In the upcoming months, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to launch GPS-based toll collection on various routes throughout the country.
According to Anurag Jain, the secretary of the Roads Ministry, the upcoming system will undergo a trial phase on selected highway stretches before its nationwide deployment.
Global Positioning System (GPS) tolling, known for its speed and efficiency, is set to replace the current FASTag system.
FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the NHAI. It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner.
A comprehensive study is being conducted to assess the viability of GPS toll system, accompanied by the development of software and requisite technology for toll collection, including the implementation of geo-fencing on targeted highways.
The primary objective of this innovative system is to alleviate congestion at toll booths by entirely phasing out physical toll booths nationwide in the future.
While some vehicle users appreciate the notion of toll collection based on the exact distance travelled, others have expressed privacy concerns, as the system tracks the precise location of vehicles.
A senior official from NHAI stated, “We have identified five stretches for the pilot introduction of GPS-based toll collection. The software is currently in the developmental phase, and we anticipate commencing the pilot soon. Depending on the response to this new technology and the reception by road users, we plan to implement it gradually on other stretches,” reports The New Indian Express.
How It Works?
The operational mechanism involves the elimination of queues at toll booths and the need for vehicles to wait for deductions from their FASTag accounts. Instead, the system employs geo-fencing on highways, determining the vehicle’s entry and exit using the GPS device integrated into the vehicle.
The developing software will trigger a response when a vehicle enters or exits a specific area, eliminating the necessity for vehicles to stop at toll plazas. According to the current proposal, vehicles must be equipped with GPS devices. While new vehicles come with built-in GPS devices, older vehicles will need to install them.
Additionally, there is an exploration of an alternative approach by NHAI, involving automatic number plate recognition cameras for tracking vehicle entry and exit, eliminating the need for GPS devices and allowing toll collection on the go.