Open Road Tolling. The Future for South African Roads?

Electronic tolling is not a new concept, having first been conceived in 1959. Widespread use of such systems followed in the mid 80s, where electronic tolling operated in unison with the traditional tollbooth and boom collection system – similar to the current national e-tag set-up in South Africa.

Open road tolling on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) roads uses overhead gantries (all given bird names to generate a warm and fuzzy feeling) to toll vehicles according to their class and works on a distance-travelled principle, whereby users are billed per kilometre of ‘freeway’ used. Vehicles are identified via their number plates, or if fitting with e-tags billed to the user accounts. I am not against such systems if traffic is in fact alleviated during peak periods and a percentage of the toll money goes towards developing integrated public transport schemes and road maintenance projects. Time will tell. The Gautrain and supporting bus services go some way to providing a viable alternative for car users who travel daily between Pretoria and Jo’burg – definitely a step in the right direction. Continue reading

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