Those annoying toll plazas that interrupt smooth traffic may be about to disappear. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that GPS-based toll collection systems will replace the existing highway toll plazas in the country. The Minister of Roads, Transport and Highways announced that the transition will take place as early as April of this year. The government has appointed a consultant to implement a GPS-based toll collection system on national highways, the minister said on Thursday.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister also said that the system will be introduced on a pilot basis in addition to FASTags. The measure aims to reduce traffic congestion and charge drivers for the exact distance traveled on the roads.
Gadkari had earlier said that the toll revenue of the state-owned NHAI currently stands at Rs 40,000 crore and will skyrocket to Rs 1.40 lakh crore in 2-3 years.
“The government is studying new technologies, including GPS-based toll systems, to replace toll plazas in the country… We will bring new technology in six months,” he said.
During 2018-19, the average vehicle waiting time at the toll plaza was 8 minutes. With the introduction of FASTags during 2020-21 and 2021-22, the average waiting time of vehicles has reduced to 47 seconds.
From 2021, FASTags became mandatory for all vehicles to pay tolls on highways. Vehicles without FASTags have to pay double the toll as fine.
Although there is a considerable improvement in waiting time in certain places, especially near cities, in densely populated towns, there are still some delays at toll plazas during peak hours.
How will the GPS-based tolling system work?
The GPS-based electronic toll collection system will use an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system through cameras installed on highways and will deduct tolls based on the distance traveled by a vehicle. Currently, FASTags uses RFID-based toll collection at plazas.
The device monitors your movements as you drive, precisely marking your entry and exit points on toll segments. By analyzing the distance travelled, it identifies the toll plazas you have passed through and calculates charges accordingly. This eliminates the uniformity of fixed tolls across booths, ensuring fairness for drivers traveling shorter distances.
Additionally, drivers on the road do not have to worry about handling cash, waiting for change or checking their FASTag account balance. The toll fee is automatically deducted from your linked account using a secure electronic payment system. This process also eradicates human error and the possibility of toll evasion.