then uploads that information via encryption, to a secure, tamper-proof, and unjammable system.

Can you think of the legal issues, especially in the United States, of attaching a GPS system to every car…the Privacy Rights groups would have a field day, and I am not sure why the government would need to know exactly where my car was at any moment of the day without my permission (although, actually, the government for the most part does actually know where my car is for most of the day…but that is another, completely unrelated story.)

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