On 10 November 2021, ITS UK and the Dutch Smart Mobility Embassy of Connekt organized an open discussion on two hot topics: road user charging and active mobility.

What are the uses, the benefits and the challenges with regard to implementation and practicality? Some introductions were followed by a plenary question & answer session, while we also had a lively chat discussion. Thanks to all speakers and participants for a fruitful webinar!

Part I: Road user charging and how do governments deal with the privacy challenges 

Hans Oortwijn, RDW 
In the Netherlands, road user charging is active at only a few locations, for instance some bridges and tunnels. In the RDW-dominant scenario, RDW carries out the monitoring and enforcement role through ANPR. We work with a main service provider. We have a new agreement in the parliament and with the transport sector on heavy goods vehicle charges, aiming for 2026 to have it live.  

In the Service Provider Dominant scenario, the service providers do all registration, payment etc. The only role of the road charger is enforcement. Then the challenges are: 

  • Defective OBU, Mobile Phones, 
  • Law & Decision Rules 
  • ISO 12855/ IT Hub 
  • Reuse, Buy, Build, Cloud 
  • Enforcement Locations. Where do we place them? 

2024 – 2026: heavy good vehicle charge. 

Richard Sallnow – PA Consulting: Context road pricing and charging in the UK  
Since early 2000s, the UK government has been trying to tackle the environmental challenges, e.g. through the zero-tax policy for electric vehicles, but this made a huge hole in UK budget. And another challenge occurred: what could road pricing for HGV’s look like, taking into account the media unrest, and political unrest: can everyone be treated fairly?  

The UK has got congestion charges in London, Dartford and Durham, low-emission zones in London, Bath, B’ham. And some tollroads.  

Lessons: It is important to be customer centric. Schemes have been set up independently of each other. The payment is easy, but you can’t go to one website and use one scheme. If road pricing were central, then we should have a fixed system.  

Knut Evensen – Norway road user charging in Norway 
Norway is working on standardization of zero emission urban zones. Technical solutions work towards the same type of goal, from one platform. While Europe is filling up with various types of measures to avoid air pollution, there is a strong need to harmonize and work together. Another challenge is revenue collection, with the zero-tax policy for electric cars and this amount growing significantly after 2030. 

In Norway, during past two years, road user charging has been a hot political item. The political establishment is pushing real implementation of our project GeoFlow, although we don’t know when it will happen in Norway. We are working on the transition through pilots, e.g. a 200 vehicle pilot in Trondheim Q1 next year. Challenges: Privacy and security, because people fear ‘big brother’. So, we have a fool proof scheme: all data stays in vehicle and users only get billed once per month.  

Trevor Ellis: Charging clean air zones and low emission zones in UK 
In 2008, before the government was taken to court, London already introduced LEZ in a fairly large proportion of Greater London. We now have Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) for cars and motorcycles – charges 12,50 per day to enter the zone if you’re not compliant. Enforced by ANPR cameras (100 extra camera sites). 

Outside of London: Clean Air Zones. You must buy a permit for that day. Enforcement by ANPR systems. One central system that provides a vehicle checker – it takes payments for all CAZ’s in England. CAZ local authorities carry out enforcement. Charges from 8 to 100 per day. Registration system for non-UK vehicles coming soon. 

There is plenty of evidence that these zones are very effective, but they are deeply unpopular.  


  • Security certificate part: 
    Extension on CITS cybersecurity – now applied to area of tolling. We are confident that it protects privacy in a good way. Always covered by certificates. 
  • Road user charging forum overseas inspiration: 
    HGV levy – all governments are wrestling with the financial deficit. The only viable solution is distance–based tolling for all vehicles. We have a greater question around policy than around technology, which is tried, tested, done.  
Part II: Active mobility 

Marcus Jones from TRL  
ITS is a technology-based area, whereas active travel might not seem to need high tech. But: 60% Londoners could meet the minimum of their physical activity needs from walking or cycling – walking 30 minutes a day reduces relative mortality. People who changed from car to active or public community had a relative decrease in BMI of 0-3 kg/m2!   

Linkages with ITS: 

  • Active travel often provides the first and last mile, and ITS could help the mode shift (link ticketing, mapping, etc.). 
  • Safety. Walk and cycle more, e-bikes demonstrate that risks can be managed, supported by ITS. And ITS can help gather data, monitor the condition of highway, etc.
  • Important link with air quality, eg managing the modelling of traffic. Lot of synergies with ITS as knowledge base, eg. 4×4 vehicles are not permitted on roads. 

Roxy Tacq – ANWB, NL – 4.7 million road users are members of ANWB 
Number of cyclists has been picking up since 10 years. Despite good infrastructure, cycling facilities are getting overcrowded. What can be done? In other countries, you can simply take a car lane out and give it to cyclists – but that is not possible in NL> we have done that and there is no more space. So we came up with a new approach [the design approach ‘traffic in the city’]:

  • Make a safe and accessible city for all road users. Cluster ‘vehicle families’ and give them each main network (like for bicycle-like vehicles, light motorised vehicles, etc.).
  • The roads on that network are designed predominanty for this road user family. Other road users are guests in these domains.
  • The design approach helps to make decisions on a network / city scale on which roads could cater for which family.
  • The design approach balances traffic and the special quality / liveability.

Cities liked the concept of vehicle families. But when it came to details – families are not families yet. Similar vehicles (in weight and size) are still treated differently.

More information in Dutch: www.anwb.nl/verkeerindestad.

Alex van Gent – Arcadis  
How to cope with too many cyclists? The Dutch have a luxury challenge.

Next to obvious benefits like clean air, health, active mobility also prepares for the future. Dutch primary cycling education traffic theory and practice: part of the practice is an exam where school children ride a route. Teachers check their performance. This goes far beyond teaching children how to cycle. It is a preliminary driver training, how to identify risks and cope with them? It will make them safer road users.  

Jasper Homrighausen RHDHV – Mobility hubs & active mobility
One size does not fit all. Active transportation, urban regions 5-step approach. 

  • Goal defines what the hub looks like. Identify users – who is going to use hub, what makes them happy? 
  • Once you know goal and users, find the services. You might not need bike sharing scheme, but safe bike parking. Bike repair? Offices, restaurants? 
  • Blend with and add to the surroundings. Make sure that your hub is part of bigger network.  
  • It’s all about the user. Make it attractive. What can they expect? Which modes are available? 
  • Organization: business case and governance. Who owns the ground? Who brings in bicycles?  

Thanks to the speakers! And thanks all for participation and the energetic discussion.