An influential research paper on the future of transport in the United Kingdom was released today. The committee’s findings made bleak reading, with implications that, with car ownership and usage increasing each year the UK road system will be in total gridlock by 2010. The researchers have proposed a controversial measure to the government to combat this threat – road pricing.

Two differing methods of road pricing have been offered for consideration. The first is the straightforward Capitalist Ownership Paved Outdoor Unrestricted Tarmac system, or COPOUT. This basically involves car drivers purchasing a section of black top for their own use. This does have several drawbacks however. The most obvious being that only the very wealthy will be able to afford to purchase sufficient tarmac routes to make motoring worthwhile. The committee has suggested poorer drivers could purchase a series of ’time shares’ in section of roads with a pool of other drivers.

The other method is one favoured in much of Europe, especially in Scandinavian nations – Troll Roads. In order to pay for the upkeep of the road system and also discourage unnecessary road usage these countries a series of tolls are collected at key areas. As bridges are the most expensive components to build and maintain this is where the tolls are collected. To ensure compliance by reluctant motorists trolls are used. These fearsome creatures collect payments and have the use of the underside of the bridge as a home, a mutually beneficial system. For this reason the system is known as the Troll Toll.