To combat congestion or generate new revenue, road pricing projects have been implemented in several countries outside the United States, including Germany, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. A scan team from the United States traveled to Europe and Asia to meet with transportation officials involved in implementation of road pricing programs and to learn firsthand about their approaches and practices. The scan tour was sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NHCRP). The 10 members of the multidisciplinary scan team included transportation professionals from four State departments of transportation (DOT), one regional transportation agency, FHWA, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and private industry. Based on observations made by the scan team, key project elements and benefits realized in the form of increased mobility and reduced emissions are reported below.
Geographic constraints and its unique political structure as a city-state allowed Singapore to implement congestion pricing beginning in 1975 with a paper-based permit system, later transitioning to an electronic system in 1998. All vehicles (excluding police and emergency vehicles) are charged a variable fee based on time of day and vehicle characteristics. All vehicles are equipped with a dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) enabled device that uses "rechargeable" payment cards to pay the road usage fees. Enforcement is done through an Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system.
The Singapore road pricing strategy is long standing and is also accompanied by costly vehicle taxes and strict vehicle quotas to limit the number of vehicles on the roadways. The longevity of the system has allowed the fee structure to be calculated to produce desired traffic volumes based on regularly collected data and is adjusted quarterly.
- Quarterly adjustments of charges based on routinely collected traffic data and roadway speeds has allowed the government to maintain free-flow speeds for 85 percent of vehicles charged. Speed targets are 45-65 kph on expressways and 20-30 kph on arterials.
- The used of ANPR for enforcement keeps violation levels below one percent.