India’s Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently reiterated that the government is working to replace the existing toll plazas with a GPS-based tax collection system. Speaking at a CII event, Gadkari said the government will introduce new technologies, including a GPS-based toll collection system, in the next six months to replace the existing highway toll plazas in the country. Gadkari said this new technology is expected to reduce traffic congestion and charge motorists for the exact distance traveled on highways.
Nitin Gadkari said, “The government is considering new technologies including GPS-based toll system to replace toll plazas in the country… We will bring new technology in six months.” The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is running a pilot project of Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (Automatic Number Plate Reader Camera) to enable automatic toll collection without stopping the vehicles.
The Union Minister further said that the toll revenue of state-owned NHAI is currently Rs 40,000 crore and it is going to reach Rs 1.40 lakh crore in 2-3 years. He also said that the average waiting time for vehicles at toll plazas during 2018-19 was 8 minutes, however, with the introduction of FASTag during 2020-21 and 2021-22, the average waiting time for vehicles has come down to 47 sec.
Having said that, there is a need for considerable improvement in waiting times at some places, especially near cities, with densely populated cities still having some delays at toll plazas during peak hours. The Road Transport and Highways Minister stressed on the need to bring down the cost of construction without compromising on the quality.
What is GPS based toll system?
The GPS-based system is a technology already used in many countries, and works on reading the vehicle’s number plate using a camera, which analyzes the vehicle’s position using the GPS installed on the camera, and accordingly Cuts tolls, without requiring the vehicle to stop anywhere.
In the current FASTag system, a code is affixed to the windshield of the car, which is read by a scanner at every toll plaza. After the scanner successfully reads the code, it opens the boom barrier, allowing the vehicle to pass through.