Revision of the European Electronic Road Toll Service

12-10-2017

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, submitted on 31 May 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Digitisation and connectivity allow tolling without the user having to stop at toll barriers. Electronic tolls are levied by electronic systems that charge passing vehicles at a control point or across the infrastructure network. The vast majority require road users to install special equipment – on-board units (OBU) – for which technologies and standards may differ from one Member State to the next. For that reason, Directive 2004/52/EC on interoperability established the framework for a European Electronic Toll Service (EETS), in accordance with which road users could subscribe to a single contract and use a single OBU to pay electronic tolls throughout the EU. The detailed technical issues connected with the directive were set out in Commission Decision 2009/750/EC on the definition of the EETS and its technical elements. The EETS should have been operational for heavy goods vehicles by October 2012 and for other vehicles by October 2014, but the objectives of the legislation remain largely unattained. Some cross-border interoperability has been achieved, but in the majority of Member States it is still the case that only national OBUs can be used to pay tolls. The European Parliament has called for the Commission to consider appropriate legislative measures in the field of interoperability on several occasions, for instance in its 2013 and 2015 resolutions. In 2015, the Commission announced an evaluation of EETS legislation, which was concluded in 2017 with the publishing of the ex-post evaluation report. The Commission included the regulatory fitness (REFIT) revision of Directive 2004/52/EC in its 2017 work programme (CWP) under the new initiatives implementing the energy union strategy and included the initiative in the European strategy for low-emission mobility. Initially, EU road-pricing initiatives, such as the EETS Interoperability Directive and 'Eurovignette' Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure, were not focused on contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but with time, this aspect has become more important. The Commission presented its revision of the EETS Interoperability Directive in parallel with the proposal to revise the Eurovignette Directive.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, submitted on 31 May 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Digitisation and connectivity allow tolling without the user having to stop at toll barriers. Electronic tolls are levied by electronic systems that charge passing vehicles at a control point or across the infrastructure network. The vast majority require road users to install special equipment – on-board units (OBU) – for which technologies and standards may differ from one Member State to the next. For that reason, Directive 2004/52/EC on interoperability established the framework for a European Electronic Toll Service (EETS), in accordance with which road users could subscribe to a single contract and use a single OBU to pay electronic tolls throughout the EU. The detailed technical issues connected with the directive were set out in Commission Decision 2009/750/EC on the definition of the EETS and its technical elements. The EETS should have been operational for heavy goods vehicles by October 2012 and for other vehicles by October 2014, but the objectives of the legislation remain largely unattained. Some cross-border interoperability has been achieved, but in the majority of Member States it is still the case that only national OBUs can be used to pay tolls. The European Parliament has called for the Commission to consider appropriate legislative measures in the field of interoperability on several occasions, for instance in its 2013 and 2015 resolutions. In 2015, the Commission announced an evaluation of EETS legislation, which was concluded in 2017 with the publishing of the ex-post evaluation report. The Commission included the regulatory fitness (REFIT) revision of Directive 2004/52/EC in its 2017 work programme (CWP) under the new initiatives implementing the energy union strategy and included the initiative in the European strategy for low-emission mobility. Initially, EU road-pricing initiatives, such as the EETS Interoperability Directive and 'Eurovignette' Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure, were not focused on contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but with time, this aspect has become more important. The Commission presented its revision of the EETS Interoperability Directive in parallel with the proposal to revise the Eurovignette Directive.