back to article Road Pricing 2.0 is two years away

The government's "Managed Motorway" re-badged road-pricing scheme seems to be taking on more shape, with reports indicating that technical elements of it will commence testing from 2010. The Telegraph says this morning that contracts are close to being signed for trials of "Spy in the Sky" car-tracking equipment and associated …

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Tim

Time for change.

Yes, the roads are over congested and it's time for some serious changes. Lets ditch Labour and get a government that can see how much the Public Transport network can improve. I mean seriously, who can afford to travel by train? It cost more than the car, takes longer and is often late. Buses are more affordable but slower. There is no suitable alternative to the car for the majority of the population, and now they want to tax us more for working?

Who gains? The only people I can think of who don't drive are the elderly or people on benefits. Great so the only people stupid enough to still vote for Labour after such a terrible move are covered. And there's plenty of budget left to spread plenty of MRSA through the hospitals and to replace Laptops when they get left on trains.

Oh and given the raises in fuel duty they've been implementing (and occasionally delaying) you'd think there'd be plenty of budget for nice smooth roads...but no they're sub-par because the the money is poorly assigned already, who says this extra money would be spent well.

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Anonymous Coward

Tourettes.

Can some of you moderate your tone a bit?

Other people aren't "fucktards" just because they have a different viewpoint.

Why must people be so rawly abusive?

@Paul Hurst : RED FUEL

You really need to read the HM R&C web site.

"A vehicle that is not used on the public road and has no licence under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 is an excepted vehicle. If a vehicle has become untaxed since 31 January 1998 it requires a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). Such vehicles will be eligible to use red diesel if a SORN declaration has been made. Unlicensed vehicles that do not require a SORN will continue to be able to use red diesel without a SORN declaration if kept off-road."

If a SORN car can use red fuel, then your chainsaw and generator can too.

You lawnmower, assuming you need to drive it on the public road, is also exempt:-

"The mowing machine must be a complete vehicle, whether pedestrian-operated or ‘ride-on’. The machinery must be built into the vehicle for it to qualify under this category towed equipment, or removable mowing attachments do not qualify. "

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageExcise_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_000164&propertyType=document

Even if exemptions didn't already exist, they could obviously be added. Haulage firms would probably be deserving of some kind of rebate as well.

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Linux

@jeremy

I have to agree with your point. If I lived in London or worked there I would not bother with a car as I could hire one when the need arises. I could move closer to my work but then my wife would have further to drive and she has to drive as she is a socialworker.

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@Jon Kale

There was no need to be abusive, but hey, thanks for the well-thought out response and, oh look, it contains a swear word. We all think you're very clever.

I am astonished you really believe everyone is going to change their weekend plans and go for a drive just because a new road has been built. Maybe in 1965: just how old are you? And are you seriously suggesting that people mow the lawn at weekends only because it avoids sitting in a traffic jam?!

Please get a sense of proportion!

And as to your 'people will move and commute' argument - well if they have moved house then their journey has *also moved* to the new road. The road that they would previously have occupied has one car less on it!

Then you give the example of Reading (which has no easy east-west alternative to the M4) and you are surprised that people choose the M-way... How about the problem that I sometimes drive all the way to Reading rather than drive the (shorter) distance into Oxford (to avoid the least car-friendly place in the UK)? As I said, all it does is moves the problem elsewhere.

I stand by my point: new roads ease congestion by offering an alternative route - and unless more drivers miraculously appear it works.

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@Getting rid of road tax - Tax discs

Simple enough, the Government scraps both Road Tax and DVLA Swansea, then issues a new standard for a two-part insurance certificate and a two part MOT certificate.

The second part of each would be a small windscreen mounted piece of paper with the insurance / MOT expiry date on it. (No reason for it to be disc shaped). This would have the added advantage of preventing the the time lag between your insurance / MOT running out and your Tax Disc still being valid. (That's potentially up to a year of illegal motoring). Any losses the insurance industry incurs through producing the new paperwork should easily berecouped as the number of uninsured cars falls dramatically (they being so easily recognised). This would also mean that police "producers" should fall, as they would only need to see a driving licence (they could probably validate the insurance/mot windscreen tickets at the side of the road through the usual channels).

Everybody wins. (Unless you work for DVLA or drive a chainsaw).

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Anonymous Coward

@Jason Clery

>How do you make sure vehicles are safe and licenced?

The same way we make sure they are insured. Besides, the insurers should be able to check that a car they are about to cover has a current MOT.

There's been a trick for a while where people get a cover note, tax the car

then cancel the insurance.

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Paris Hilton

Problem with buses

Is that they're generally not going where I need them to go when I'm going there... Even when they did, it was mightly inconvenient. Whilst in university, I commuted by bus and had to transfer from the main line to a cross-town for each trip and back...normally a hour trip from home and another hour back. Miss either bus and it was another half-hour wait; miss both and a full hour wasted. I finally bought a car when the cross-town got a couple of us to the transfer point and the main line driver (who saw us and our driver signalling him), just left without us and we had to wait for the next bus. Been driving a car ever since and never looked back. Funny thing is; now that gas / petrol is so expensive, more riders than ever are looking at riding buses and more bus lines than ever are looking at dropping routes and times...WTF?

you know why

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Stop

Re: 'New roads will fill up straight away'?

"Unless someone finds a way to drive two cars at once, or there is a huge poulation explosion, it *can*t get worse."

Crikey what short memories some people have.

Remember when they opened the M25 - see that iconic picture of one Morris Minor (well some old car) pootling along it? Look at it now. Heaving it is.

Now I accept that car ownership is quite a bit more saturated now that it was then, but on the M6 and the M62 I can tell you that a reduction in traffic would have to be very substantial to make a difference to the status quo, but if you build extra/wider roads along the commuter corridors they *will* get crowded. The population *is growing* and some people do use the train because driving in is just not a viable option.

As others have said, the biggest issue is not capacity - it is the fact that every bugger wants to drive between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning along the same roads. Fix that and most of the problems will go away. Extra taxation will not make a ha'penny worth of difference to the traffic.

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Why reinvent the wheel

"Automatic Numberplate Recognition (ANPR), used in most current traffic-control systems - for instance the London Congestion Charge zone - is easily beaten by the use of false plates carrying someone else's number*."

.

So if its so terrible why is it used by everyone else with automated toll roads?

AFAIK the Irish system is a badge displayed in the window that you "top up" on a website or in shops like a phone card, read at the toll booth as you exit the toll road. So even if you cloned it you'd have to rely on the cloned person keeping paying and not noticing you using up their credits.

Does anyone have a reference for "routine" use of congestion zone data by the police? I wasn't aware that was the case.

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Silver badge

And I thought only Californians were serious about their cars

Taxes, on driving? It was an increase in the vehicle registration tax that caused our former beloved (yeah, right!) president to be removed from office when he was governor of Arkansas.

Politicians have never met a tax they didn't like (especially liberal ones!).

As for the cost of implementation, this reminds me of the Paris Metro ticket takers. I was told (so it may not be true) that the fares they collected (manually) totaled less than the salaries they were paid. It would have been cheaper to let the riders go for free. With the costs involved with implementation of this mess, the same might be said.

At least here in California, the price of gas (petrol) is going below $4.00 soon (I filled up Saturday at $4.03/gal [32 oz/3.78 liters]. It includes about $.50 in taxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Congestion problem?

A blip, occasioned by cheap oil.

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Flame

Hasn't anyone got it yet

Next year, 2009, VED is being replaced with a CO2 emissions charge based on the emissions your car produces, the year after toll roads are introduced, the Govt then states that it has to introduce toll because it abolished VED in 2009 and the money for maintaining roads has to come from somewhere.

Yet another con trick from the Macfia and I can't be the only one that has spotted it

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Boffin

It's doomed to failure...

what this is, is a two-step tax on drivers. You track users, then you tax them on how far they drive, congestion, etc. Simple. So, when most of the people stop driving because they're getting double-taxed on driving (gas tax, then road tax), a lot of people will start taking mass transit where it's available.

Never mind that this will cause the government to take in even less revenue than before they taxed the road usage. So, in trying to save the roads, they're destroying them (taxing them so much people won't use them anymore). Brilliant.

Or maybe that was their plan all along.

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Ben

and when the petrol isn't popular?

so.. what happens when all these hybrid electric car beasts come along and dont actually consume petrol then?

I presume road pricing is how they want to go, as in 5-10 years it may be the only way that they can claim any tax at all....

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Black Helicopters

No-one will get rid of Road-fund licence

The Car Tax might cost a whole load of extra money to administer, and a move to taxing the fuel makes a lot of sense (albeit with 1 caveat I'll discuss below). Unfortunately, the database they use for collecting car tax is far too useful to the Government and law enforcement/brown shirts for them to get rid of it. The fact that you have to update your car's license docs every year, otherwise you don't get the reminder, and become liable for fines etc. means they can track the home of every car in the country.

Now, from my perspective, I would like to see a tax that applies to everyone on the roads. The Road-fund license is obviously not required by visitors. Tax on petrol at least hits people who visit the UK and need to fill up whilst they are here, but most lorries that come to the UK from the continent fill up with as much fuel as they can overseas before they come to the UK to avoid paying the extra tax. A tracking system will also be flawed since visitors won't have the box in the car. Toll-booths are pretty much the only thing that works from that perspective. Personally, I think the best compromise would be to move all tax onto fuel, but require all visitors to the country bringing a car to declare the amount of fuel they bring in, and pay tax on any difference to the amount taken out.

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Dan
Silver badge
Flame

Didn't Gordon let it be known that he was against road pricing?

Does this mean:

1) He can't control his own departments.

or:

2) He's a compulsive liar who just says something to shut people up for the moment yet carry on regardless.

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Pirate

A Party Political Broadcast for the Labour Party

If we want to stop you doing something, we charge you for it. This is our default position, because the cost of implementing the solution is less than the revenue generated by it.

We don't like you smoking, drinking, driving into town, or parking in it once you get there. So we charge you.

It has come to our attention that too many people are using their cars to get about. This cannot possibly be because there is no viable alternative. You must all be selfish libertarian nutters who watch too much Top Gear and want Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister. How do we stop you? Charge you!

We can't introduce toll booths on the motorways. The longest unbroken stretch of motorway in the UK is the M11 Southbound, between Junctions 10 and 8. It's only 17 miles. You wily motorists would just give the tollboths the slip(road) and end up driving through villages. Isn't this why we built horrible things like the Newbury Bypass and gave Swampy all that airtime?

We can't raise fuel duty, because we'd get go-slows of lawnmowers, chainsaws, generators and strimmers clogging up the North Circular. Will no-one think of the school run?

Instead, we've selected a hopelessly-underspecified technical solution from three worst-of-breed overseas tenders, that nobody except a bunch of consultants even pretends to understand because it involves teh intarwebs or something. Then we can hand over the data to the Pigs, because they're interested in your movements, and the innocent have nothing to fear, etc. After that, I'm sure RCapital would love to buy the data from us, so they know where to build more Little Chefs. Welcome Break too, come to think of it.

Our sincerest hope is that driving becomes so hideously expensive that you'll be forced like cattle onto inadequate public transport. When all that goes to shit, we'll blame the other lot for privatising it in the first place. After all, there's nothing we can do to make it better, is there?

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@Getting rid of road tax - Tax discs

Simple enough, the Government scraps both Road Tax and DVLA Swansea, and issues a new standard for a two-part insurance certificate and a two part MOT certificate.

The second part would be a small windscreen mounted piece of paper with the insurance / MOT expiry date on it. This would have the added advantage of preventing the the time lag between your insurance / MOT running out and your Tax Disc still being valid. (That's potentially up to a year of illegal motoring). Any losses the insurance industry incurs through producing the new paperwork should be easily recouped as the number of uninsured cars falls dramatically (they being so easily recognised). This would also mean that police "producers" should fall, as they would only need to see a driving license (they could probably validate the insurance/mot windscreen tickets at the side of the road through the usual channels).

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@Paul Hurst Dammit!

Dude you keep rapping on about those gennies. So much detail, you must be using gennies for some purpose to know all that.

And for extra tax on fuel to piss you off so much, you have to be using commercial quantities.

So what are your gennies doing? I notice you've avoided going there.

What is it? Heat, light and irrigate a skunk farm? Has to be something similar, where you keep your business exes to y'self.

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Silver badge

@Matthew

If people don't adjust their choice of job/living place etc to match the practicality of motor car commute how come the average journey to work has increased so much over the last thirty years...

If commuting journey time as a resultof congestion or cost as a result of fuel prices increased or decreased then

1) When you are considering changing jobs would the radius of travel you consider increase or decrease?

2) When you consider moving house does the radius of travel from your workplace you are prepared to consider increase or decrease?

There are enough people doing those all the time to make a significant difference over a period of time without anyone needing to move house/job just because of cost/commute time.

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Re:Re: And the next step is...

My Father is German and was in WW2. He was captured and became a POW, never returning to his homeland, apart from visits. He tells me that the UK is now far worse than Hitler's Germany was during the run-up to the war....

I now live in NZ and fortunately things have not yet gone down the UK route.

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Fish

Dear god, there's a lot of selfish opinionated bullsh*t in these comments.

Everyone wants more and better but refuses to make any sacrafice to get it.

Some things to consider-

Driving your car causes congestion.

The bigger the car, the more congestion.

If this was Johannesburg, there might be a reason to drive 500m to take your kids to school.

Not using public transport causes it to decline in quality and increase in price.

There is a huge amount of rail infrastructure that is being upgraded at the moment. (Both speed and capacity.)

It is easy to show that adding CO2 to a volume of gas increases it's heat storage capacity. (We might not know how such a complex system as the earth will respond to such an increase in stored heat, but human activity is definetly increasing it.)

Tax causes growth in an economy.

Growth of an ecomony causes an increase in the standard of living. (there's more money around to buy stuff with.)

You Don't Get Something For Nothing.

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"Least worst alternative"

Would be affordable trains. I'm sorry for all the toll booth advocates, but they are not the reason why French highways are usable. The reason is that train is reasonnably cheap, the railroad network coverage is (was) very good. Unfortunately, France is heading the same way as the UK (trains operated by private companies only interested in rewarding shareholders), so it's soon going to be the same mess on both sides of the Manche/English Channel. That's the way politics works: useless w*nkers taking ideas from abroad, but always in the worst way possible. I'm not in France anymore, but I spent 25+ years there, I do drive, I do like to drive, but sometimes putting my lazy butt on a comfy train seat and sleeping (or working, reading, whatever) during the travel is -surprisingly- more appealing than driving for hours through congestions and villages. If the railroad network is well designed and operated so as to be cost-neutral instead of generating huge profits for shareholders, it's also faster and not more expensive than driving. And much safer, too. Of course, sometimes you just NEED to drive, or it can be cheaper (if you're 3-4 people in the same car), but an affordable and well-thought train network would still solve the problem, methink. Not to mention that for the kind of cash that the Brit gov is ready to waste on PR (with an expected result of approx. nil) you could get a nice improvement of the railroad network... and it's more energy-efficient, too... I overheard that you guys are worried about energy shortage, maybe recycling cabbage leftovers from your garbage bins would not be necessary if your gov did something to enhance railroad transportation...

But Blighty is only half as bad as some other countries to this regard [yes, US and Canada, I'm looking at you: a 900 km x2 round trip in northern America costs 700 bucks at least (lower flight prices, including the taxi to and from the airports) and takes at least 2 times 4 hours (1h15 for the flight, the remaining time for check-in, security controls, taxi and so on -and that's if you avoid extensive searches and your luggage don't get lost). In France I used to do the same kind of travel routinely by train: it costs ~300 bucks, all included (less than half the price), and takes 2 times 5 hours (all inclusive). Not to mention that it is significantly more difficult to crash a train on the White House ;).]

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@JonB

"The same way we make sure they are insured. Besides, the insurers should be able to check that a car they are about to cover has a current MOT."

and how do we ensure a car is insured?

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Joke

@Ben Bonsall

> Driving your car causes congestion.

uh huh, not having adequate infrastructure also causes congestion

> The bigger the car, the more congestion.

not really theres not really that much difference between a small car and a large car, just over a metre between a mini and an x5, and in the nose to tail car parks londoners call roads theres usually about 3 times this separating the cars (as i sail past on foot or bike)

> If this was Johannesburg, there might be a reason to drive 500m to take your

> kids to school.

and that 500 metres was pulled out of his rear when he pointed out that he didn't actually realise that the majority of the population take their holidays in the period of time referred to as 'summer' when the weather is supposed to be better. Its probably best not to keep referring back to his idiocy to save him some face

> Not using public transport causes it to decline in quality and increase in price.

I've been using, roughly, the same trains at, roughly, the same time for over 10 years and more and more people are using them and guess what, the price has shot up and the quality has shot down, so something is wrong with your hypothesis their

> Tax causes growth in an economy.

lol, is that from the tiny leaflet of socialist and marxist jokes?

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Alert

@Can they tell us how they survived the Secret Police?

Yes, my wife grew up in KSSR (Қазақ Советтік Социалистік Республикасы) wow! Kazakh fonts work on 'elRegweb!

You briefed your kids all the time that what mummy & daddy did and said at home was NOT to be repeated to your friends or the nice schoolteacher who always asked a lot of questions. e.g. The family listened to BBC/VOA russian service - but this was rather illegal. You made sure that the kids didn't know that grandma was born in Poland and was vaguely jewish. You explain that mum & dad could disappear overnight with just one wrong comment. After that it was darwinian survival. family actually *liked* living the socialist dream, food was variable, economy rumbled along - not too many friends were arrested, but some. The ice cream & kvass was nice. Politicians were the same then and there as they are here and now!

As for road pricing, I chatted to one of the chief designers of the UK ANPR which was invented for antiterrorism purposes in N.I., and he wasn't exactly in favour of road charging. New roads always generate extra traffic. Look at the 'new empty' roads after the London CC, isn't it true that they are now back to the old peaks? just most ppl are paying. There was an article in New York Times about the near-future car integrated Navigation systems which deny the option to start the car unless a valid signal is achieved.

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Unhappy

A lot of missed point of road fund licence

NO, it was never really for the roads, it's a licence to use your car on public roads.

Also it gives plod a good idea that your out of date one means you have no MOT, Insurance etc....having your car totalled by a knob end without a licence is an eye opener, believe me....and they get 3 months suspended and a holiday abroad from the local magistrate while I got SFA and 16 months of court costs trying to get the cost of my car from someone who adminted he'll never get a job cos he'd have to pay rent and stuff.

keep road fund licences, least you know your car is safe

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@JimC

"If people don't adjust their choice of job/living place etc to match the practicality of motor car commute how come the average journey to work has increased so much over the last thirty years...

If commuting journey time as a resultof congestion or cost as a result of fuel prices increased or decreased then

1) When you are considering changing jobs would the radius of travel you consider increase or decrease?

2) When you consider moving house does the radius of travel from your workplace you are prepared to consider increase or decrease?"

Jim, that would be because you forgot

3) You don't have a choice of changing jobs when they outsource you

4) You don't have a choice when they move to the business park out of town

5) You don't have a choice when they close up shop

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Flame

cycle lanes

"Cycle lanes should be at least as wide as a bike, as opposed to the 2ft-wide excuses for cycle lanes that you occasionally could find if looking closely at certain places around here."

"Not sure what sort of bike you ride, but i've never seen a 2ft wide one before :)"

Unfortunately the sort of people who design these things don't ride bikes, and therefore they end up designing cycle lanes unsuitable for the purpose.

People tend to forget that sat atop the narrow frame of the pushbike are a variety of wide human beings - most of whom are around 2ft or wider shoulder to shoulder.

Another thing that annoys me immensely about cycle lanes, is that its assumed that cycles all travel at the same speed and are happy to blissfully potter about in single file in their nice safe cycle lane.

Um, NO!! cyclists need room to pass other cyclists - a lot of people do muck about a 2mph in rush hour, while others may either be late for work or simply putting some effort into their bike ride for fitness reasons. I tend to fall into the latter category, and to be able to move along at a reasonable pace (20mph is no problem) I find myself obliged to avoid cycle lanes and take my chances with the busses, u-turning taxis and articulated lorries on the main road.

The special high kerbing proposed by Mr Brian Paddick supposedly to keep cyclists safe from cars are in fact a barrier to cycling because they bottleneck the cycle traffic into these stupid narrow lanes.

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Flame

@Stu Reeves

Totally agree with you there mate, you've hit one of the nails on the head.

I used to work in a school as support staff (IT) - unlike the poor "underpaid" teachers I was there pretty much year round - during the school holidays my commute was just shy of 15 minutes by car, during term time it went up to 40 minutes (and the number of bad drivers increased exponentially).

At 8:50am and 3:30pm the road outside the school was reduced to practically a single lane for 200m in each direction, never mind the double yellow lines and the no stopping signs. If you were lucky you could drive past the school without meeting someone coming the other way and having to reverse until you found a space to let them pass.

This was a upper school with roughly 1100 students in an inner city area - served by good public transport - and yet the majority of students were brought by car everyday. You can't use the argument of "5yr olds can't be put on buses" when the youngest students are 12.

If you need to be at work at 9, then put your kid on the bus at 8:30, it's win-win for parents and kids, kids get some independence, and parents get to work less stressed and without having fist fights with other parents outside the school because they've been parked in (yep, I've seen it happen).

Easiest solution is dedicated school buses and catchment areas for schools. Don't like the school your kid has to go to, tough shit, it'd help even out the standard of teaching too.

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Stop

Jammed

If GPS is used for road pricing, it wont be the motorways that are jammed, but the GPS. The signals from the satellites are extremely weak, and a very low powered transmitter can block the signal over a large area. Its enviable this will be done to defeat the system, but will also have the side effect of denying other GPS uses, such as for road and air navigation.

The governments tax and surveillance nightmare could send us all back to the navigation stoneage in to the bargain, it needs to be resisted at all costs.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jason Clery

>and how do we ensure a car is insured?

That was actually my point, there's no marker for it now.

It was in response to :-

>How do you make sure vehicles are safe and licenced?

Licenced is only a requirement for paying the tax, so it can't be a reason for it. You can;'t require a licence because otherwise you wouldn't know if there was a licence. That's just daft.

So it's the MOT, and how do you know a car has an MOT? By the tax disc? But the tax disc only shows that the car had an MOT when it was taxed, it could have expired the following day. It's a job better done by the insurance companies who have a vested interest in knowing that cars are safe to drive.

The insurance database can provide the details of where everyone lives as well. As someone who moves a lot, my car is often taxed at a place I haven't lived for a while because there's no need to update it. The insurance co know where I am though.

If the police checked plates more thoroughly then the uninsured, unlicensed and unMOT'd cars would get picked up.

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Stop

@Ben Bonsall

>The bigger the car, the more congestion.

simplyfied, that.

A Peugeot 807 carrying 8 causes 4.8m of solid congestion with a fuel consumption of around 30 mpg. A fleet of Smarts carrying 8 causes (4*3m +safety distance of 3*2m =)18m of solid congestion at ~(70/4=)17.5 mpg. Or do I get the calcs wrong here?

Of course it's not true, but not anymore untrue than your's, Ben.

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Dead Vulture

Wow, I can't believe the Government of England can...

get away with surviellence like this and Phorm.

I suppose once it's implemented there it will only be a matter of time before it comes here, Canada.

Beware obvious statement ahead: There is something fundamentally wrong with our political systems and those who are elected to "run" them. I have become so cynical that I believe most politicians are in the pockets of big business and/or are so stupid/guilible that anything "technical" can be foisted on them as a great plan. Or at least that can be used as an excuse when they are pushed for explanations as to how the system is used in a way they never intended. Lack of foresight and consequences are OK if you're a politician.

I don't know how citizenry of England will stop this from proceeding. Where does the Phorm debate stand at present? asking as I have lost track, last I read that appeared to be going ahead

Dead Vulture as that is the present direction of our freedoms

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Silver badge
Pirate

And easily hacked system?

Assuming this system is built, the cars fitted with it are certain to have some means of reporting units which fail to get a GPS (or rather Galileo, since this is the system that will be used) lock for a set period of time. People owning these units will then get a visit from Plod for tax evasion.

So, this therefore give a very easy attack vector for a small terrorist cell to try. All they have to do is disrupt the Galileo signal over an area or length of motorway at rush hour (lots of small, synchronised jammers are better than one big one here) and then all those cars GPS units will lose lock on the satellites, and report this back to Big Brother control.

Hundreds of completely innocent motorists will then get victimised and oppressed by the Government without the terrorists ever really needing to do anything, and given the ability of petty bureaucrats to bully, oppress and generally make people miserable they are going to be way more effective than any terrorist cell could be.

This trick could then be repeated several times around the country, especially if the terrorist cell is careful not to do it twice in rapid succession in the same police area. After a while the trick would get found out, but in the mean time the Government could be made to look extremely evil indeed.

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How about we Toll the Trains and Busses as well

I think that people who use trains and/or the tubes should have to pay a tax at every station they stop at.

And bus passengers should have to pay a tax every time they use a bus lane.

The Government does not know how to run public transport (umungst other things like the NHS etc...) and therefore cannot grumble when we all revert to using cars. All of this is just a ploy to look good at the 2012 games. It has nothing to do with the benefit of the UK peasants.

It costs me 50p of Diesel to get into london. And £20 to go standing in a Train, why o why should I have to put up with a crap public service!

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@ Andreas Koch

Nicely put.

This would appear to be the same argument Boris must have used recently against the 'Bendy-Bus' and in favour of the good ol' Routemaster.

IE Routemaster = more passengers/foot than 'Bendy-Bus', therefore Routemaster generates less congestion. Not to mention greater manoeuvrability in London's streets.

The really scary thing is that BJ seems to have a grip on reality!

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cycle lanes

you gotta be nuts to use them, what with the knife wielding yobbo scumbags they let walk about.

Time for a national strike for two days, lets show 'em who is in charge

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Anonymous Coward

@AC "Speeding"

Speeding is breaking the law, if you break the law you are taking the risk of being caught. What does it matter what means they use to catch you? If you get caught by an accurate means then you are bang to rights. If you don't want to get caught speeding, don't break the speed limit. Simple.

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@andreas koch

"A Peugeot 807 carrying 8 causes 4.8m of solid congestion with a fuel consumption of around 30 mpg. A fleet of Smarts carrying 8 causes (4*3m +safety distance of 3*2m =)18m of solid congestion at ~(70/4=)17.5 mpg. Or do I get the calcs wrong here?"

And a Peugeot 807 carrying one person causes 4.8m of congestion and 30mpg pollution.

A single smart car carrying one person causes 3m of solid congestion at 70mpg.

Your calculations were based on the fallacious decision that the cars would be full to capacity, in contravention of the evidence that cars are mostly single-occupancy.

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Alert

Time for a national strike for two days, lets show 'em who is in charge

And just what percentage of the populace do you really think will do that.

This is why Thatcher was so intent on getting as many people as possible onto the 'property ladder'. Once the vast majority of the prols have succumbed to the message that you're nothing unless you own your own home (and are mortgaged to the hilt) then the fear of loosing *their* home will help to keep the prols in line.

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re: cycle lanes

""Not sure what sort of bike you ride, but i've never seen a 2ft wide one before :)"

Unfortunately the sort of people who design these things don't ride bikes, and therefore they end up designing cycle lanes unsuitable for the purpose.

People tend to forget that sat atop the narrow frame of the pushbike are a variety of wide human beings - most of whom are around 2ft or wider shoulder to shoulder."

They also forget that cycling is basically falling off sideways at alternate sides.

Cycle through a puddle. Watch the tire tracks. That wobble is you falling from one side to the other, this falling causing the cycle to describe a circle because of the partial gravitational force towards the inside of that circle. But cycling in a circle causes a centripetal acceleration that puts you up right (because it is an acceleration away from the centre of the circle). This puts you back upright.

Then, because you've moved slightly off to one side of your intended course, you tend toward the other side.

And so you continue forward.

This requires that there be sufficient room for this falling to occur else you hit an obstruction and fall off permanently.

Note also: cars are about 5 ft wide, But for roads, there's about 8ft per side for traffic. 6ft would be enough, but you'd have to be a much better driver to cope at normal speeds with that much gap either side and NOT have an accident.

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Anonymous Coward

re: cycle lanes

The problem with bike lanes is that, well, it's not exactly the driest of countries is it?

So when it's pissing it down and the bus still doesn't go anywhere near where you

need to go, how do you get to work?

There's the turning up for work dripping with sweat thing which isn't exactly pleasant.

>Cycle through a puddle. Watch the tire tracks. That wobble is you falling...

...off? It's very hard to balance whilst watching your own tracks.

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@JimC

>If people don't adjust their choice of job/living place etc to match the practicality >of motor car commute how come the average journey to work has increased so >much over the last thirty years...

So are you saying that everyone moves house solely because a new road is built? I think you'll find that other factors are involved in where people choose to live and how they commute...

And to answer your questions: In my case, when I changed jobs the radius of travel decreased because I wanted a shorter commute and to be home in time to see my kids before they went to bed. When I moved house it was to find a larger home at an affordable price: the travel radius barely altered.

Nobody wants to sit in a queue and, over time, people will (if they have the option and all other factors are equal) move to places with an easier, quieter journey. People only choose a congested route if there is no better viable alternative (such as through redundancy or overpriced property). That would contribute to the effect you describe but not the act of road-building itself.

The same social manipulation that is being attempted to introduce road pricing is similar to the idea of putting speed humps on alternative routes or, as in London, re-phasing traffic lights, making bus lanes operate 24/7 and removing the cut-in bus stops. Funnily enough this has made the congestion as bad as it was before the charging was introduced.

I have no objection to encouraging people out of their cars by making the alternatives *better* - but all we ever see is Government and councils trying to make driving as bad as the alternatives.

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Thumb Up

Road pricing is long overdue and the only clear solution

Road pricing is long overdue and has been advocated by transport experts for decades. The problem is that the government won't accept their advice because it's politically difficult. When combined with hypothecation of revenues (as is the case in London), and replacement of fuel tax, it ought to be politically acceptable - alternatives to the car will become better funded, leading to more use, more revenue and thus a beneficial cycle. The current fuel tax 'solution' leads to the ridiculous situation that someone driving through an uncluttered country road pays the same tax as someone driving through the centre of a congested city - with all the externalities that causes.

People need to face the fact that only radical solutions will get us out of our cars, and that means both carrots *and* sticks.

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@ Road pricing is long overdue and the only clear solution

"Road pricing is long overdue and has been advocated by transport experts for decades. The problem is that the government won't accept their advice because it's politically difficult. When combined with hypothecation of revenues (as is the case in London), and replacement of fuel tax, it ought to be politically acceptable - alternatives to the car will become better funded, leading to more use, more revenue and thus a beneficial cycle. The current fuel tax 'solution' leads to the ridiculous situation that someone driving through an uncluttered country road pays the same tax as someone driving through the centre of a congested city - with all the externalities that causes."

No, it doesn't.

If the country road is clear, then the driver will be doing around 60mph, the almost perfectly fuel efficient speed (IIRC, that is 56mph). However the person in the congested town will be driving slower, sometimes be stopped, be involved in stop/start driving and lots of gear changes, all of which will use more fuel and so they will be comesurately taxed.

Similarly, if the drive into town is done earlier/later, when the roads are less congested, you'd use less fuel and be taxed less.

As for the school run, as many have said, have dedicated buses (a la the USA), which negates that need. Personally, I walked to school for my entire primary school years, with my older brother from the age of 6/7, which was in Surrey and involved crossing a major A road - however, we used the pedestrian crossing, which made it safe to do so.

The reason the roads around school are so dangerous is because of the number of parents who cant trust their children to get to school on their own - you yourselves cause the problem you are seeking to avoid by driving. Here in central Edinburgh, the most prevalent school kids on the buses are from the private schools, the ones going to the state schools get driven by parents; makes you think.

Yes, roads are dangerous, so why don't we teach children not to walk on them ?? I seem to remember that that was the thrust of advertising when I was a kid (Darth Vader as the green cross code man, Tufty club etc etc).

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Go

GPS Tracking

I knew investing in all those car gps jammers would come in handy

See you in the fast lane :)

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JonB

">Cycle through a puddle. Watch the tire tracks. That wobble is you falling...

...off? It's very hard to balance whilst watching your own tracks."

No need, JonB. A more intelligent person would get off the bike and look at the WET TRACKS made.

This is why I said "cycle through a puddle". A source of water that your cycle tires will pick up and distribute on the dry (and lighter coloured because of it) road/path and leave a damp (and therefore darker coloured because of it) track.

Inspection of said track will show you where your tires went.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

Consider your use of the verb "watch".

One watches dynamic things, like a television, a bike making tracks or a donkey one "looks" at static things.

When you go to a gallery, you wouldn't say that you "watch" the paintings would you?

Besides, the tracks only wobble if you're pedalling, any sensible person lifts their feet from the pedals whilst travelling through a puddle or they get their feet wet.

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JonB

Consider the wordS "watch the tracks".

Not "watch the wheel".

But most of your "intelligence" is used up picking words out of context, isn't it JonB. Anything to make sure that YOU ARE NEVER WRONG.

'cos "little JonB" will wither and die if you ever consider saying "oops. my mistake".

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