Traffic congestion pricing methods and technologies

This paper reviews the methods and technologies for congestion pricing of roads. Congestion tolls can be implemented at scales ranging from individual lanes on single links to national road networks. Tolls can be differentiated by time of day, road type and vehicle characteristics, and even set in real time according to current traffic conditions. Conventional toll booths have largely given way to electronic toll collection technologies. The main technology categories are roadside-only systems employing digital photography, tag and beacon systems that use short-range microwave technology, and in vehicle-only systems based on either satellite or cellular network communications. The best technology choice depends on the application. The rate at which congestion pricing is implemented, and its ultimate scope, will depend on what technology is used and on what other functions and services it can perform. Since congestion pricing calls for the greatest overall degree of toll differentiation, congestion pricing is likely to drive the technology choice.