Here is some good news for vehicles plying on highways. To make the toll collection process easier and transparent, the Government is rolling out electronic toll collection across the country on National Highways by the end of 2014.

Electronic Toll Collection is a system enabling collection of toll payments electronically with vehicles not having to stop at toll booths. Electronic tags fitted on vehicles can be read at the toll booth to automate the whole collection process.

Government had started its first pilot on Electronic Toll Collection in Parwanoo on NH 5, and it has selected Mumbai – Ahmedabad, Chennai- Bangalore and Gurgaon – Jaipur – Beawar for the next phase.

Earlier in May 2012, India got its first radio frequency identification (RFID)-technology based toll collection plazas at Chandimandir near Punchkula in Haryana on Delhi-Chandigarh highway.

Mumbai’s transport authorities introduced a radio frequency based electronic toll collection system on the Bandra- Worli sea link stretching over 5.6 km cable stayed bridge linking two of the busiest parts of the city.

Road Busy Highway Wiki

Image: Wikipedia

Currently, vehicles plying on highways will have to stop at all the toll plazas and pay cash to pass through. Once the RFID system is introduced across all NHs, the RFID chip-embedded sticker on vehicle can be used for toll collection at all toll plazas. Toll statements will be made available online to the road users and they need not have to stop for receipt. Money collected from the vehicle will be pooled at one place electronically and distributed among all toll gates managements as used by vehicles.

Though the technology is pretty widely used abroad it is going to be introduced across India on mass scale. And this brings the question of security lags too! For an electronic system, each plaza will be equipped with automatic vehicle classification (AVC) system for cross verification of vehicle categories to avoid any misuse of tags. The sensors placed at toll gates will read the tag from a certain distance and boom barriers will go up automatically.