Single toll collection system in offing

The committee headed by Unique Identification Authority chairman Nandan Nilekani is likely to submit its report within a couple of months.

The committee has already held one round of discussion recently and will invite various companies involved in the tolling system to make a presentation on the technology they are using, a senior official in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways told Deccan Herald.   

For the convenience of motorists, the ministry is trying to put in place a smart card system that can be used by them in all toll plazas across the country. As per the ministry’s plan, if a motorist buys a smart card, it can be used in any toll plaza and money will be deducted as soon as he flashes his card. The ministry is also proposing to dedicate a separate lane in toll plazas for the smart card holders to ensure their smooth passage.  

Though the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has conducted pilot projects using three electronic tolling technologies in vogue in Europe, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, not much headway was made in this regard.  

The NHAI has done tests using three technologies namely, active, passive and infrared technologies. In the active system, a tag sends as well as receives signals while in the passive system, the tag only sends signals. There is also an infrared system, which involves sending and receiving signals through optical fibres, which is a quicker process.

The plan is to integrate the back end software of all toll plazas. As of now, toll plazas are connected only to the central server at the authority’s headquarters in New Delhi.

As many as 60 per cent of the country’s highway projects are now being built by the private sector on build-operate- transfer  basis and private developers are allowed to collect users fee from motorists, the smart card system would be boon to them. 

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