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Road user charging (RUC) is a key part of the British government's integrated transport policy. Whilst initial schemes in the UK may be paper-based, considerable development of electronic systems has occurred during the last 15 years. The technical development of electronic fee collection (EFC) has been largely focused on dedicated short-range communications (DSRC). The combination of an on-board positioning capability, typically using the GPS satellite system, with on-board processing and mobile communications now offers a viable alternative technology option for EFC. Trials in Hong Kong indicated that this approach-generically referred to as based on vehicle positioning systems (VPS)-is fast becoming a viable alternative to DSRC, particularly where there are concerns over the environmental intrusion of roadside DSRC infrastructure and where integration with other intelligent transport systems (ITS) applications is an important feature. The paper describes VPS technology for RUC, and discusses its development in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, the UK and, in particular, the Hong Kong electronic road pricing feasibility study. It briefly describes the INITIATIVE project that is demonstrating aspects of interoperability between DSRC and VPS-based EFC, and summarises the development of standards for VPS-based EFC within ISO and CEN. Finally it compares the advantages and disadvantages of DSRC and VPS for RUC, particularly in the light of current plans in the UK.
Date of Conference: 4-6 April 2000