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Coming soon: pre book your motorway slot


HIGHWAY AUTHORITIES should ration motorway space with an advance booking system for car drivers and truck operators as a way of reducing traffic jams, according to Southampton acadamics.

Vehicles without peak time reservations would be barred from the motorways.

The radical plan will be presented to engineers and highway officials at the quadrennial congress of World Road Association PIARC in Kuala Lumpur next week.

Along with teams from Finland, France and Malaysia, Southampton won the right to present its ideas to the conference after winning a PIARC organised competition earlier this year.

Southampton's team believes road travel slots should be priced according to how far in advance of travel they are booked. Only if there was spare capacity would motorists be able to travel without advance reservations. Those that did would have to pay more than those who booked ahead.

The team also claims that increasingly sophisticated tele-communications systems were unlikely to reduce the demand for transport despite the potential improvement in communication promised by the internet.

Instead, 'more information exchange via telecommunications may present more needs or opportunities for face-to-face meetings or transfer of physical goods,' it adds.

(see Analysis page 11)

The Highways Agency will be using the PIARC congress to promote British expertise in network management and the development of design, build, finance and operate roads.

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