The future of European Road User Charging

Oct 05 | 2022

Gabriel Makki, tolling expert at Kapsch TrafficCom, provides insights into road user charging (RUC) and the challenges the technology is still facing.

Gabrielle MakkiThe number of vehicles on the roads shows continued growth, while the cost of maintaining road infrastructure is increasing. At the same time, new environmental protection and sustainability goals are forcing new mobility concepts. How can tolling still be appropriate in this new environment?

Gabriel Makki from Kapsch TrafficCom, based in Vienna, explained that traditionally, a toll was introduced as a means to recover the cost of building new road infrastructure and fund its ongoing maintenance. “Tolling has also proven to be a powerful tool in shaping traffic to achieve set goals,” he said. “Among those are for example maintaining throughput and reducing congestion and even emissions. This can be achieved by influencing road user behaviour both on motorways and in urban environments. A toll is in fact very effective in that regard as it inherently affects only those actually using the infrastructure.”

Gabriel said that it is difficult to generalize about what the technology of the future will look like, because conditions vary between countries. “However, at the moment we see that the more forward-looking clients seek to introduce tolling that supports true location and distance-based charging. Their advantage is not only greater flexibility in terms of charging based on actual road used and miles travelled, but they also require less roadside infrastructure. This is worthwhile both for long-term investments and for operating expenses - so it brings CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OPEX (operating expenditure) benefits.

So what will be the role of road charging in this new environment? ...

Photo: Gabriel Makki.

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