National Toll Roads in the UK

I found a message posted on a UK riders forum, regarding an event called, "Ride for Rights", taking place on October 20, 2007... ...

I found a message posted on a UK riders forum, regarding an event called, "Ride for Rights", taking place on October 20, 2007...

It's basically an organized protest against the UK government's attempt to establish a national system of toll roads. More specifically, these riders are trying to lobby the government into making motorcycles exempt from the tolls.

So I did some brief research into "road pricing", which is the term that the UK is using. It doesn't appear they have much specifics into how many toll booths they'll have, which roads will have them, and where. Here's the UK government's webpage on Road Pricing...

The government only knows that the roads are now heavily congested, and that congestion is going to get worse. Somehow, they believe that making people pay to use the roads will reduce congestion. I'm not in agreement with that.

The worst congestion happens because of jobs and careers. People are going to, and coming from, work. They're also driving on the job. How is a national system of toll booths going to reduce that?

I suppose it might collect money to pay for new roads, or more subway systems, bus systems, etc. But since we're talking about congestion in the metropolitan areas, not out in the country, I have doubts that more buses and subways is going to relieve congestion. The problem is too many people, period.

In Southern California, we have toll roads, and while they are used very heavily, they still haven't reduced congestion overall. One of the most congested freeways here, is SR-91, connecting Orange County to Riverside County. It's not a toll road, but it does have a set of toll lanes.

There was an interesting article I read several years ago, that as the toll lanes become congested, they raise the toll prices. This causes more people to take the free lanes (which move along at 5mph). As commuters become more frustrated with the free lanes, they switch back to the toll lanes. The cycle continues, raising the tolls even higher. So far, commuters are still bearing the high tolls.

Currently, it costs $9.50 to drive in one direction on this toll lane, on a Friday, at the peak hour, and as low as $6.85 on a Monday at the same hour. (link to toll schedule) The toll lanes run only for 10 miles.

The fact is that these high prices hasn't done anything to relieve congestion. The monies raised from the tolls hasn't built any new freeways, nor provided SR-91 commuters with alternative transport.

What I'm saying is that this national system of "road pricing" in the UK is not going to relieve congestion. As long as there are more people than ever before in a metropolitan area, there will always be more congestion.


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