Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drivers to Be Watched Every Mile

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drivers to Be Watched Every Mile

Article excerpt

Byline: By Guy Basnett

Hi-tech cameras are poised to track drivers in the North-East in a system which scans number plates and records people's journeys, it emerged last night.

The controversial monitoring scheme came to light as the five Tyne and Wear councils revealed they have asked for almost pounds 1m from the Government to look into road charges on major routes.

Future measures could include drivers being charged by the mile, or a cordon scheme which levies a fee each time a car passes through designated zones.

Newcastle City Council's executive member for transport, Greg Stone, said the region's Joint Lead Members Transportation Group had bid for pounds 900,000 to examine the feasibility of such schemes. The

group includes Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside councils, and Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority.

He also revealed hi-tech cameras will soon be introduced to track drivers in the region. The system will log traffic as it passes through Newcastle and beyond.

"This is research into possible charging. The system is not there for charging for the moment, but is just looking at how far people go," Coun Stone said.

"We have got the system under preparation.

"When a car enters the network the camera records the number plate, and then when the car shows up somewhere else on the network, it cancels itself out. So we know Vehicle X has travelled a certain number of miles. It means we can get a picture of how many people are doing very short journeys of a mile or two."

Coun Stone insisted any identifying information on the motorist would not be stored.

"We don't know who Vehicle X is, and that information isn't kept. This isn't tracking identity, it tracks particular vehicles to establish journey patterns," he said. …

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