Skymeter Corp. of Toronto is “clean” in the sense that it has developed vehicle-location billing applications that make it easy to charge people for parking, insurance and access to congested areas according to the efficiency or CO2-emission profile of their vehicle. The applications are really limitless, and of course don’t apply exclusively to emission-reduction schemes. But so-called congestion charging using GPS technology and advanced billing techniques has huge potential as a way for municipalities to reduce the number of cars, and smog, in downtown cores:
“Congestion Charging means pricing road use according to the amount, time and place of use. It is used as an economic control lever and works best in cities or regions where there are alternate transport modalities – in particular, good public transit,” according to Skymeter’s Web site. “When the cost of road use fluctuates with congestion and degree of use, it sends ‘pricing signals’ to motorists who, when they can, will alter travel times, change modalities, double-up trip purposes, carpool, etc. This behavioral change has been seen over and over and is easy to understand.”
And price signals for motorists are exactly what we need, similar to the way smart meters in the home will inform and influence energy use in households.