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Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Road pricing – a green solution to an impending traffic crisis?
A report by the RAC Foundation predicts that traffic levels could increase by 33% within 15 years, due to a combination of population rises, economic recovery and road spending cuts. Unless radical changes are introduced, the result will be increasingly gridlocked traffic, greater congestion and a rise in air pollution.
The report goes on to suggest that a "pay-as-you-go" system could solve the problem. In a nutshell, drivers would pay per mile travelled. There remains debate on whether this will be on motorways only, or if it would be extended to other major roads. Car sharing is another initiative being promoted more heavily.
Whilst many people are instinctively opposed to road charging of this nature, because it’s viewed as just another tax, many acknowledge that it would make them re-consider their journeys and amount of time spent driving.
Regardless of the particular approach to the problem, it’s clear that traffic levels cannot be allowed to rise by over 33% with widespread gridlock ensuing. That scenario would ultimately cost motorists more and cause greater damage to the environment.
For eco-conscious individuals, this is a nightmare scenario – long stretches of roads with cars sat bumper to bumper cloaked in a thick shroud of smog.
Many insurers offer discounts for drivers who drive fewer miles, away from major roads and outside of the ‘rush hour’. It now looks as though the government will be forced to follow suit through some financially based form of incentive.