3 out of 3: Americans prefer tolling

A mini-poll of transportation experts undertaken by Traffic Technology International (TTI) was published in February 2007. The question posed was: “Many technologies have had a positive effect on our roads networks, but which … has been the most influential so far? Of the six replies re-printed two said “wireless communication” and three said “electronic toll collection (ETC)”, including Germany’s GPS-based system. Although TTI is a UK publication, 3 of the 3 respondents pointing to ETC as the winner were from the USA. The other replies were from the UK or Canada.

Since this is not online, here are some outtakes:

“ETC using automatic vehicle identification [e.g. EZPass or the 407] has a daily impact on millions of commuters and results in time savings for drivers, operational savings for road authorities, and reductions in vehicle emissions, which benefit the environment.” (Charlie Mitchell, TMRI)

“…it may help usher in universal mileage (distance-based) fees in the USA to replace the fuel-tax as the chief source of user-based road revenue. With the concurrent advancement of GPS and GIS it will be feasible to charge for travel not only on ordinary highways and low-volume rural roads, and even city streets.” (Kenneth Orski, Innovation Briefs)

“ETC …[addresses] transportation funding shortfalls, finances new capacity, and manages congestion …the use of tolling to enhance mobility through congestion pricing, variable pricing and other forms of demand management, bears out its enduring impact. Electronic tolling has also influenced a great deal of progressive thinking on how we can promote efficiency in the use of infrastructure, stimulate private financing and investment and provide cost-effective solutions to mobility challenges.” (Mark Dooley, BAH)

All this indicates a few good things. Tolling fixes two critical problems: funding and congestion. And Americans now get it every bit as much as the Europeans. To those of you who despair that we can't figure our way out of this, the solution is coming.

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