Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Honestjohn

Been reading a fun novel about cars: 'Motor Mouth', by Janet Evanovitch, the sequel to 'Metro Girl'. The hero is a Texan NASCAR stock car driver, but the stories are narrated by the heroine, who is a car mechanic with an engineering degree.

In one bit, to stop themselves getting found, they cover a truck's tracking antenna with silver foil.

Now if this works, anyone could do it to prevent their car being tracked by the spies in the sky.

So the gov might have to link the tracking so if it wasn't traceable by the satellites the car would not run.

But if they did that, cars might run into black spots, or there may be interferance, that suddenly and dangerously stops them running out on the road. Imagine the chaos.

Does anyone know a lot more about this than I do?

Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - mss1tw
It's a government IT Project. Do a search for NHS Dataspine...
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Dalglish
Does anyone know a lot more about this than I do?


not specifically about gps tracking devices, but in general you will find that most things can be chipped/ hacked/ cloned/ bypassed when the crackers put their minds to it. ( just as the proposed new super id cards can be).

at the end of the day, all these schemes depend on the majority of decent honest law-abiding middle class taxpayer accepting whatever the government of the day chucks at them.

if we all wanted to shoplift, download music illegally, or whatever, we could easily do so. but the majority obey the law and society survives.

the criminals and terrorists will always find methods to get around "obstacles" such as gps tracking.

Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - madf
The logicl thing to do for car makers is to link ECU to GPS tracking.. But this is easily bypassed.. as indeed will any GPS system.. and if it is an intelligent one - which it must be giving the id of the vehicle, I can see a raoring trade in reprogramming to give false IDs..

As with all Government projects it will be designed and implemented by muppets...
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - local yokel
GPS has loads of problems for road charging. For a start the time to fix can be slow in the "urban canyon" city centre, where tall buildings shadow the signal from one or more satellites.

My guess is that a telepass linked to a number-plate camera could be easier to use, and will be seen first in the UK.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Collos25
The German Siemans systems on the autobahns works well for trucks and soon for cars its proven it works in practice its turn key so the the UK will try and use an unique unproven system cost 20X the original cost to the tax payer and will have so many glitches it will be almost useless they will then buy the an outdated Siemans system.Large IT contracts and the UK do not mix.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - boxsterboy
Much as I hate to volunteer to pay yet more tax to this government, if they must road-charge, it would be so much simpler if they just upped fuel tax - but look what happened last time they tried to do that!

Fuel tax covers everyone and would be so vastly cheaper and simpler to implement, although of course we wouldn't have our every movement tracked by Big Brother.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - ForumNeedsModerating
Couldn't agree more Dalglish. The simple example of car insurance avoidance shows just what happens when a system that has more loopholes than a Norwegian fishermans sweater is used. The 'muggins' effectively end up subsidising the riff-raff & ne'er-do-wells, as currently the 80-odd %
subsidise the rest without insurance cover via higher premiums .
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - No FM2R
>>Does anyone know a lot more about this than I do?

I don't even know where to start with an answer to that.

There are other networks and other methods of tracking apart from GPS. One example which you should be familiar with is cellular telephones - a phone can be
located/tracked, in fact all are, without the need for GPS. Another example would be Tracker competitors and similar (they do not all use GPS). The final solution is likely to be a hybrid. There is no particular issue in tracking a vehicle, or indeed all vehicles, other than the will to do it and the capital for the network.

As for blocking the signal, its pretty difficult to do but not impossible. All that is required though is for a camera to photograph all vehicles not emitting a signal.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - v0n
There is also that european navigation project, Gallileo, was it, advanced alternative to yankie GPS with signal so strong it will almost make cockroaches in basement light up like uranium rod. Well, maybe I made up that last bit up, but it is supposed to be much better in urban areas than GPS could ever be.

Not that it changes the fact that the easiest way to bypass the road charging system will be simply buying a car with foreign plates. Will beat congestion charge and various schemes too.
[Nissan 2.2 dCi are NOT Renault engines. Grrr...]
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Hamsafar
The solution is simple, you pay UNLESS the GPS says you shouldn't be.
The system will be set to normally charge, rather than a fairer normally not charge,
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - artful dodger {P}
GPS road charging will work. Our government says it will work. When it does not work correctly they will say they need to spend a little more money. This cycle will continue until they realise it is impracticable to expect 100% accuracy. As soon as they realise this the system will be unworkable. All of this depends upon no one trying to block a signal, remove a control box, devise a device to send out false signals, etc., etc., etc.

What is wrong with the current system of taxing fuel - the more you use, the more it costs you. It is fair and simple to administer. If congestion is a problem then either build more roads or have a toll on certain sections of road (at peak hours only as traffic will be moving slowly anyway).

Road pricing is a political dead duck. It is only wanted by civil servants and IT consultants. The motoring public do not believe it will treat them fairly or cost them less than at present. Whichever party decides to include Road Pricing as a policy will soon find how much resentment the 32 million UK drivers have towards it.

I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - madf
IF the GPS system uses a pulse from your car to identify it, does anyone imagine how long it will be before organised crime finds a way round it by changing the signal to ideentify a vehicle that is not chargeable?

I would reckon about 5 minutes.

So it's not viable imo.

ANPR linked to road pricing is more possible. Anyone for revolving number plates?
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Falkirk Bairn
Road Charging

We already have a road levy - it is called Fuel Duty and it works - 20+ petrol companies pay it every week in the £00's of millions - big money easy to collect - Joe Public cannot evade it..

It is a fair way of charging - the more miles you do the more you pay, the bigger the engine the more gallons you buy.

Why try and re-invent a wheel that works and with the exception of some stolen fuel everyone pays and you cannot avoid it.

Just look at Local Govt Finance - Charges on houses & Businesses worked - they tried to charge individuals (Poll Tax) and chaos reined - we are back paying on property - not perfect but it is collectable as moving houses (the buildings) is difficult.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Lud
The apparently unnecessary complexity and expense of road pricing as a way of collecting government vig (as the mafia call it) is less to do with big brother, perhaps, than providing employment for large numbers of mean-spirited alienated jobsworths.

A whole new human category is being created before our eyes on the model of the sort of people no one had a high regard for at school. Those now being overpaid to make everyone's life a misery.

What really needs examining is the underlying political philosophy. I'm afraid I can't think of a printable name for it. Any ideas?
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - madf
it's called.
Creating public service jobs. Which means more Unison members. Who pay the political levy.
In the US it's called pork barrel politics:-)
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Lud
Not really madf. Good honest pork-barrel can be kept in line, sometimes, up to a point, by the law. What I'm talking about is legislating a new and not very attractive human category into existence for squalid reasons or none.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Hamsafar
There are at least 3 companies involved in the scheme to track all vehicles for a plethora of reasons, these are Nice Systems of Israel (who have links to MOSAD), Fortress GB of Tavistock Square in London, and ICTIS Ltd.
It is these companies lobbying politicians to implement their 'solutions' not us lobbying politicians, or politicians lobbying the companies to provide the 'solutions'.

What you have to realise is that this is part of a much bigger picture, it is part of a suite of interlinked systems with names like 'Insight through interactions', Harmony, Nice Tracker etc...

If some data is missing from some sensors of the system, the values can be substituted with data from other systems, eg, if your car tracker loses GPS, then the data will be substituted from best-guess mobile phone pings, ANPR, speed cameras, traffic master, CCTV and even satellite video, the latter of which while of too poor an image quality to identify a vehicle, when used in conjuction with the aformentioned ground/local sensors, all it has to do is track a blob between sensors.Just as if you see a car and recognise it by make, model, colour, reg no., if you don't let it out of your sight, you still know its the same car when it's on the horizon and barely visible.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Mapmaker
The reason upping fuel prices isn't the way forward is because it MISSES THE POINT! The point of road pricing is to charge more for peak usage, and less for unused roads. Tractors on red diesel are at the bottom end of the scale!

If the aim is to reduce congestion in urban hotspots, fuel at £3 per litre is much more likely to irritate the rural Scots than to achieve its aim.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - rtj70
Now a GPS chip in GPS devices reports it's position as a series of codes over a serial connection (longditude, lattitude, etc.). So all it will take is someone to create something that sits between the actual GPS chip and the rest of the system and transform this into different positions.

How I'd see it work is real position comes detected and via serial, and then the intercept bit outputs a different static position in a non-charging zone to the rest of the device. End result is you do not pay.

Sure it would be easy to do for someone. Besides I don't think GPS will be reliable enough apart from maybe motorways where there is rarely anything built up nearby to block GPS signals.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - No FM2R
The car will not broadcast its position, it will simply broadcast. Its position will be determined according to the location of the receiver(s). All vehicles will be detected by radar and those not broadcasting will be photographed.

Not totally unlike the existing congestion zone system in London if roadside receivers are used, not totally unlike mobile phones if RF network coverage is used, and not totally unlike the philosophy of a Tracker system.

Which bit of that do you think will not work ? Which bit of that do you think is not currently already in use, albeit in pieces ?

What additional value do you think GPS would necessarily add beyond ensuring that two systems back each other up ?
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Honestjohn
I was in the north of Scotland recently. My phone did not work (out of area) so I switched it off. Presumably a switched off phone cannot be tracked at all. There were no roadside cameras or anything like that there. Though I accept (what I think) no FM2R says that in areas of the country currently under various types of surveillance, moving vehicles could be cross-checked to make sure they were being tracked by ANPR systems. It will be a lot of work to continuously track 30,000,000 vehicles so some peole stand to make a lot of money out of this. Non-productive money, of course, so basically we will all be taxed to put a system in place that then taxes us. I reckon the exercise will add 2 - 3 points to the inflation rate and whoever gets the conrtacts will be laughing all the way to the bank at our collective expense. Hills chip-in-numberplate system might have been a lower tech but altogether better bet.

Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - No FM2R
>>Presumably a switched off phone cannot be tracked at all.

Correct at this time with UK handhelds.

Its actually not much work to track 30m vehicles, about the same as tracking 1. The infrastructure costs more. If one considered a UMTS type solution then one might imagine that the country could be 98% covered for about £450m. Plus a lot of OpEx and project costs. That's not much money in the scheme of things. And of course the government would spend 10 times that, because that's what governments do. However, the government doesn't need national coverage, they need urban and sub-urban coverage - that's a great deal cheaper.

Then you'd have to add the cost of the receiver, installation of the receiver nad future maintenance. Now that would be really expensive.

However, I wonder what happens if you abandon GPS, UMTS or anything else and go with ANPR cameras as per the London Congestion Zone. That'd be pretty cheap, no new technology, a limited amount of new laws and an already proven and known process.

It won't impact inflation, at all.

Like I said, there are no particular technical issues, it just requires the political will and a bit of money. I cannot think of any new technology that would be required. Its only an infrastructure problem.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Cliff Pope
>>Presumably a switched off phone cannot be tracked at all.
Correct at this time with UK handhelds.

I don't see the point in tracking a phone, whether switched on or off. Sometimes it will be in the car (how does it know which car?), sometimes in the pocket while the owner is on foot, sometimes at home, perhaps at home while the owner is off in the car. Sometimes on the train.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - No FM2R
The point was that the technology is there, not that tracking the phone would actually work for road charging.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Honestjohn
If the fitting of the systems to cars will be expensive, say £500 a vehicle, and if the projected charge is £1.34 a mile as mooted, I think that might affect inflation. Not so much for private drivers doing personal journeys. They will think twice about that. But for the convoys of commercial vehicles, including white van man in his Mercedes Sprinter, all restricted to 56mhg at whatever the road-charging commercial rate is. Since they are delivering almost every tangible thing we purchase I think their increased costs will be passed on to consumers. But I may be wrong.


Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - eurocourier
"But for the convoys of commercial vehicles, including white van man in his Mercedes Sprinter, all restricted to 56mhg at whatever the road-charging commercial rate is. Since they are delivering almost every tangible thing we purchase I think their increased costs will be passed on to consumers. But I may be wrong."

I doubt you are. Costs incurred in the course of transportation are passed on. Simple fact.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - teabelly
There is already a way of limiting congestion. It is called time. People will only sit in traffic for so long before they change jobs, change routes, move elsewhere. Once you complicate the market by adding pricing in then you will have all sorts of unforseen consequences. Everyone's time is equal for them but money isn't. Fuel duty is the perfect proxy for reducing travel and encouraging greater fuel economy and going for green aims and its transparent. Road pricing isn't. This idiotic idea is estimated at £60 odd billion to implement! It would be much better to use that money to pay off the obscene amout of debt GB's got this country in and reduce the interest payments on it.

Councils have been told to be anti car and create congestion to fool the great british public into thinking road charging is the only answer. If these prats hadn't introduced idiotic planning policies which has actively encouraged travel ( made them bags of cash in the process) then we wouldn't be in this mess. Town centres are no go areas so everyone goes out of town, you can't work where you live so you have to travel between them, kids aren't forced to go to the local school so they're all driven, local post offices are shutting, local hospitals are shutting. It's a never ending litany of idiotic policies which have made travel more necessary and yet the govt have the gall to complain we're travelling more!
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Bromptonaut
People will sit in traffic for a hell of a long time before they consider changing jobs, or even ask their current employer for flexi time. Peak congestion is not just bad for those trapped in it it blights streets, creates rat runs and renders sleep impossible for those on shifts. And that's before counting emissions.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - artful dodger {P}
Well said, my thoughts entirely.

Road pricing will never be politically acceptable to motorists, so it will probably die a quiet death until another civil servant brings it to life in a few years time. I do not believe we have the technology that would make it work 100% of the time and implemented so it could never be avoided. Currently 1 in 20 cars does not have a road fund licence or insurance, also we cannot stop disqualified drivers from using cars, so what chance doe road pricing have. No one has mentioned how do you collect the money. If you use a credit or debit card to pay your monthly account, then a whole new range of problems arises. Anyone with a brian will realise Road Pricing is a pie in the sky idea that will never work.

The London Congestion Zone has had the desired effect with me. I do not work in London and only used to visit occasionally. This means I will never visit during the week because I object to the congestion charge and expensive parking charges ruthlessly enforced. Since the congestion charge was implemented I have only been to London by car once on a Saturday. Why? Its becoming too much hassle and public transport is not particularly easy from where I live (still involves a car journey and station parking cost). So ultimately I go everywhere else but London. So tourist attractions, shops and restaurants loose custom - tough, blame the system. I feel sure my feelings are replicated by many others.

I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - DP
The reason upping fuel prices isn't the way forward is because

I agree. But so does road charging. Peak time traffic congestion is caused by people getting to work. This is not something they have any choice over, and something that will continue regardless of any scheme brought in to control it. Any extra costs imposed on commuting will simply come out of people's disposable income, and therefore the economy.

The only way forward I can see that will actually reduce congestion is the provision of an affordable, reliable, punctual and integrated public transport system with plenty of capacity (none of which applies to the current system). We also need legislation to force employers to support flexible/remote working unless there is a valid business case for not doing so.

This would provide a combination of a marked reduction the number of commuters travelling at peak times, and a realistic alternative or faster journey times for those who genuinely have to travel.

It wouldn't raise a penny in revenue though, which is why it will never happen.

Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Gromit {P}
I suspect that arguments like this are the real reason for a road charging plan.

Think about it: if the Labour government said "we're going to double fuel tax, toll the motorways and introduce congestion charging to every major town in the UK", you'd all rise in protest and probably vote them out at the next election.

So, instead, they plan to introduce a "fair, equitable system where you only pay if you're causing congestion (or PR blather to that effect) and the motorists of Britain moan and grumble.

Then due to public resistance, road charging dies a death so the unfortunate government is left with no alterative but to introduce high fuel tax, tolls and congestion charging. And they'd have loved not to have to, only you the electorate gave them no choice.

Result: the cost of motoring goes up using simple tax measures to collect the extra revenue, the spin doctors shove the blame back onto you, and its business as usual come election time.

Oh, and two years later the newly elected Irish government copies the plan but doubles the rates. Grrr.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - colinh
"..go with ANPR cameras as per the London Congestion Zone.." I thought these had proved unreliable, and the system was going to "tag and beacon" in Spring 2009
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Big Vern
The GPS device outputs a serial data stream, an example below:

GGA Global Positioning System Fix Data
123519 Fix taken at 12:35:19 UTC
4807.038,N Latitude 48 deg 07.038' N
01131.000,E Longitude 11 deg 31.000' E
1 Fix quality: 0 = invalid
1 = GPS fix (SPS)
2 = DGPS fix
3 = PPS fix
4 = Real Time Kinematic
5 = Float RTK
6 = estimated (dead reckoning) (2.3 feature)
7 = Manual input mode
8 = Simulation mode
08 Number of satellites being tracked
0.9 Horizontal dilution of position
545.4,M Altitude, Meters, above mean sea level
46.9,M Height of geoid (mean sea level) above WGS84
(empty field) time in seconds since last DGPS update
(empty field) DGPS station ID number
*47 the checksum data, always begins with *

So all you need to do is to knock up a microcontoller with a real time clock and a serial interface, record a sample journey on non-chargable / low cost roads and load it up into your new box of tricks. You substitue the GPS device with your new gizmo, When you start the car the box of tricks replays the recorded journey but changes the date time field with the current date and time from your real time clock.

1 small enclosure, power supply components, uC, RTC, EEPROM, Serial line drivers, connectors = less than £10 sell on ebay for > £100....... PRICELESS :o)

And I only read the question 2 minutes ago so well under the 5 minutes predicted to crack it :o)
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - teabelly
Having multiple free journeys recorded would seem sensible along with adding some variability to make it harder for it to seem copied. You could be sussed if you played back a journey when there was a serious traffic jam but somehow your vehicle managed to still be moving. I bet they wouldn't spot it though. Avoiding obvious continuity errors would pretty much guarantee you no trouble. The only way to verify the journey would be to have a supplemental method eg tag and beacon, anpr or cctv to compare. Too many instances where you'd appear on the road but not be logged or vice versa might cause trouble. If enough people did this trick then it would be unenforceable.
Why GPS Road Charging Might Not Work - Big Vern
To a point, my suggestion is just what I spouted out with my inital thoughts, APNR is the killer but hey if you are traveling on those roads a lot then let your car get dirty so your number plat is difficult to read, oh sorry officer I had not noticed how bad it was, of course I will wash it he instant I get home ;o)

I am a big fan of APNR equipped poilce cars, but dumb camera sites only target those of us that play by the rules.

The biggest thing for 'chipping' or working around a GPS style road charging system is that every car would need to have one which means that whilst it is technically possible to pull out people who use systems to get around it, the sheer volume of data means that it is not feasible. Also I do drive to my office and home again on the same roads at the same times every day

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