Brussels, 15 Sep 2003
The European Space Agency (ESA) has been commissioned by the European Union to evaluate the feasibility of using satellite technology to implement a pan-European road tolling system.
The idea behind using satellite technology is to make the cost of motoring fairer by asking those who use roads the most to pay road tolls and higher insurance fees. In addition to a feasibility study, a demonstration of the virtual tolling concept is being carried out in the greater Lisbon area.
The research follows a European Commission proposal, published in April 2003, recommending that all vehicle owners should pay road tolls electronically by 2010. The proposal foresees all vehicles carrying a black box, which would be tracked by satellites relaying information on the distance travelled, the class of road used, and the time at which the journey was made.
Proponents of the 'pay for use' system believe that it would result in reduced congestion and lower infrastructure costs. While awaiting the results of ESA's research, advocates are also monitoring a new German scheme - a tolling system for goods vehicles using the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). The German government hopes to raise 650 million euro annually through the implementation of these new charges.
Ideally however, a pan-European tolling system would make use of Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, which is expected to be operational by 2008.
For further information on Galileo, please visit: