26 juin 2009
800,000 vehicles affected
The eco-tax for trucks is the application of the user pays principle. The goal is to extend this principle to heavy vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes on main roads other than toll roads,” explains the French ministry for ecology, energy, sustainable development and land planning (MEEDDAT*).
The eco-tax will raise funds for alternative transport infrastructures. But the devil is in the details.
Collection and exploitation by the operator of the parameters required to calculate the tax will prove complex in practice.
The measure will apply to around 800,000 vehicles - including 600,000 registered in France - and 10,000 to 15,000 kilometres of roads. The road network will be divided into sections with different rates constituting the basic tax units.
Several technologies are in the running to implement the new system. For example, the DSRC** system currently used on toll roads could be adapted, but a satellite-based solution would also afford several advantages.
“Using a dedicated electronic unit combined with a GNSS*** satellite-based positioning system, it will be possible to record when a truck passes a virtual toll point. And the data could be sent and received via mobile phone networks,” explains Marc Jeannot, navigation systems engineer at CNES.
Hybrid solutions underpinned by satellite systems could also fit the bill.
On 31 March 2009, a call for tenders was issued covering deployment of the toll system and collection of the eco-tax under a public/private partnership agreement. This means private firms will be able to submit bids.
After a first down-selection, competitive negotiations will begin between the government and selected bidders. An agreement is expected to be signed in 2010. CNES could be asked to provide technical support to MEEDDAT and is ready to help assess and implement solutions proposed.
* Ministère de l'Ecologie, de l'Energie, du Développement Durable et de l'Aménagement du Territoire
** Dedicated Short-Range Communication
*** Global Navigation Satellite System