Why sharing of road-user charging data holds the key to eliminating traffic jams…
The biggest stories in the transportation industry over the past decade have focused on tech innovation, how ride-sharing apps and autonomous vehicles will change the future of mobility. At the same time, road-user charging (RUC) has experienced a similar but less heralded transformation. Solutions such as electronic tolling and Internet of Things devices have changed the way RUC is designed and collected, and valuable data is now available from each node in the RUC ecosystem.
While agencies and operators sit on this wealth of data, the industry as a whole has not yet made efficient use of these new technologies. Road user data is often siloed within individual agencies or even within specific RUC functions, even though the end-users are the same people. This siloed data prevents the broader transportation industry from putting the pieces together and forming a complete picture of the transport habits of anonymised individuals.
If transportation agencies can break out of these silos and find a means to securely share user data, it will be possible to apply this information to challenges on a macro level. With a high-level picture of user habits, agencies can adjust incentives to redirect traffic flows and make the entire system more efficient. Agencies within a region can go a step further through technological integration by creating a single account for transactions – making life simple for both the consumers and the agencies themselves.
Collecting big data and making it available throughout an organisation opens the door to improvements across the board. In major cities like Los Angeles and Melbourne, centralised transportation departments oversee public transit, tolling and road use, providing them with additional levers to optimise traffic across the entire ecosystem. If agencies and governments can take an ambitious, open approach to their data, they’ll be able to deliver a more efficient and equitable experience for their customers.