The smart tachograph - Individual accounting of traffic costs and its implications

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Today, several costs caused by road traffic may either be only roughly approximated, or cannot be clearly assigned to the drivers causing them, or both. They are typically distributed evenly among a large fraction of drivers, which is both unfair and economically inefficient. We have built a prototypical platform, called the “Smart Tachograph”, that allows us to measure traffic-related costs on an individual basis, thus supporting a more fine-granular charging of the responsible parties. Sensors observe the manner and circumstances in which a vehicle is driven, while several accounting authorities can evaluate this information and charge motorists on a pay-per-use basis. The Smart Tachograph offers valuable insights for the deployment of future ubiquitous computing services in general: its implementation has obvious requirements in terms of security and privacy; its deployment model is realistic through the strong economic incentives it offers; and its usage directly affects core societal values such as fairness and trust. This paper summarizes our design considerations and discusses the feasibility and wider economic and societal implications of fielding such a system.

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