Toll roads is a classic economic case study.Why are we waiting ?

A toll road is one of the best ways to ration supply . Why does this country dither over road charging ? At one fell swoop it will solve congestion and probably reduce pollution. Even better , if introduced hand in hand with a reduction in road tax and petrol duties the poorer members of society would benefit through taxing those who could afford the toll road fees. The IFS and RAC said today that the case is "compelling" . Sounds like a fantastic challenge to see if any government has the nerve to introduce it.

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tellingd's picture

Agree but . . .

tellingd | | Permalink

I agree with what you're saying, but I object to the term 'road tax'.  When was this tax introduced?  Sorry to be pedantic but 'road tax' makes some think they pay for the roads, which they don't - they pay for the right to use the road with a polluting vehicle.  It is of course VED :-)

Flying Scotsman's picture

Road tax

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

I think now they actually pay just to own the vehicle unless a SORN is applied for. I haven't a clue when it came into being but I suspect it was as soon as cars required a number plate and a register was kept.

Indeed VED - the word "excise" sends  a shiver down the spine

Road charging....

justsotax | | Permalink

you mean charging a vehicle based upon the amount it uses the roads and possibly the polution it causes...

 

Perhaps just put additional charge on fuel.....no need to pay for fancy tracking devices or barriers and people to man them, and of course the economic damage (poor vehicle performance) generally corrulates the less fuel effiicent.....simples! (sorry meerkat language couldn't be resisted)

Flying Scotsman's picture

Pricing of roads

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

An additional fuel charge instead of VED ? Hmm....I think you would have the equivalent of bread riots. It is porbably a touchier subject than the NHS. The beauty of toll roads outside cities means that local  driving remains free and you'll need a sweetener or some sort to gain acceptability

I guess it depends whether you want to resolve the

justsotax | | Permalink

problem or just move it......if the problem is one of congestion then having toll roads will merely move the problem to city centre/local/country roads (on roads prossibly unfit for that amount of traffic).....don't we want to actually reduce the traffic on the roads overall?

 

Don't get me wrong I don't want to pay anymore than I have to....but what is the primary objective?

 

Caveat - this should be as part of an overall integrated transport solution - something promised by Blair in 1997.......if it is still cheaper to travel by car (or more expensive by train/bus) then we have no hope (if you give a monetary value to the loss of convenience/time in using public transport)

Flying Scotsman's picture

Road tax and moving the problem

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

I reckonthat people will not travel by back roads as it will be too circuitous and jammed up. It will move people to public transport. If you travel form Glasgow to London you will not go on the backroads , believe me - you'll fly or take the train. I think overall traffic will reduce . As more people clamour for public transport it will attract competition. And of course we could tax it as well.

I take the M6 toll road and it is just a part of the journey cost. The fuel for a trip to London is £50 so what's the extra fiver for a hassle free stretch of motorway?

People go by car because of the conveneince and privacy but everybody has their price and this will flush out those who won't pay .I would be interested to see if anybody has modelled likely results

Around town I walk or cycle whenever I can , and in rush hour there isn't much in it , and often I beat the traffic . A black box would even get rid of local journeys that are unnecessary

trouble is that public transport is neither 'cheap'    1 thanks

justsotax | | Permalink

or dependable.  Sure if i was travelling down to london then the train fares are very competitive (if booked in advance) and time wise there is not much in it (plus comfortable)....but if i needed to get into manchester from Liverpool then i can assure you at peak time in the morning standing room only is the least of my worries....is the train going to turn up....and will it get their on time....never mind the cost.....

 

But tolls in itself does not take cars off the road....just creates a 2 tier road system....where those who can afford to travel on empty roads (made for 1,000s of vehicles) and those who can't travel on a/b roads (usually in a state of dis-repair) and with increased traffic.

 

 

 

 

More complex

neileg | | Permalink

@Flying Scotsman

One of the problems with Britains major roads is that traffic congestion is largely caused by local traffic. Your decision to use the M6 toll on a long journey is perfectly understandable but the decision relating to the 10 mile commute to work every day will usually mean the motorist avoids the toll road. So the building of new toll roads is not automatically the answer to road congestion.

Promoting the use of public transport is of course a solution to this but we are wedded to our cars and the public transport network is far from perfect. I drive the 16 miles to work every day and providing I can park for free, it is cheaper than public transport. When I have tried to use public transport I find that the variation in punctuality is the most important factor.

Perhaps that's part of the reason I'm providing project management services to a major scheme to improve principal bus routes in the city connurbation where I work!

Flying Scotsman's picture

Traffic and public transport

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

Congestion is worst at rush hour . So we need out of town park and rides . People get the convenience of going by car but also have the regular and punctual quick link into city centre. In Manchester we have Metrolink and I used it last week (a rare occurrence for me)  to cross town and it was certainly faster than car. On Sunday I had to go to town and cycled - it was no slower than car once we take parking into account. During the week it would certainly have been quicker.

But as you say , good public transport is the key but part of a  mix

R2 D2's picture

Unrealistic

R2 D2 | | Permalink

There are some unrealistic comments above.

  1. Like it or not our economy is based on the combustion engine.
  2. Publicf transport simply doesn't get people to work as it runs at the wrong time and to the wronmg places.
  3. More & more we have a 24 hour economy, but 'public transport ceases from 11-7 in most places.
  4. people no longer work 9-5 on one site, and need their own transport often for work.
  5. Families are now spread all over the country, so increased travel is neccessary for that reason too.
  6. As regards congestion. Drive into your town or city when the schools are on holiday. The "school run" is the biggest single cause of congestion.
  7. Make travelling more expensive, either by toll roads or by increased fuel taxes, and more and more people will simply not be able to afford to go to work.  i used to commute 160 milers a day - at todays fuel costs I simply wouldnt be able to afford it, I'd be better off on the dole.
  8. Last, but by no means least, people are growing increasiungly sick of "big brother" and knowi8ng that a black box in their car was logging every inch they drove, would be a step too far.

Road tolls is not the way forward Nor is public transport. .

  

Flying Scotsman's picture

Transport

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

R2 D2 wrote:

There are some unrealistic comments above.

  1. Like it or not our economy is based on the combustion engine.
  2. Publicf transport simply doesn't get people to work as it runs at the wrong time and to the wronmg places.
  3. More & more we have a 24 hour economy, but 'public transport ceases from 11-7 in most places.
  4. people no longer work 9-5 on one site, and need their own transport often for work.
  5. Families are now spread all over the country, so increased travel is neccessary for that reason too.
  6. As regards congestion. Drive into your town or city when the schools are on holiday. The "school run" is the biggest single cause of congestion.
  7. Make travelling more expensive, either by toll roads or by increased fuel taxes, and more and more people will simply not be able to afford to go to work.  i used to commute 160 milers a day - at todays fuel costs I simply wouldnt be able to afford it, I'd be better off on the dole.
  8. Last, but by no means least, people are growing increasiungly sick of "big brother" and knowi8ng that a black box in their car was logging every inch they drove, would be a step too far.

Road tolls is not the way forward Nor is public transport. .

  

1. Agreed

2. It's pretty good in London - it's rest of country that needs sorted

3. Make it free from 11 to 7 and change the habits of some people

4. It's not a panacea and can't cater for everybody

5. But it can be done on public transport

6. This needs money put into school buses or teaching kids the noble art of walking

7. Or you would find a local job and improve your lifestyle and reduce your stress

8. It could be set to record distance but not place or exact time

What do you suggest ? Horse ?

@flying - I would agree...

justsotax | | Permalink

what we cannot do is 'nothing'....so we have to look at alternatives that will work (whether tolls, or any other type of charges) - it must be done in line with getting our bus and trains systems working better (but not just by adding further bus lanes - which remain empty for large parts of the day) - we need carrot and stick - make it worthwhile for people to travel by train/bus/tram.

 

Its not easy but at this rate a horse may well be the only option once the roads are well and truly full.   

Flying Scotsman's picture

Horse travel

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

And the manure could be used to power biomass electricity and growing your own veg. Everybody gains , energy prices drop . But no doubt the government will find a way of taxing the equine emissions , to encourage us all to use ponies instead of shire horses :-)

.....so the shire horse would be the

justsotax | | Permalink

equivalent of a chelsea tractor....

R2 D2's picture

A windy solution

R2 D2 | | Permalink

Flying Scotsman wrote:
And the manure could be used to power biomass electricity and growing your own veg. Everybody gains , energy prices drop . But no doubt the government will find a way of taxing the equine emissions , to encourage us all to use ponies instead of shire horses :-)

 

You obviously haven't seen the research suggesting that flatulance from cattle, horses etc accounts for 25% of the worlds greenhouse gasses.

According to this recent article we could literally go the same way as the dinosaurs .

 

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2140323/Dinosaurs-produced-flatulence-force-climate-change.html 

 

 

BKD's picture

I wouldn't ....

BKD | | Permalink

.... believe everything that I read in the Daily Fail

R2 D2's picture

It can't be proven obviously, but,

R2 D2 | | Permalink

I've seen the figure about cattle quoted many times, and let's face it, if cattle can do that then it makes a lot of sense that plant eating dinosaurs could do a whole lot more damage.

 

BKD's picture

As theories go ....

BKD | | Permalink

... it's a plausible theory. But as with anything that happened more than 65 million years ago, that's all it is - theory.

Flying Scotsman's picture

Flatulent cattle

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

Cattle are certain closer to the way things were intended than the internal combustion engine

Nonetheless I am still highly contented with my gas guzzler and my pocket rocket......Hot happy about the high taxes but I accept them and drive on, making my contribution to the state's coffers.

R2 D2's picture

H2O

R2 D2 | | Permalink

BKD wrote:

... it's a plausible theory. But as with anything that happened more than 65 million years ago, that's all it is - theory.

 

Agreed it's only a theory, but it's one that makes a lot more sense than a lot of "theories" that are treated as "fact" by many commentators, and by governments when it suits their purpose to do so.  Vast amounts of so called "evidence" of climate change is actually only theories and speculation, indeed the existance of climate change as a man man phenomina is mere speculation, yet it suits governments to adopt it as "fact" to justify tax increases dressed up as "green taxes", when in fact they are simply greedy tax increases.

 

The idea that we can somehow get rid of the car, and move back to a 1940's situation where only the wealthy could drive, is unworkable. Our entire society would collapse without the car.  Therefore, the only answer is to reduce congestion by speeding up traffic, and, to move towards replacing the internal combustion engine with some other form of propulsion.

Electricity is impractical, and simply means moving the pollution from the vehicle to the power station.  The one which seems to me to be the most promising is hydrogen.  We have oceans full of the stuff (H2O), and being explosive it vcan be harnessed to drive a combustion engine once modified.  If somehow rreduced to liquid form it can be stored, sold, and used, just like petrol. In liquid form it is no more volotile than petrol, and seems to offer a potentially realistic alternative.

Perhaps our "green taxes" should be spent on researching it.

 

Flying Scotsman's picture

Researching fuel

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

Leave the research to private money - they managed to discover oil and commercialise it

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