[Openstreetmap] UK Motorways 100% Complete

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Sat Jan 7 16:16:31 GMT 2006

On Sat, Jan 07, 2006 at 02:44:14PM +0000, Rev Simon Rumble wrote:
> The tabloids howl bloody murder in the UK whenever anyone suggests cost 
> recovery for motorists (or, for that matter, enforcement of the law).  
> That means the motorways are all free (excepting one newly-opened 
> stretch near Birmingham).  The tabloids seem to prefer that the road 
> freight industry (who also don't pay VAT) be subsidised by the ordinary 
> taxpayer.

"galileo road pricing" throws up some interesting web search results.
it looks like the biggest justification for "now we have invested in a
GPS system alternative, what are we going to do with it?"

i guess it has particular appeal in the political economy of the UK
where motorways are "free at the point of access" and all car drivers
pay a flat rate tax regardless of whether or how much they use them.

i read a wonderful, slim 1960's book this summer called i think
"transportation, economics and town planning" which talked up road
pricing as the only really equitable way to get car users to pay the
true social and economic costs of their activity. but if they had to
do that, i doubt they would spend so much time on motorways.

the book was sad in some ways, very "milton keynes is the ideal future".
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Keynes )
but it got me thinking a lot, if mushily, about how congestion works.
in congestion, each person/car/entity imposes the same 'cost' on each
of its near neighbours as it receives 'cost' of delay. i dreamt up a
scheme by which one could reflect this directly in a p2p community currency
system that would never need to know where each vehicle/person/entity
actually *is*, only how congested it is. i am not sure how, if indeed
if, one could extract and convert the value from a system like this:
it wouldn't help to pay for building more roads. but who is to say
that would be a bad thing? ;)

i find it hard to imagine that "the public" would really swallow the
idea of a GPS-powered road usage metering system. there would be so
many loopholes. and it's such a security/privacy mess.

i want to become a transportation ecologist.


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