Road Ministry adopts new technology standard for electronic toll collection

July 29, 2010

RFID technology: The Chairman, Expert Committee on Electronic Toll Collection Technology, Mr Nandan Nilekani, submitting the report to the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr Kamal Nath, in the Capital on Friday.

Toll booths on National Highways will adopt the passive RFID technology standard – ISO 18000 6C — for electronic toll collection (ETC) system, based on the recommendation of a committee set up for this purpose, headed by Mr Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The recommendations have been adopted by the Highways Ministry.

In the ETC system, vehicles will have tags on their windscreens – where amounts can be pre-loaded (just like prepaid SIM cards for phones) – and when the vehicles pass through NH toll lanes with tag readers, the toll amount would automatically get debited. This will pave the way for setting up of ETC system across the NH network.

Since last four years or so, attempts of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to adopt any technology standard for this project had been thwarted by companies which had competing technology of ETC. This standard was chosen because of many factors. For instance, for vehicle owners, the cost of adopting this technology will be much lower compared to other standards; it has been used in many countries in the last one decade. Also, there are multiple vendors such as Neology, Intermac, Motorola, Sirit, Alien and Invango, who operate in this space.

For the system to work, the user vehicles need to buy tags and have them attached to the windscreen; the toll booths require a tag reader; and a central toll clearing house has to be set up which will take care of all reconciliations between various road developers. For instance, between two points of travel, a commercial vehicle might cross five tolling booths – two of which are operated by the NHAI and three by three different private concessionaires. The clearing house operator will ensure that the amount debited from the vehicles’ on board unit (tag) at each of these toll plazas is credited into the concerned owner/operator of the highway stretch on a real time basis. As more vehicles adopt the ETC, the toll revenue leakage can be contained to a large extent.

“There are about 147 toll booths on the NH network, out of which about 100-odd are operated by NHAI and remaining by private developers,” Mr V.L. Patankar, Member-Technical, NHAI, said. Each reader will cost about Rs 2 lakh. Each NH toll booth will have at least two lanes (one on each side) with tag readers. NHAI or the operating concessionaire is likely to bear the cost of setting up tag readers at its toll plazas though the Union Highway Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, said he expects the system to be “self-financing”. It is also not clear as to who will fund the clearing house operator. At present, two NH stretches have ETC options –Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and Bangalore-Electronic City elevated highway.


The committee has recommended that a system integrator for ETC design and implementation be there, and hiring of a consultant for the financial bidding and vendor selection. An authority has to be set up to operate central system. Also, the committee has said that a high penalty system should be worked out to handle violators – vehicles who try to pass through the plaza without enough funds.

The National Institute for Smart Government – an eGovernance Innovation Library in IIT Delhi – is likely to help the Road Transport Ministry in the initiative.


Mr Nath said the process of setting up the ETC systems should be initiated in 18 months. He added that he will talk to SIAM to ensure that vehicles are sold with pre-fitted tags. Mr Nilekani added that with ETC in place, the card can by used by various other operators such as parking owners, state highway concessionaires, etc., for payments. Mr Nilekani also said that a public portal should provide data on vehicle traffic on highways and toll plazas.

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2 Comments on “Road Ministry adopts new technology standard for electronic toll collection” Post your comment

  1. Sachin Kumar on September 9th, 2010 11:12 am

    Thanks for the news. Really useful.

  2. Nilesh gawande on September 19th, 2010 10:45 pm

    This is all about the wil make the peaceful and seafty travel for saving accidance and pricious time.thankue for devloping india.

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