#2233: RollingToll

There is some evidence that setting up priority lanes was one measure that seemed to smooth traffic flow during the London Olympics. People didn’t like it, but it appeared to work.

Now think about motorways. Traffic jams are often created because drivers believe that they gain some advantage by swapping lanes.


In so doing, however, they may have a disruptive effect on the flow -a kind of vehicle turbulence occurs which causes extra braking waves.

Today’s invention is a new form of onboard tolling device. This would detect when a vehicle changed to an outer lane (by eg a combination of steering and the vibration of driving over cats’-eyes) and record what the effect on its speed was following each change.

If a lane change was followed by a decrease in speed over the next time period (or sudden braking) it would be classified as impatience or a failure to anticipate and the driver could be automatically charged eg a few extra pence.

This would inhibit drivers from constantly seeking some short-term speed advantage and make rush hour less frenetic.