Energy Matters Series: Professor Michiel Bliemer

Towards a fair user-pays system on Australian roads

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.

For more information, please phone Dinah Towle on (09) 923 1636 or email


Proudly supported by the Energy Education Trust of New Zealand

The University of Auckland Business School gratefully acknowledges the Energy Education Trust of New Zealand for their support of tertiary education and research in disciplines relevant to New Zealand’s present and emerging energy needs.

The largest provider of philanthropic support for Energy Education in New Zealand, the Trust funds: 

  • The Energy Education Trust Chair in Energy and Resource Economics
  • The Business School’s Energy Centre
  • The “Energy Matters Speaker Series”
  • Postgraduate research scholarships and research scholarships 

The Energy Education Trust funds a wide array of energy projects and offers 15 scholarships of $5000 each to undergraduate and honours year students at all participating New Zealand universities.

For more information, please visit the EETNZ website.


Time & Date
19 March 2018
The University of Auckland Business School, Decima Glenn Room, Level 3, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland
P (09) 923 4606