Electronic toll collection (ETC) systems have become more efficient and smarter over the years. Not only are these systems reducing the need for physical installations on roads, smart toll collection systems treat data as an asset, utilizing it to make cashless tolls more efficient and secure.
Nowadays, modern toll systems generally consist of a way to track the vehicle, some identification mechanism and a registration and billing system.
“Tracking is either done through global navigation satellite system (GNSS) or at checkpoints along the tolled road section,” said Michael Leyendecker, Director of Tolling Sales for Europe at Vitronic Machine Vision. “For identification most systems use vehicle-to-infrastructure communication or license plate recognition (LPR).”
José Luis Añonuevo, GM of Traffic Management Systems Operations at Indra explained that electronic tolls based on RFID technology can be implemented in a unified way in all road corridors. This works by having vehicles affix a tag (a device that allows charging the toll electronically and in movement) on their windshield, which exchanges a signal with antennas arranged in the toll area. The toll value is then immediately charged the users’s payment of preference (e.g., debit card, credit card, recharge card, etc.).
More and more video-only-based tolling systems are also being used, according to Benoît Rossi, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Emovis; he attributes this to improved optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which is decreasing the need for tags.
Rossi also noted the rise of embedded devices such ODBII devices and connected odometers, as well as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the performance of road sensors.