London mayor Sadiq Khan is reportedly spending £150m on technology that will enable the introduction of a charge based on the distance driven in cars within the UK capital.
According to a report by the Sunday Telegraph, ‘Project Detroit’ is tasked with delivering a “more sophisticated… new core technology platform for road-user charging [RUC]”.
It quotes a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests showing 157 staff are now working solely on the scheme, with some engineers being paid more than £100,000 a year.
It says in total £21m has already been spent on the project, which started in 2021, but the “platform has an estimated final cost of between £130m to £150m”.
The report states Conservatives at City Hall claim Project Detroit, which could create a single RUC platform for the Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone, could be used to introduce a distance-based charging RUC scheme, otherwise known as road pricing.
The Sunday Telegraph quotes one FoI response from Transport for London (TfL), saying: “The Detroit platform has the capability to be extended and we will be looking to build the system flexibly so that other forms of charging based on distance, vehicle type, etc could be catered for if a decision was made in future to do so.”
However, a TfL spokesperson said: “Any work carried out or staff hired as part of Project Detroit has been in relation to TfL’s existing road-user charging schemes.
“This was part of TfL’s wider work to bring in-house the currently outsourced system for which the contract expires in 2026.
“Pay-per-mile charging has been ruled out by the mayor and no such scheme is on the table or being developed.”
You can learn more about the key trends and challenges affecting senior decision makers who have responsibility for tolling, intelligent transportation systems and road pricing across the world at the 21st annual Road User Charging Conference in Brussels, Belgium on 05-06 March 2024. Click here for more information