Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Automatic toll system

Toll as you roll
 
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I hate the delays at toll booths. There are automatic systems (EZ-Pass in my area), but they still require special equipment. This idea should eliminate the problem.
Put piezoelectric strips across the road like they are used for traffic sensing at some automatic traffic lights. Cars produce electricity by just driving across the piezo elements. Heavy cars that put more wear on the road also make more electricity. The electric power can be used locally to light traffic signs at night. That has the added advantage that the signs only light up when they are really needed so there is an overall energy saving. Very busy roads could deliver energy to the public grid.
People who are tired of piezo ideas can envision this as loops of water filled hoses with check valves and little turbines. Cars "pump" water through the hoses that runs the turbines. More expensive than piezo elements, but still cheaper than a person in an air conditioned/heated booth holding out a hand for money.
kbecker, Aug 20 2003

Pretty close to the second possibility presented. http://www.halfbake...20battery_20charger
But the noise generated by running over a bunch of rubber hoses would get tiresome. [half, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       Wasn't the point to not have special equipment?
DeathNinja, Aug 20 2003
  

       I thought this was one purpose of gasoline taxes. No?   

       I'll have to stay neutral on this one. There's not a toll booth within hundreds of miles of me as far as I know. I'm fairly sure that there aren't any in this state.
half, Aug 20 2003
  

       The first system of electronic payments was devoloped in Portugal. It requires only a small box in the front windshield of the car and nothing else. It's associated to your bank account and makes the debit automatically. What could be better? The idea of gettng the electricity from the movement is good,but only while beeing a plus.
NeoPiter, Jul 13 2004
  
      
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