A road-user charging scheme came a step closer yesterday when the Department for Transport named seven companies that will help to shape the technology used in pilot trials.

The department said four companies – T-Systems, part of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, the UK’s Trafficmaster, France’s Sanef Tolling and Intelligent Mechatronic Systems of the US – would all work with volunteer road users to develop an accurate, affordable and reliable system that would also safeguard users’ privacy.