As in many other countries, drivers in Australia pay annual registration fees, fuel excise taxes, and road tolls. However, several issues exist with this pricing system. Registration fees are typically fixed and therefore do not offer an incentive to drive less. Revenues from fuel excise taxes are falling due to increased fuel efficiency, and this decline will accelerate when electric vehicles become more common. And toll roads are seen to impose inequitable additional costs to people living in specific areas.
A fairer system would be for drivers to pay for road usage. This could be introduced in such a way that the average cost to drivers does not increase (i.e. is revenue neutral). However, the transition to a user-pays system is not without difficulties. This presentation discusses a system that would be acceptable to all stakeholders, could be implemented in stages, and which assumes relatively simple technology similar to electricity user charges. Since it is initially voluntary, the transition would be relatively smooth, and it could be trialed experimentally on a small scale.
About Professor Michiel Bliemer
Professor Michiel Bliemer has a Master’s degree in Econometrics and Operations Research from the University of Groningen and a PhD in Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He took up his current position in Sydney in 2012. Besides working in academia, Professor Bliemer was employed for several years at the largest transport and traffic consultancy in the Netherlands and has provided transport planning advice to governments in Australia, the UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He has published more than 250 academic articles and is the editor of two books: Pricing in Road Transport: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, and Handbook of Transport and Urban Planning in the Developed World.
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