Should Your GPS Be Used As A Road Tax Calculator?

Most of the media coverage of the Henry tax review released over the weekend has looked at the immediate changes planned for businesses and individuals, but it also contains some more far-reaching suggestions. Amongst those options is the idea of using GPS tracking for congestion charging on busy roads.

Picture by tony_rodd

Josh Taylor at ZDNet reports that Henry has estimated that city congestion will be a $20 billion cost by 2020, and that road or fuel taxes should be adjusted to reflect this, rather than seeing those roads subsidised by all tax payers. The review proposes GPS technology (combined with electronic tags like those already used for freeways) could potentially be used for such a purpose.

Congestion charging is often controversial (in the UK, it was widely viewed as a factor in seeing London mayor Ken Livingstone voted out of office). Do you think congestion charging via GPS is a sensible idea? Share your support or your objections in the comments?

Henry suggests GPS for street tax [ZDNet]


    Why don't we just charge by phone - use the cellular data to track people, it's just the same thing anyway!?

    Of course, governments could refuse to build roads and no one would come to their silly cities anyway! Problem solved!

    So can I evade the tax by leaving my GPS off or wrapping it in a Faraday cage? =\

    Congestion charging - its a bit like scrapping the Medicare levy and then charging you $10,000 a day when you're in hospital or $500 to visit your GP.

    Where there is a broad-based community benefit - direct or indirect - then the cost should be shared by the community,

    Efficient transport benefits the community as a whole, not just specific individuals. So the cost should be shared equally. Most people who 'cause' congestion don't do so for the fun of it. They have to get somewhere. Why should a mum dropping her kids off at school have to pay for 'congestion' when she can't really do much about it?

      Why should i pay for it when i don't take my car within 30km of the city?

      It should be like a toll road.. if you want to drive on it, pay for it..

      same as public transport..

        @Adam - you may not take your car into the city, but think of the products and services you use that require transport through the city. You may not pay the congestion charge, but you'll pay in higher prices at the supermarket/petrol pump/etc.

        We're overtaxed as a nation as it is - and we're not getting value for that money. Let's start by putting a stop of political junkets around the world, and ministerial benefits such as cars and drivers. There's a heap of money right there.

        so tolls on the road and free public transport?
        sounds good to me ;)

    why bother with a bloody GPS, seriously? that is overkill and not to mention the privacy issues although it would mean that getting out a tin foil hat might be correct.

    If they really want to move to a consumption method then surely scrap rego and move rego lost revenue into fuel excise based on say 20,000km pear year traveled at a consumption rate of 12l/100km or similar ....

    In victoria our government can't even get its MyKi system working like hell i think any australian government could manage a charge by use on a GPS in every car.

      And then this would be a tax against people living in rural/Regional Areas?

    Fuel tax targets those with long distances to travel.. (ie outer suburban and country folk). Congestion charge reduces congestion by changing people's habits. Avoiding paying the charge will result in more people riding, catching public transport, car pooling and generally doing all the things we're supposed to be trying to do!

    Kids used to ride bikes to school, it was good fun, social and good exercise. Now they get dropped off in massive 4x4's because people like David think they "can't do very much about it", and we wonder why kids are fat!

    What if I wasn't familiar with the city and took my GPS out of my car, and used it as a handheld GPS. Then find bills for walking around the city! Oops!
    Or, more realistically, I remove my etag & gps from the carpark (outside congestion)so they don't get stolen. Then healthily walk to work. And THEN get charged.

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