Roads, Highways, Cargo, Air-Cargo and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

Satellite-Based Toll Collection likely before General Elections

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Satellite -Based Toll Collection

Mains level : Read the attached story

Satellite-Based Toll Collection

Introduction

  • Satellite-based toll collection is slated for deployment before the onset of the 2024 general election Model Code of Conduct informed Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
  • This technology will supersede FASTags, offering improved efficiency and convenience for drivers.

How Satellite -Based Toll Collection Works?

  • GPS-Equipped Vehicles: Every vehicle will require a GPS device for toll collection, enabling real-time tracking of their movements.
  • Micro-controller Integration: The government plans to equip vehicles with micro-controllers featuring third-generation (3G) and GPS connectivity to facilitate data transmission.
  • Continuous Monitoring: By capturing GPS coordinates, authorities can monitor vehicle routes, track toll road usage, and calculate toll taxes based on distance travelled.
  • Toll Gate Configuration: Presently, toll gates are stationed at the end of each road stretch or project. Toll tax is calculated for distances up to 60 km, with rates fixed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

Distinction from FASTag Technology

FASTag GPS-Based Toll Collection
Technology Utilization Relies on RFID technology for automatic toll deduction. Utilizes GPS system within vehicles for tracking and toll deduction.
Toll Deduction Process Deduction occurs only at toll booths upon approach. Toll tax is deducted based on continuous GPS tracking throughout the journey.
Infrastructure Requirements Requires installation of FASTag scanners at toll booths. Eliminates the need for physical toll booths and plazas, relying solely on GPS tracking.
Implementation Status Mandated since February 2021, offering streamlined toll payment at toll booths. Anticipated implementation around March 2024, promising enhanced efficiency and convenience for travelers.

Why is a GPS-based system preferred over FASTag?

  • Infrastructure Elimination: GPS-based systems don’t require toll booths, reducing congestion and infrastructure costs.
  • Continuous Tracking: They track vehicles continuously, enabling accurate toll calculations based on actual distance traveled.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: GPS offers wider coverage and scalability, suitable for varied toll rates and distances.
  • Reduced Administration: Automation reduces manual intervention and administrative burden.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Drivers enjoy seamless travel without the need to stop at toll booths.

Operational Framework

  • Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Integration: Vehicles will require on-board units (OBUs) linked to a satellite constellation (ex. GPS, GLONASS, IRNSS) for toll calculations and transactions.
  • Barrier-Free Movement: OBUs, akin to vehicle tracking devices, will enable distance-based tolling, fostering unhindered highway transit.
  • Regulatory Requirements: Geo-fencing of national highways and legislative amendments to permit distance-based tolling under National Highway Fee Rules and the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, are necessary for implementation.

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