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Electronic Tolling/Fare Collection Systems

William Vickrey, a Nobel prize winner, was the first person to propose an ETC system for the metropolitan Washington area. Electronic Tolling Systems collect tolls electronically, and eliminate unnecessary delays on toll roads. ETC relies on four technologies, which include automated vehicle identification, automated vehicle classification, transaction processing, and violation enforcement. ETC even has the capability easily identify whether passing cars are already enrolled in the program, and can send alerts to law enforcement for violators. ETC electronically debits driver’s accounts without requiring them to stop to pay. ETC has helped to facilitate the private sector moving into the construction of freeways, and made it possible to implement road congestion pricing plans to a number of urban areas to restrict travel in the most congested areas.

Many countries utilize ETC technology. Norway is a great example of the implementation of ETC technology, and is the world’s pioneer for electronic tolling, and fare collection systems. Bergen first introduced ETC technology in 1986, along with traditional highway tolling stations. Portugal became the first country to apply a universal system to all tolls within the country in 1995. The United States also uses ETC in many different states. However, many U.S. toll roads still have traditional tolling stations with manual fee collection.

Often electronic toll lanes have a special speed limit, which is quite slow. However, the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey is one example in which drivers are allowed to travel through the tolling area at full speed. E-ZPass, or IPASS are popular ETC brands used within the United States. E-ZPass has allowed different toll agencies within the United States to permit a driver to incur toll charges on toll roads, bridges, and tunnels in 14 states from Illinois to Maine. This reciprocity allows drivers to easily pass between different toll operators, but causes toll operators to increase logistics, and collaboration.

Other countries such as Australia, have a number of different organizations that provide cards, or tags that can be used on automated toll roads. Roads and Maritime Services, Roam, and E-Toll are popular services in Australia. France uses Liber-T for light vehicles, and TIS-PL for larger vehicles. These systems are accepted throughout all toll roads in France. In Brazil, more than 1,000 lanes across the country’s large cities can be accessed using the Sem Parar/Via-Fácil system. Pakistan is implementing an electronic toll collection system that will utilize RFID technology.
New Delhi in India is rolling out electronic tolling on its major highways in early 2014. Electronic collection has been in the works for several years for New Delhi. However, the project had encountered a bottleneck in finding an operator for clearing money collected electronically to later distribute among toll plazas. REcently the National Highways Authority of India selected ICICI Bank among the bidders for the task, and the project is now in full-swing.
Although ETC is usually used to help with traffic jams, and to facilitate the flow of traffic, it can also be useful for other means. Milan, Italy ran a program from 2008-2012, called Ecopass, for which low-emission-standard vehicles paid a user fee, while vehicles compliant with the Euro IV emission standard were exempted.