The damage caused to road surfaces increases exponentially with vehicle weight. It is no surprise therefore that trucks cause far more wear and tear than small vehicles and how to address this issue is a major concern for roads authorities.
It is very common for trucks to fill up with fuel before leaving their home base and then pass through several countries without having to do so again. This means that countries which experience large levels of transiting freight traffic – non-domestic heavy goods vehicles passing through from one country to another – face a particular problem because the funds needed for remediation of road wear cannot be recovered by other means, such as through fuel tax.
Another issue is that with increasing traffic levels comes a greater impact on the environment. Larger vehicles tend to use more fuel and so have a greater level of emissions per vehicle, and older vehicles tend to be the most polluting.
Both of these issues can be addressed by truck tolling.
Typically distance-based and usually applied only to vehicles above a certain weight, truck tolling has in the past been applied solely along selected strategic corridors and on main roads. This reflected the most commonly used routes by vehicles of a certain type and weight and maximized revenue by comparison with solutions which might look to cover all roads. More recently, technology and policy developments have seen schemes considered which cover all roads in a region or country.
Technology choice is dependent on the type of scheme (corridor or regional/national) but can include Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC), satellite (Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)/Global Positioning System (GPS)) and Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR). Enforcement can be fixed or mobile, as necessary.
The amount a vehicle is charged can be varied according to weight, distance traveled and emissions class. This has the effect of accurately reflecting the cost of the road wear a vehicle causes and also influences the types of vehicle used – by introducing a cost burden for using vehicles which cause greater pollution, it is possible to encourage the greater use of cleaner alternatives. The result is an income stream for infrastructure upkeep and a positive outcome for the environment.
Q-Free has supplied innovative technology which allow national governments to toll trucks on all roads within a region and is a proven partner for solutions that work on a national scale.