Here's my core recommendation: each state sets up a "speed tax" that is posted (and available on the displays in wireless-enabled vehicles). Then, cars that speed are simply charged a fee based on how fast they are going. Want to get to grandma's faster? OK, drive 75mph instead of 65mph but you will have to pay a toll (which might be called euphemistically a "speed tax") for doing that. The speed tax schedule could look something like this:
-Less than 40mph: $1.00 per mile (yes, charge people for going too slow)
-40 to 65mph: $0
-65 to 69mph: 10 cents per mile in town, 5 cents out of town
-70 to 74mph: 20 cents per mile in town, 10 cents out of town
-75 to 79mph: 50 cents per mile in town, 15 cents out of town
-80 to 84mph: $1.00 per mile in town, 20 cents out of town
-85 to 90mph: $2.00 per mile in town, 25 cents out of town
-Greater than 90mph: vehicle is slowed down by the highway patrol or permission must be granted by the public safety officials (for example, an emergency).
Thus, if you need to drive 200 miles to grandma's house but wanted to drive at 80mph, you would get charged 200 miles at 20 cents per mile or $40.00 for the privilege to do so.
Florida's Turnpike System
You can see part of these systems already in place in Florida where, coming out of Miami, you can get access to the SunPass extra lanes that are not as crowded. Florida's Turnpike system adjusts the charge to use the extra lanes based on the time of day. Thus, during rush hour, the charge is typically $2.75 and off-peak it's 35 cents.
While they don't charge for the speed at which you are driving yet, there's no reason they couldn't add that capability in the future. And, its developments such as this that lead to lanes that can charge for access and then charge you for the speed you drive in the special lanes.
And, perhaps 50 years from now, all cars will have wireless. We'll be able to eliminate speed traps, and highway patrol officers can utilize more of their available time to truly helping with public safety. Wireless technology will be used to charge for the right to drive faster. Speeding tickets will morph into a speed tax, while having the ability to prevent unsafe conditions that cause a multitude of accidents.
J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D. is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC. As a nationally recognized industry authority, Dr. Purdy focuses on monitoring and analyzing emerging trends, technologies and market behavior in the mobile computing and wireless data communications industry in North America. Dr. Purdy is an "edge of network" analyst looking at devices, applications and services, as well as wireless connectivity to those devices. Dr. Purdy provides critical insights regarding mobile and wireless devices, wireless data communications and connection to the infrastructure that powers the data in the wireless handheld. He is author of the column Inside Mobile & Wireless that provides industry insights and is read by over 100,000 people a month.
Dr. Purdy continues to be affiliated with the venture capital industry as well. He currently is Managing Director at Yosemite Ventures. And he spent five years as a Venture Advisor for Diamondhead Ventures in Menlo Park where he identified, attracted and recommended investments in emerging companies in mobile and wireless. He has had a prior affiliation with East Peak Advisors and, subsequently, following their acquisition, with FBR Capital Markets. For more than 16 years, Dr. Purdy has been consulting, speaking, researching, networking, writing and developing state-of-the-art concepts that challenge people's mind-sets, as well as developing new ways of thinking and forecasting in the mobile computing and wireless data arenas. Often quoted, Dr. Purdy's ideas and opinions are followed closely by thought leaders in the mobile and wireless industry. He is author of three books as well.
Dr. Purdy currently is a member of the Program Advisory Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which produces CES, one of the largest trade shows in the world. He is a frequent moderator at CTIA conferences and GSM Mobile World Congress. He also is a member of the Board of the Atlanta Wireless Technology Forum. Dr. Purdy has a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from University of Tennessee, a M.S. degree in Computer Science from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Exercise Physiology from Stanford University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in this column. If that situation happens, then I'll disclose it at that time.