Japan mulls variable expressway tolls to ease congestion

The Japanese government is considering introducing variable expressway tolls as early as next fiscal year in an effort to ease congestion.

The plan is to charge higher tolls when traffic is heavy and lower tolls at other times, even on the same route. The government would make the change in stages.

Officials hope the measure will lead to a smoother experience for regular motorists and truck drivers alike.

Most expressway entry points around Tokyo and other major city areas will only have electronic toll gates by March 2026. That will make it easier to set variable fees.

Officials plan to study the specifics as early as August.
The government hopes to include the scheme in its policy package, which could be compiled as soon as this month.

Authorities have tested variable tolls on the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line expressway since last July. They say it's had promising results.