County could trial pay as you drive

PAY as you drive technology could be trialled by motorists in Suffolk it has emerged.The two counties are understood to have been approached by the Government about testing out the technology which would be used if a road pricing plan was rolled out to tackle congestion.

PAY as you drive technology could be trialled by motorists in Suffolk it has emerged.

The two counties are understood to have been approached by the Government about testing out the technology which would be used if a road pricing plan was rolled out to tackle congestion.

Placing black boxes in cars capable of logging a motorist's movement on roads is one of the options to be piloted by four companies working with volunteer drivers.

But Kathy Pollard, leader of the Liberal Democrat and Independent Group on the county council has voiced her concerns about the scheme and said she would like to encourage more people to use public transport with better incentives to use it.

Terry Clements, assistant to the portfolio holder for roads and transport at Suffolk County Council, said he could not confirm the authority would pilot the scheme but hinted it was likely.

He said: “We as a county will look at anything we can and see what funding is possible.”

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But he said there were other measures that would come in to relieve congestion in the county before road charging, such as increasing rail and bus capacity and utilising the park and ride scheme better.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport would not release details of which areas would pilot the technologies but said the research programme will help inform the work of local authorities who are considering tackling congestion by significantly improving public transport alongside a local congestion charging scheme.

The trials are expected to get underway in the New Year and be completed around the end of 2010 or early 2011.