Highways England is the government company charged with operating, maintaining and improving motorways and major (trunk) roads in England. Highways England’s road network totals around 4 300 miles and is commonly known as the strategic road network.
The Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing is a critical part of the strategic road network in the South East of England. It spans the River Thames between Dartford and Thurrock, approximately 16 miles east of central London, and forms a trunk road link (the A282 Trunk Road) that connects the M25 London Orbital motorway either side of the Thames to create a complete strategic road network around London.
Highways England is procuring (as a procurement agent on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, as described in the Highways England framework document Annex C paragraph 2) a second generation free-flow charging service solution for the existing Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing road user charging scheme. A road user charge has been collected at this crossing since 2003 to manage the high demand for its use. Any solution is expected to offer proportionate scalability where systems and operations can deal with alternative charging schemes.
Highways England’s second generation free-flow charging service solution will be contracted through 3 main packages, each under a separate contract notice, and each delivered as a complete end-to-end managed service, including people operations, systems and maintenance. This contract notice is for road user charging services (Package A) as part of the overall free-flow charging service solution, and comprises of vehicle identification, account management, payment processing, and customer services. The other proposed elements of the free-flow charging solution are UK Enforcement Services (Package B) and Non-UK Enforcement Services (Package C). Package B and C are subject to separate contract notices and separate procurement exercises.
The road user charging services contract consists of the following services:
(a) implementation of a new solution and transition of existing data within 18 months of the contract commencement date;
(b) provision and operation of roadside equipment (e.g. ANPR, DSRC) to enable detection and identification of vehicles, including enabling utilities and interfaces to third party systems (e.g. DVLA);
(c) matching of validated vehicle passage records to payments or exemption lists, and (where applicable) identification of contravention candidates;
(d) processing of payments;
(e) provision of account (e.g. standard, business, local resident, exempt) and non-account functionality to enable customers to pay the road user charge;
(f) provision of a suite of contact channels;
(g) provision of a customer support offering for managing communications (e.g. enquiries, complaints, Freedom of Information requests, subject access requests);
(h) provision of financial reconciliation, banking, a payment gateway, and accounting services related to the road user charging scheme;
(i) provision of management information;
(j) provision of lifecycle IT service management;
(k) provision of optional services which are capable of being enacted at a future date, including:
— implementation of the road user charging services solution at Lower Thames Crossing;
— integration of the road user charging services solution with other road user charging schemes (e.g. EETS);
— identification of persistent contravention candidates;
— capability to implement new road user charging models (e.g. dynamic charging, time of day charging, surcharge period);
— integration of the road user charging services solution with connected and autonomous vehicles, and mobility-as-a-service technologies.