NHAI proposes electronic toll collection system

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The National Highways Authority of India proposes to replace manual toll collection at highway toll plazas with electronic toll collection, a nationwide automated collection system.

CRISIL Research, India’s independent and integrated research house, expects this changeover to eliminate waiting time of vehicles and save fuel worth Rs 10 billion per year. The savings in fuel will far outweigh the initial cost of Rs 100 per vehicle that the system requires from vehicle owners.

“Currently, there are close to 525 toll plazas, operating on national and state highways in India. Over 20,000 vehicles cross these plazas daily, each queuing up for approximately 5-10 minutes awaiting their turn to pay the toll fare. Each vehicle consumes almost 0.5-1.0 litre of fuel in an hour. Collectively, these vehicles spend around 1,800-3,600 hours at toll plazas, which accounts for a daily wastage of Rs 30-60 million and annually, Rs 10 billion,” said Ajay D’souza, head, CRISIL Research.

The system will require the government to invest in two major system components to enable collections to flow to toll operators—a central database where the clearing house will store account information, and networks that will connect toll plazas to the database. Revenues from tolled stretches will flow directly to the involved operators via the central clearing house. The system is likely to come up in a phased manner, with pilot projects on dense highway stretches.

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