Government speeds up road-charging plans

* Hard shoulder toll lanes * Pay-as-you-drive charging * Scheme tested on M42...

30 October 2008
Government speeds up road-charging plans

Motorists could soon pay to drive on motorway hard shoulders in a bid to ease congestion, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

The proposal is part of a range of plans that have been fast-tracked by ministers for a review of the road and rail network to be published next year.

Other proposals being considered include:

  • Building toll lanes rather than using existing hard shoulders

  • Opening hard shoulders to all motorists, free of charge, at peak times

  • Introducing variable speed limit schemes

Variable speed limits and allowing drivers to use the hard shoulder during peak times have been tested in a trial on a section of the M42 near Birmingham, and the Government seems keen to expand the schemes to more motorways.

'We think this is capable of a radical extension,' said roads minister Lord Adonis. 'I was extremely impressed by how it reduced congestion, improved road safety and reduced journey times.'

Should the Government adopt a road-charging scheme, it would be likely to use a system where cars would be fitted with a transponder that is linked to a payment account.