Gujarat’s Innovative Toll Experiment: Pay per Kilometer Technology Challenges US Tech

In the coming times, all toll booths across the country will be removed from highways. This might not make everyone happy! If you don’t get relief from toll taxes, you will have to pay them. However, the central government is moving towards implementing a satellite-based e-tolling system, which means vehicles will be tracked via satellite. If you drive a vehicle on the highway for so many kilometers, you will have to pay toll taxes accordingly. This discussion has been going on for the last two to three years, but you will soon realize that a few days before the implementation of this new toll method, it was tested in Gujarat.

Toll Taxes and Their Implications

Whether a person drives a four-wheeler or a larger vehicle, toll taxes affect everyone directly or indirectly. For example, even when traveling by bus, toll taxes are included in the ticket price. If you buy any item, the cost of toll taxes is included in it.

Importance of GPS in Toll Collection

On March 22, 2022, Union Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari stated in the Lok Sabha that he now demands GPS, so even if toll booths are not on highways, toll taxes can be collected. GPS is mandatory in new cars. Therefore, with GPS, it will be recorded where a vehicle entered the highway and where it left, and toll taxes will be deducted from the vehicle owner’s bank account accordingly.

Role of NavIC in Toll Collection

When the discussion about satellite-based e-tolling system was held in Punjab years ago, NavIC, not GPS, was mentioned. NavIC, or Navigation with Indian Constellation, is used in India for toll collection, unlike GPS. This decision was made because during the Kargil War, the United States refused to provide GPS data to India for tracking intruding Pakistani soldiers. This incident led the Indian government to realize the importance of having its own satellite navigation system.

Implementation of NavIC in Toll Collection

NavIC is India’s own satellite-based navigation system. Through the seven satellites launched, not only India but also areas within a radius of 1500 kilometers can be monitored. Now, it’s being considered whether this technology can be used to collect toll taxes in a modern way. The Indian government has started experimenting with it, beginning with Gujarat.

Application of NavIC in Other Sectors

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Space Applications Center (SAC) director Nilesh Desai attended a seminar on the Prime Minister’s Power Scheme in Gandhinagar a few days ago. Desai mentioned in his lecture about the experiments conducted by the Space Applications Center for e-tolling using satellite mapping. Additionally, real-time train tracking, real-time aircraft tracking, and personal tracking in remote areas were also discussed during the seminar.

Implementation of NavIC System

The implementation of the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) system involved installing GPS receivers in Innovas to drive them on highways. The initiative started with linking it to online maps for information retrieval, which was then stored on servers and analyzed later. This was stated by the SAC director during the discussion.

Revolutionary Impact of NavIC System in Navigation Technology

Nilesh Desai reveals that with the assistance of the NavIC system, a margin of just one meter has been achieved in measurements. Unlike the conventional GPS system, which provides an accuracy of 5 to 10 meters in measurements, data obtained through NavIC is deemed more reliable, making it a credible resource.

Trial Run Between Bengaluru and Mysuru

A unique trial run, unprecedented in Gujarat, was conducted from Bengaluru to Mysuru. Under this trial, a total of 4 routes, including service roads, side lanes, and highways, spanning a distance of 592 kilometers, were mapped. The study of this data is currently ongoing.

Integration of FastTag Technology

FastTag technology, initiated in 2016, became mandatory for all vehicles for toll collection from February 2021. Vehicles without FastTag are charged via barcode toll collection.

How Does FastTag Operate?

FastTag technology, developed by an Indian management company, operates based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) codes. When a vehicle equipped with FastTag passes through the reader’s contact, information such as vehicle number, owner’s name, etc., linked to the account associated with the FastTag, is deducted from the account at toll booths.

Utilization of GNSS+NavIC-Based E-Tolling System

The National Highways Authority of India plans to introduce a tolling system based on GNSS technology. Through the GNSS+NavIC system, signals received by devices installed in vehicles will facilitate toll collection. Subsequently, data regarding vehicle movement, entry point, exit point, and distance covered will be collected. This data can be tracked solely through the device installed in the vehicle, ensuring efficient toll collection on highways.

Benefits of GNSS+NavIC-Based E-Tolling System

Upon passing through a virtual toll booth, vehicles will receive information, and the automated tolling process will commence, enhancing operational efficiency.

GNSS-based Tolling System: Revolutionizing Road Taxation

According to the GNSS ConsultingDotCom report, no specific machinery is installed on the road in the GNSS-based tolling system. Instead, vehicles are equipped with OBUs (On-Board Units) that receive signals from satellites, enabling toll tax calculation based on road usage information.

Understanding through Examples

Consider a person traveling from Ahmedabad to Vadodara via the highway. On this highway, where virtual tolls are implemented, the OBU installed in the vehicle communicates with satellites to determine entry onto toll roads. When the vehicle exits the highway at Vadodara, it’s detected by satellite signals, and tolls are calculated accordingly. Even if the vehicle takes a bypass route a few kilometers later, re-entry onto the highway will be recorded, leaving no chance to evade toll charges.

Transition from FastTag to Satellite-Based Tolling System

In India, the current toll collection system primarily relies on FastTag. However, the government’s plans to implement a satellite-based tolling system offer potential advantages and significant challenges.

Anticipated Changes with the New E-Tolling System

The introduction of this new E-tolling system will bring about a significant change – toll plazas will no longer exist on highways as no physical infrastructure will be required for virtual tolling. All highway tolls will be accounted for through this system. However, a downside is the potential loss of employment for toll booth workers.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.