Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Road pricing chaos?

Peter Cochrane is a futurologist that I have a lot of time for. Whilst we've never actually met, we have exchanged emails on various topics over recent years and I follow his writings with interest.

he has a sort of Blog (although it is more of a column) on Silicon.com and whilst his busy schedule makes his posts sporadic, they are always worth a read, including the convoluted route the column took to get back to the office.

Today's column is on the subject of road pricing. he thinks that technically it could work, but that a sustained campaign of technical civil disobedience will eventually blow it out of the water. You can read it here. (Also check out his commenters).

Having had a large part of my career dealing with Telcos and their monstrously complex (& not particularly accurate) billing systems, my own view is that the charging will be the achilles heel- it will cost more in managing the huge number of justifiable complaints about wrongly charged journeys. Of course, as it will be run by a state monopoly, that won't bother them seeing as how the taxpayer pays, until the whole edifice topples over with the weight of all the administrative baggage and the politicians get massively trounced at the next election (if we are still holding elections by then).

Imagine the London Oyster Card scheme, then raise the complexity level by about a thousand. I don't even think the national grid has the power capacity to run all of the Data Centres required.

Meanwhile, us law abiding folk should look into updating our vehicles...

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