GreenIT.fr reports that a consortium led by Autostrade per l'Italia has been chosen by the French government to implement an Eco-tax for heavy goods vehicles on French roads.
From 2013 heavy trucks travelling on French roads will be required to pay a tax proportional to the number of miles travelled. The revenue gained will be fed back into a fund to develop alternative transport modes aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the sector – hence the eco-tax label. It’s expected that the tax will eventually yield more than one billion euros in revenue per year
To assess the tax liability, the length and route of a journey needs to be determined. To do this the government has commissioned a consortium of Autostrade, SFR and SNCF Thales to implement and operate the necessary infrastructure, in a deal worth two billion euros over 12 years. The technical architecture will include portals, GPS boxes, software applications and computing infrastructure (network, data centre, etc) and the contractors will also be under environmental constraints, for instance to control power consumption, recycling of WEEE, etc.
It’s the sort of road charging project that has been suggested in various countries around the world, including the UK. As Greenit.fr points out, though, it may well be that the economic benefit takes precedence over environmental considerations. On the other hand, if it encourages transport companies to plan their routes better to reduce the tax liability and if the income goes towards better transport development, it can’t be a bad thing. We’ll certainly be seeing more examples in the future and it represents a significant Green ICT opportunity globally.