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Topic : India Moves Towards Satellite-Based Tolling System

GS-3 Mains  : Science and Technology

Revision Notes

What’s Happening:

  • The Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) is seeking companies to develop and implement a satellite-based toll collection system for national highways.

Why the Change?

  • This initiative aims to create a seamless and hassle-free experience for highway users by eliminating toll plazas and gantries.
  • The GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) based tolling system promises smoother traffic flow, reduced congestion, and improved user experience.

How it Works:

  • GNSS technology uses satellites to track vehicles and calculate tolls based on their location.
  • This eliminates the need for vehicles to slow down or change lanes at toll booths.
  • The system offers flexibility for future expansion without requiring additional physical infrastructure.

Benefits of GNSS Tolling:

  • Saves time and money by removing the need for toll plazas and gantries.
  • Enables implementation of variable toll rates based on factors like distance, time, and vehicle type.
  • Facilitates smoother traffic flow and reduces congestion.
  • Opens doors for future value-added services like real-time traffic updates and emergency notifications.

Implementation and Examples:

  • GNSS tolling is already used in several European countries for trucks exceeding 3.5 tons.
  • India’s system will likely follow a similar model initially.

Privacy Concerns:

  • GNSS technology raises privacy concerns regarding user data collection.
  • The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides a framework to address these concerns.

On-Board Unit (OBU):

  • An OBU is a device installed in vehicles that communicates with satellites and roadside systems.
  • It collects and transmits data for various applications, including toll collection and navigation.

Phased Approach with FASTag Integration

  • The rollout will initially use a hybrid model, combining existing RFID-based FASTag with GNSS technology.
  • This ensures compatibility with current FASTag users while enabling a smooth transition to GNSS.

What is FASTag?

  • FASTag is a prepaid radio frequency toll collection system in India.
  • It allows automatic toll deductions for vehicles passing through toll plazas without stopping.
  • FASTag offers benefits like cashless payments, online recharge, real-time transaction alerts, and a long validity period.

GNSS Lanes and Future Expansion

  • Dedicated lanes will be created at toll plazas for GNSS-equipped vehicles.
  • Over time, all lanes will be converted to GNSS lanes for complete system integration.

Robust Software is Key

  • The EOI seeks experienced companies to develop a scalable and reliable toll charger software.
  • This software will be the backbone of the GNSS ETC system, handling toll collection and management functions.

Comprehensive Implementation Plan

  • The EOI invites proposals for a detailed plan to implement GNSS-based ETC across National Highways.
  • Companies can propose innovative solutions to optimize system deployment and operation.

Benefits of GNSS-Based ETC

  • Seamless Tolling: Eliminates toll plaza barriers for smoother traffic flow and a better driving experience.
  • Distance-Based Tolling: Users pay only for the distance traveled on National Highways, ensured by satellite technology.
  • Efficient Toll Collection: Improves accuracy and efficiency of toll collection, reduces revenue leaks, and deters toll evasion.
  • Enhanced Commuter Experience: Promotes safer, more convenient, and economically prosperous journeys on National Highways.



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