A Strategy Lever for Road Use Charging: Parking Management by Satellite

A Strategy Lever for Road Use Charging: Parking Management by Satellite


Bern Grush, CTO, Applied Location Corporation, CA


A parking-by-satellite program is described that is designed to raise motorist acceptance of satellite-based (GNSS) metering systems for road use charging, while providing a large and previously infeasible body of parking demand management tools.


There are a number of barriers to the immediate deployment of large-scale, zone-based road use charging as advocated for the 2014 timeframe by the DfT and the UK Secretary of State for Transport. These barriers are technical, political, as well as ?acceptance by motorists?. The technology choice between DSRC and GNSS points toward GNSS. Galileo?s fact of EU control and improved accuracy pave the way to GNSS. The belated success of the German Toll Collect system proves GNSS can work (at least on interurban roadways), while at the same time its expense gives pause. GNSS raises privacy concerns that have a relatively easy technology solution, but still require firm regulatory protection in tandem with fear-allaying education of motorists. Current difficulties with mitigation of signal path problems in ?urban canyon? correctly raise concerns for the management of evidentiary and assurance issues, delaying an understanding of how to make what worked on the German highways work in high-rise city business districts. Meanwhile, mounting congestion and little appetite, or funding, to build our way out of it serves, to keep congestion management ? and road use charging ? front of mind.

Simply put, we are likely going to have wide-spread congestion charging in less than a decade, and we are going to use GNSS for this. What should we do in the meantime?

This paper develops a set of activities and programs that would serve to specifically prepare our motorists and our road authorities for GNSS-based road pricing. ?Prepared? means we would maximize acceptance of these charges and the methods we use for metering and collecting the charges. It would also mean that the project of retrofitting the then-existing fleet of roadway vehicles would already be underway and largely accomplished, reducing the need for large nation-wide projects to fit and test tens of millions of vehicle installations before a tight deadline. These activities are specifically targeted at diminishing the perception of ?tracking? and privacy invasion, improving general on-board unit (OBU) acceptance, pre-seeding a high-level of penetration of OBUs into the vehicle population, and increasing familiarity with ideas of fair pay-per use.

The proposed over-arching program for these activities is parking-by-satellite. A GNSS OBU can be offered that (in addition to road-pricing, which would remain dormant until required) could locate the position of a parked vehicle accurately enough to determine the appropriate fee for a by-the-minute parking charge. Within such a program scope, dozens of targeted parking management programs could provide benefits for municipalities that engage. These targeted programs would address short-term street parking, residential parking, free-but-time-limited parking, ticket-less escalated pricing, expanded parking pricing on less used streets without using curbside infrastructure. The design and deployment of this device will also be described.

If put into place now ? including well managed marketing, enforcement, and discount programs ? such a program can not only erode resistance to on-board metering, but can also develop a large installed base well before 2014.


Association for European Transport