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UK drivers set to welcome tolls

DRIVERS IN the UK will not resist the introduction of a road tolling system providing it is efficient and auditable, a report published this week confirmed.

The report, submitted to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions as part of its research for the integrated transport White Paper by transport planning consultant MVA, confirmed that motorway users did not fear the potential invasion of privacy that an electronic tagging system might cause.

DETR commissioned the work after it learnt that a pilot scheme in Hong Kong was abandoned because of the threat this posed to privacy.

Signals from on-board transponders allow a central database to record car movements so that a detailed, itemised bill can be sent to the driver's home. But it also tracks exactly were the car has been.

However, the study found that for UK drivers, the most important feature of any motorway charging system was the payment method.

Although attitudes varied according to who had responsibility for payment, over half of all those interviewed said they would prefer a bill itemising all transactions. The most important thing for UK drivers was that the information was correct.

Richard Thompson

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