Innovations That Matter

Drivers receive a notice on the app when they have entered London's ULEZ | Photo source By Miles

GPS feature helps drivers avoid inadvertent fines

Mobility & Transport

An alert informs drivers when they have entered London’s ultra-low emission zone, so they can pay the fee before racking up a big fine

Spotted: In 2019, London launched an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in order to drive improvement in the city’s air quality, by reducing the number of polluting vehicles in central London. So far, the ULEZ is a rousing success, reducing the number of the worst offenders in the zone by around 30 per cent. But what about the people who get caught inadvertently? 

It is easy to get caught out because there is no automatic notification system to alert drivers that they have entered the zone. If a driver fails to pay the zone fee by midnight, they face fines of up to £160. The start-up, By Miles, is here for that reason. Drivers fit a small telematics box to their dash, which is used to record the miles driven so that drivers are charged the correct amount. 

However, a new feature is now using GPS data to alert By Miles’ customers when they have travelled through the ULEZ zone and need to pay the fee. Drivers receive a notice on the app, which can also link them directly to Transport for London’s website so they can pay.

By Miles was inspired to add the feature after its head of product accidentally strayed into the ULEZ and had to pay a large fine. Co-founder James Blackham approves of the ULEZ but hopes the feature will help drivers to avoid confusion.

While By Miles is not designed to make driving more sustainable, it is designed to make paying for it fairer. Other innovations also aiming to help with this include an app that lets users rent out empty parking spaces and an app the reroutes school bus traffic to save time and money.

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