Holland to tax road users with help from NXP, IBM

  • 28-Jul-2009 11:58 EDT
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NXP’s tamper-proof module will send GPS data so drivers can be charged for road usage.

The telematics field is beginning to transform the way some governments are charging for vehicle ownership and activity. NXP and IBM have teamed up to devise a system that lets The Netherlands charge drivers for their road usage.

The Dutch government hopes to reduce traffic congestion and pollution while passing costs to those who drive the most and reducing them for drivers who do not travel many miles. The plan, called Road User Charging, will replace motor vehicle tax and the purchase tax.

Higher fees will be charged in congested areas and during rush hours, which should help reduce traffic jams. The plan’s developers say it should reduce overall fees for more than half the drivers in Holland. The program will begin in 2011 for truck traffic, phasing in from 2012 to 2016 for passenger cars.

NXP has developed a module that will be attached to the vehicle’s windshield, housing a GPS receiver and a transmitter. It will send information to IBM servers that will determine how far the vehicle has been driven and what charges to apply for those miles. Proponents say that will bring many benefits.

“The Netherlands wants to reduce congestion and high taxes on cars by charging users for every kilometer they drive, with varying amounts depending on time and the pollution level of the car,” said Maurice Geraets, Senior Director for NXP. “This is a more green way of thinking, and it lets the government charge people for real usage.”

NXP’s Automotive Telematics On-board unit Platform includes data for a specific vehicle. “The package on the windscreen has a central chip that handles GPS, wireless communications for the cell phone, and a secure, encrypted system that can’t be manipulated,” Geraets said.

The package can be attached to the inside of a windshield so it can be installed on any vehicle without requiring a mechanic or technician. The package is designed so that the device will be disabled if it is removed. A tampering alert will be sent to the main servers.

Those IBM servers are similar to those used in cities such as London, Singapore, Brisbane, and Stockholm to help address their traffic and road-congestion problems. The developers note that, once Holland’s telematics system is proven, it is likely that the connection will be used for other providers that could price services according to mileage.

“This also opens the door for pay-as-you-drive insurance and it lets leasing companies charge in different ways,” Geraets said.

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