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Combatting congestion: the role of road traffic informatics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Phil BlytheORCiD


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The new Secretary of State for Transport in the UK has two main objectives in tackling the problems of congestion: first, to endeavour to reduce what he sees as the time-consuming process of planning and authorising substantial additions to the national highway network: and, secondly, to ensure that a significant part of the capital burden of this new infrastructure is borne by private rather than public sources. The first is achieved by the promotion of project-specific Private Bills through the Houses of Parliament, which enables schemes to be implemented without the risk of seemingly endless public inquiry and appeal procedures. The second is achieved by authorising the purchase of existing facilities (e.g. the Dartford Tunnel) and the construction of new ones (e.g. the new Dartford Bridge) by private capital, in exchange for levying direct toll-charges for their use over a specified life-time ( e . g . 30 years). The Government's view is increasingly that sufficient vehicle-users will be prepared to pay for less congested roads built with private capital, rather than continue to suffer mounting delays on the publicly-provided "free" network. Although presented as an extension of the idea of private tollson esturial crossings, it is in effect a different principle and it raises questions as to who should provide highway infrastructure, who should pay for it and who should manage it, particularly in the light of the 15,500 M of motor taxation revenue collected by the Exchequer in 1988.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blythe PT

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: IEE Colloquium on Traffic Congestion - Engineering the Solution

Year of Conference: 1991

Pages: 3/01-3/14

Print publication date: 15/05/1991

Online publication date: 06/08/2002

Publisher: IET