Innovations in transport policy are seeding innovations in the technologies used for Electronic Payment Systems (EPS) and their applications. For example:
Other changes are a consequence of technological progress. Interoperability means that a Method of Payment (MOP) may be used for more services in a greater number of locations. Interoperability also paves the way for 3rd party payment service providers, allowing road operators and public transport operators to focus on their main business of improving the delivery efficiency of their own transport services (See Intelligence in Transport).
Technologies that enable data storage and secure communications also enable improved process accuracy, integrity and auditability – critical components of any EPS. Advances in mobile telephony include increased geographic coverage and the emergence of smart phones, with new communications media such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE or Bluetooth 4.0). All this means that more individuals can now access public and private transport services to plan their journeys at any time, wherever they are located, and pay for such services with a mobile phone.
Current trends from developed and developing nations suggest that travellers have never been better informed on the status of the road network, modal choice, expected costs and journey times. The successful and broad introduction of non-cash MOPs for tolling and public transport services have also accelerated the development of customer relations, not previously possible with cash-based payments. The same trends mean that transport service providers are also better informed about their customers.
Trends in transport policy may lead to a radical revaluation of how roads are financed. A nationwide ‘user pays’ policy is now possible based on EPS applied to paying a fee to use any public road, differentiated by Time, Distance and Place (TDP). This approach requires the location of vehicles to be estimated accurately enough to ensure that a user pays the correct fee – and the same fee for repeated journeys. Continued developments in satellite-based positioning means that a vehicle can be now equipped with an On Board Unit (OBU) that will estimate its own position from triangulation with one or more satellite constellations. The OBU determines the section of the road on which the vehicle is travelling and whether it lies within a charging zone.
Recent developments provide confidence that road user charges may be accurately based on time, distance and place in the urban environment as well as on interurban roads. This may enable alternative means of taxing the ownership and use of vehicles – potentially a replacement for traditional taxes on vehicle ownership and on fuel. Trials were conducted in Singapore from 2012 to 2013 and also in Puget Sound, USA. (See: Traffic Choices Study – Summary Report 2013 by Puget Sound Regional Council, available for download at: http://www.psrc.org/assets/37/summaryreport.pdf)
Charging for road usage has been applied to Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) operating in Switzerland since 1999. In future on-board equipment for measuring the mass of a vehicle’s load could enable HGV movements to be regulated based on actual weight rather than a manufacturer’s declared weight. By way of example, regulations that include an allowance for measured mass are to be included in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP), administered by Transport Certification Australia (TCA). (See: Intelligent Access Program http://www.tca.gov.au/certified-services/ia)
Other developments for HGVs could ensure efficient utilisation of restricted routes and loading / unloading areas, by requiring HGV operators to reserve loading bay spaces(See Operations & Fleet Management). This has been demonstrated in the European Cooperative Vehicle Infrastructure Systems (CVIS) project.
Advances in mobile telephony mean that more individuals have the potential to plan their journeys before they travel - wherever they are located - and pay for such services with a mobile phone. Also, as transport networks become more tightly woven into the fabric of our cities, and as roads and public transport networks lead to closer economic integration between regions and across borders, travellers are also becoming better informed on modal choice.
These developments are made possible by increased geographic coverage of 3rd and 4th generation of cellular networks (3G and 4G), the take-up of smart phones, new communications media such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 4.0) and other communications technologies that make efficient use of radio spectrum. Rapid improvements in satellite-based location may also be used to deliver location-based services or more refined means of charging for road use.
Based on recent trials, pilots and studies, the list below provides a selection of emerging trends in EPS:
European Commission (2011) Guide for the Application of the Directive on the Interoperablity of Electronic Road Toll Systems, available for download at: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/media/publications/doc/2011-eets-european-electronic-toll-service_en.pdf
Morris, R. (2006) Fuel Tax and Alternatives for Transportation Funding TRB Special Report 285. US Transportation Research, Washington DC, USA. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr285.pdf
California Department of Transportation Division of Research and Innovation (2013) Preliminary Investigation, Alternative Transportation Financing Strategies, California, USA. http://www.dot.ca.gov/research/researchreports/preliminary_investigations/docs/alternative_transportation_financing_strategies_pi_2013-01-14.pdf
Curry, A. et al. (2006) Intelligent Infrastructure Futures – The Scenarios – Towards 2055, pp28-45. Foresight Directorate, UK Office of Science and Technology. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300335/06-521-intelligent-infrastructure-scenarios.pdf
Puget Sound Regional Council (2010) Transportation 2040, towards a sustainable transportation system, Puget Sound Regional Council Information Center, pp46-49 available for download at: http://www.psrc.org/assets/4847/T2040FinalPlan.pdf
Kompfner, P. et al. (2014). Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems (CVIS) Mobility 2.0 – The New Cooperative era. ERTICO – ITS Europe, Brussels, Belgium.