International research has shown that continuing reliance on the fuel levy as the main income source for road maintenance and upgrading is not viable. Technology trends such as electric vehicles and increased fuel efficiency has made the levy “unproductive”. New technology such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and mobile communication is making distance-based road user charging feasible. This paper provides a proposed design for voluntary participation of a distance-based road user charge experiment for South Africa based on the experiences of international program roll-outs. Selected American and European state’s distance-based road user charge designs and experiments are reviewed and a tailor-made program, designed for implementation in South Africa within the next couple of years, is proposed. A pilot project, tracking 18 voluntary participants, provided valuable information about the system’s technical requirements in the South African environment and how the road user charge could be calculated for economical and efficient road user cost recovery. The project involved a website where voluntary participants could learn more about this concept. They could apply to be part of the experiment, and once registered and a GPS device installed in their vehicle, they could view their daily travel behaviour through a mobility dashboard and map. An invoice accompanied the mobility information for hypothetical payment of road infrastructure use, based on the type of vehicle and road used, time of travel and travel conditions.
Papers Presented at the 2018 37th Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2018 Pretoria, South Africa. Theme "Towards a desired transport future: safe, sufficient and affordable".