ROAD PRICING: THE ECONOMIC AND TECHNICAL POSSIBILITIES (THE SMEED REPORT)

A STUDY WAS MADE OF THE TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY OF VARIOUS METHODS FOR IMPROVING THE PRICING SYSTEM RELATING TO THE USE OF ROADS, AND OF RELEVANT ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS. THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ASPECTS OF THE SUBJECT WERE EXTRICATED INSOFAR AS POSSIBLE FROM THE TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES. THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS WERE REACHED: (1) DEFICIENCIES EXIST IN THE PRESENT METHODS OF TAXATION, NOTABLY THEIR INABILITY TO RESTRAIN PEOPLE FROM MAKING JOURNEYS WHICH IMPOSE HIGH COSTS ON OTHER PEOPLE. ROAD CHARGES COULD USEFULLY TAKE MORE ACCOUNT THAN THEY DO OF THE LARGE DIFFERENCES THAT EXIST IN CONGESTION COSTS BETWEEN ONE JOURNEY AND ANOTHER. (2) LITTLE ADVANTAGE WAS FOUND IN THE DIFFERENTIAL FUEL TAX, WHICH COULD NOT BE RELATED AT ALL CLOSELY TO CONGESTION COSTS, AND THE POLL TAX ON EMPLOYEES IN CONGESTED AREAS, WHICH--WHATEVER ITS MERIT IN OTHER FIELDS--WOULD HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON ROAD CONGESTION. (3) THE PARKING TAX COULD BRING SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS, IN SPITE OF ITS INEQUITABLE RESULTS AND ITS UNDERSIRABLE EFFECTS IN ENCOURAGING NON-PARKING TRAFFIC AND PENALIZING LOCAL TRAFFIC. PREFERABLE TO A PARKING TAX MIGHT BE A SYSTEM OF DAILY LICENSES, WHICH WOULD EMBRACE ALL TRAFFIC IN THE AREAS CONCERNED BUT WOULD IN TURN GIVE RISE TO DIFFICULT BOUNDARY PROBLEMS. (4) CONSIDERABLY SUPERIOR RESULTS ARE POTENTIALLY OBTAINABLE FROM DIRECT PRICING SYSTEMS. BY CHARGING MORE WHEN COSTS ARE HIGH AND LESS WHEN COSTS ARE LOW, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT A PRACTICABLE SYSTEM IN URBAN AREAS COULD YIELD ECONOMIC BENEFITS FROM REDUCED CONGESTION OF 100 MILLION TO 150 MILLION POUNDS A YEAR UNDER PRESENT TRAFFIC CONDITIONS; AND THIS ESTIMATE EXCLUDES SOME IMPORTANT ITEMS WHICH CANNOT BE MEASURED. (5) SIX METER SYSTEMS (TWO MANUAL AND FOUR AUTOMATIC) WERE DESCRIBED WHICH, WITH DEVELOPMENT, COULD PROBABLY BE MADE EFFECTIVE. SOME OF THE SIX METER SYSTEMS SHOW PROMISE OF SATISFYING A LIST OF 17 REQUIREMENTS WHICH WERE CONSIDERED DESIRABLE FOR A ROAD PRICING SYSTEM. THE MAIN CONCLUSION, THEREFORE, IS THAT THERE IS EVERY POSSIBILITY THAT AT LEAST ONE OF THESE PROPOSALS COULD BE DEVELOPED INTO AN EFFICIENT CHARGING SYSTEM AND COULD YIELD SUBSTANTIAL BENEFITS ON CONGESTED ROADS. A NUMBER OF OTHER ALLIED SUBJECTS WERE RECOMMENDED FOR FUTURE INVESTIGATION.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • 3 APP
  • Corporate Authors:

    HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE

    49, HIGH HOLBORN
    LONDON,   United Kingdom  WC1V 6HB
  • Publication Date: 1964

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 44 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00202427
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 3 1974 12:00AM