This study was prepared by booz&co for the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.
Seven EU Member States have private vehicle vignette systems. The policy objective for such systems is to provide a means to charge foreign vehicles for access to national highway networks, as well as charging national motorists without the introduction of a tolling system. Vignette systems have the advantage of being easy to understand, imposing low compliance costs on motorists and not requiring extensive road side or in vehicle
infrastructure to be implemented.
This study has analysed the shortcomings of existing vignette systems, undertaken an impact analysis of those shortcomings, developed a methodology for determining price reductions between vignette types, and analysed whether complementary measures can be incorporated into vignette systems to target environmental objectives.
Existing Member States adopt a variety of practices for the pricing, operation and enforcement of their private vehicle vignette systems. The key shortcomings of existing
systems are as follows:
- Product pricing that is disproportionately higher for shorter term vignette products compared to annual vignette products, effectively meaning short term network users pay much higher on a per day basis than long term users;
- A lack of products suitable for transit or other short term users of the vignette charged network (e.g. a 10 day product being the shortest available for a less than one day transit trip);
- Enforcement practices that take a hardline approach, which appears to particularly target foreign users by including confiscation of identity documents until fines are paid and focusing on border areas;
- Poor quality signage to inform motorists in advance of any risk of enforcement action of the need to buy vignettes and options for doing so;
- Lack of options for buying vignettes (including no options to purchase remotely).