Having a tiered pricing structure for toll charges is something that certainly makes sense, but is not implemented ubiquitously even in more developed countries. That said, steps are being taken to provide road users with a fairer tolling experience, with Italian tolls set to undergo price restructuring.
Naturally, it would make sense for a heavy-duty vehicle to carry more load than, say, a smaller, more fuel-efficient naked bike. The heavy vehicle not only causes more wear and tear on the road, but it also takes up more space and produces more emissions. This is why Autostrade per l’Italia, the largest toll motorway operator in Italy, is working on an overhaul of the toll tariff structure. Currently, motorcycles, cars, SUVs and trucks all pay the same amount for using toll roads. Robert Tomasi, CEO of Autostrade per l’Italia wants to change this in order to streamline toll charges and make them fairer for all road users.
The company seeks to consider factors such as vehicle size, emissions and number of wheels to determine a tiered system for toll road pricing in the country. This could, in this case, mean that motorcycles will be charged significantly less, because they are the least polluting, the lightest and take up the least space. There is a challenge, however, as developments in the toll lane infrastructure are required to effectively implement the new pricing structure. “A network with the necessary infrastructure is needed to recognize the vehicle and apply the most appropriate rate, whether it’s a motorcycle or a truck,” says Tomasi.
In addition to prioritizing the pricing structure of toll motorways according to the type of vehicle, the Transport Commission also plans to deploy a cash-back principle aimed at adjusting tolls according to traffic. Autostrade per l’Italia is set to run an experiment from March 15 to test license plate reading technology that automatically adjusts toll charges and immediately notifies the user. It is expected that around one million road users will benefit from this new principle.