Electronic Tolling: Melbourne's CityLink
By Chrissy Mancini Nichols
Jan 28, 2011
This post first appeared at metroplanning.org
Did You Know? Melbourne, Australia’s tollway is fully electronic.
By the early 1990s Melbourne, Australia, had reached its limit with traffic congestion. Highways terminated on the fringes of the city, causing gridlock on residential and urban streets that were handling traffic up to 80 percent greater than capacity. With no alternative routes, freight trucks had to travel through the central business district, exacerbating congestion. Traffic had become so severe it was harming the city’s social, environmental and economic well-being.
With the help of the private sector, CityLink solved Melbourne’s traffic congestion problem. Opened in 2000, CityLink is a 13-mile electronic toll road that links three major highways around the city. It was built over four years and cost $2.1 billion, with $1.8 billion financed by a private consortium and $266 million by the state.
The CityLink project reduced traffic congestion in Melbourne by building two links that bypass the central area and connect three highways to the north, south and west. You will not find a single toll booth on CityLink. It is one of the world's first fully electronic toll roads, allowing drivers to use the system without slowing or stopping to pay tolls and maintain a steady flow of traffic. CityLink processes more than 720,000 tolls every day.