Charging motorists based on their mileage is inevitable if future traffic problems are to be avoided, according to the RAC Foundation.
A “pay-as-you-go” system could be the answer to congestion, says its director professor Stephen Glaister.
A 33 per cent increase in traffic by 2025, combined with spending cuts and a lack of vision for the road network will necessitate wholesale reform, he says.
The launch of the report coincided with an Ipsos MORI study showing 58 per cent of drivers agreed a per-mile system would make them think about how much they drive.
“Most people are instinctively opposed to road charging when they think it is an extra tax,” said Glaister. “But when the details are explained … the opposition falls away dramatically.”
The report also recommended a cut in fuel duty and road tax, a governing body to develop and implement a long-term strategy for the road network, a guaranteed sum of revenue for the work, a regulator to ensure the work was done efficiently and more reliable journey times and compensation for delays
In 2005, the then transport secretary Alistair Darling backed a plan to force motorists to pay £1.30 a mile to drive on Britain’s busiest roads.