The plan is currently being considered by transport minister Alistair Darling. If approved, the country’s 24 million cars would be tracked using GPS technology, and taxed individually depending on when and where and how much they have driven.
The scheme is just the latest in a series of satellite-based announcements that promise to revolutionise global transport:
The government has already committed itself to a lorry tracking system to go live in 2006. Data will be used to calculate road tax.
- The Department of Transport announced last week that it is going to trial a GPS-based system that will alert drivers when they are breaking the speed limit.
- A GPS-based taxi hailing service called Zingo was launched London in March.
- Bus operators in Yorkshire are planning a £9m GPS-based information system to provide real time travel data.
- Insurance giant Norwich Union will start testing pay-as-you-drive insurance in the summer, using GPS technology to apply risk-based policies.
The potential of the technology is clear but instituting a national system would be fraught with problems, according to motoring organisations.
‘It’s great in theory, but the DVLA records are 10% inaccurate as it is at the moment,’ said AA spokesman Richard Freeman.
‘There will need to be a huge overhaul of all the systems that track drivers.’
‘Security of the information and how it is fed through, and how accurate it is, is obviously going to be an issue whoever you are,’ said Karen Dee, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association.
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