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Motorway lane pricing study

The SMMT is to set up a study into the effects of differential lane pricing on three-lane motorways. The project will look at the benefits of a possible 20 per cent increase in motorway capacity by encouraging motorists to make better use of all three lanes.

Road pricing schemes are set to be trialled across Europe with the charge levied on a cost-per-kilometre basis. The charging systems will use a range of satellite-based telemetry, interactive digital imaging and vehicle registration databases to track and charge vehicles according to their road use.

The SMMT study will look at the potential benefits from applying different costs for each of the three lanes on a motorway.

“Typically, we might see a charge of five pence a kilometre for the inside lane, ten pence for the middle lane and fifteen pence for the outside lane,” a spokesman says.

“We believe the effect would be to deter people from cruising in the second or third lane whilst the inner lanes are empty. This type of behaviour prevents other road users from overtaking and wastes motorway capacity.”

Making consistent use of all three lanes on a motorway could increase motorway capacity by some 20 per cent, without building any more roads.

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