India today joined the ranks of USA, Western Europe, Singapore and Australia, with the introduction of a technology driven highway toll collection system.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Dr. C P Joshi, launched the first Inter-operable, Electronic Toll Collection System based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology at Toll Plazas of Mumbai – Vadodara Section. The launch function was held at village Tawa, near Dahanu in Thane district.
How it works:
RFID tag will be a prepaid tag which will be affixed in the upper central portion of the vehicle’s windscreen. It will work as a prepaid toll account and there will be automatic toll deduction when the vehicle crosses a toll plaza.
The unique number of the Tag fitted on the windscreen of the vehicle would be read by the ‘readers’ fitted in the dedicated “ETC” lanes of these plazas, and sent to the Central Clearing House, set up by the ICICI Bank in collaboration with American firm Toll Plus. The user will get an instant SMS alert as well as email update. The Clearing House pools the money collected electronically and later distributes among toll plaza managements as per usage by vehicles.
This facility has been made available at the IRB Toll Plaza, Charoti, IRB Toll plaza Bhagwada, IRB Toll plaza Boriach, IRB Toll Plaza Choriyasi, NHAI Toll plazas at Narmada Bridge and L&T IDPL Toll Plaza at Karjan and Vadodara.
Soon it will be extended to Vadodara- Ahmedabad Section of the National Highway and the Mumbai – Pune section as well.
The RFID tags can be bought at identified kiosks located near toll plazas. They can also be bought online through the website of ICICI Bank. The tags can be recharged both at the kiosks, as well as through the ICICI Bank website.
Acceptance of the new system by people would mean long queues and fumbling for change at toll plazas would become a matter of past.
The recommendation for introduction of Electronic Toll Collection System was made by an Expert Committee headed by Nandan Nilekani, to ease traffic flow and introduce transparency in toll collection.
The success of this pilot project would pave way for nation-wide implementation of interoperable Electronic Toll Collection. The National Highways Authority of India has formed a new Company – Indian Highways Management Co.Ltd with equity participation from concessionaires and financial institutions to implement electronic toll collection. It has already begun the process of engaging agencies for providing clearing house support, tag distribution and equipment installation in toll plazas.
Cashless medical treatment for road accident victims
Union Road Transport Minister C P Joshi, announced that victims of road accident on Mumbai-Vadodara stretch would be provided with cashless medical treatment as immediate relief.
Underlining the increasing presence of his Ministry on the social media, the Minister said that complaints about road conditions may be posted on the Facebook page of NHAI or Ministry of Road Transport, which will be attended to in a fixed time-frame.
India has one of the largest road networks in the world. Approximately, 13,000 kms length of roads are under tolling through 220 toll plazas. The toll collection during 2012-13 was in excess of Rs 9,000 crores.