Electronic toll collection global news
The PTOLEMUS research team are tracking important evolutions in the global road charging business on a daily business. Below, we share some of our key findings:
20 February 2017
Kazakhstan to begin nationwide expansion of road tolls
The Kazakh Ministry for Investment and development has announced plans to introduce up to 6,000km of new tolled roads across the country by 2020. Utilising funds provided by the World Bank, the Kazakh government will apply electronic tolls to a number of modernised highways and stretches of road at an average rate of 1 tenge (€0.003) per km for passenger cars and 15 tenge (€0.045) per km for heavy goods vehicles. It is not clear which technology will be selected, although our analysis is that a gantry based system supported by a mixture of cash and DSRC seems the most likely option. It is hoped that the tolled roads will generate roughly 30 billion tenge (€90 million) per year by 2020.
16 February 2017
Honeywell set to launch 6C RFID tag in São Paulo
Honeywell has filed a request with the São Paulo State Transportation Agency to beginning selling its own manufactured 6C RFID tag, bringing greater competition to a market with 4.3 million active ETC users. Previously, tag issuer Sem Parar – which was purchased by fleet services giant Fleetcor in 2016 – was the sole manufacturer of RFID tags in the region. Since 2011, Brazil has been transitioning away from the existing national standard of 6.8 DSRC and towards 6C RFID. This is due to a desire to lower tag production costs. It is also hoped that the introduction of RFID will also support a nationwide stolen vehicle tracking system.
In yet another sign of how the EETS market is hotting up, Telepass has followed Axxès/Kapsch, Total and DKV/T-Systems in announcing a big extension to their EETS coverage in Europe. From 2018 onwards, Telepass will launch a GNSS enabled on-board-unit (OBU) and extend tolling services to Germany and Belgium, in addition to the 6 other countries already covered. In addition, the GPS functionality of the OBU will enable Telepass to offer value added services such as real-time fleet geolocation and trip cost calculation. Telelpass therefore becomes the last of the big 5 EETS providers to offer/announce a GNSS device. Axxès (in partnership with Kapsch), Eurotoll and Total already have such devices on the market and DKV (in partnership with T-Systems) has plans to launch in 2018.
The acting head of Ukraine’s State Road Agency has expressed his desire for Ukraine to begin building its first tolling concession in 2018. A specific project has not yet been determined, however it is likely that the first concession will be constructed around the capital, Kiev.
Alongside this development, it appears that the planned introduction of a nationwide HGV road charging scheme will be delayed due to a temporary delay in receiving funds from the World Bank. Ukraine is due to embark on a process similar to Bulgaria, alongside the creation of a federal road fund, which was established in early January. Bulgaria is in the process of tendering for its own national scheme, also assisted by the World Bank. It has been reported that planned funds of approximately €200 million have been withheld from Ukraine due to a lack of adequate options put forward by the Road Agency.
Following an increasing trend towards electric and automated tolling across Africa, the Ministry of Roads and Highways in Ghana has pledged to automate all 35 toll booths across the country. Despite the relatively small number of tolled roads, revenues from the 35 booths represent the second highest contributor to the annual roads fund after the fuel levy. It is hoped that the move will reduce the amount of fraud and lost revenue seem under the current cash-based framework.
5 February 2017
Russian government approves 100% increase in HGV toll
From 15 April onwards, the price per km of the Russian nationwide HGV toll, Platon, will increase from 1.53 rubles (€0.025) to 3.03 rubles (€0.05). The move will likely re-ignite national protests which have bene taking place since Platon was introduced in November 2015. While the increase seems sharp, it should be noted that the tariff was set at 3.73 rubles prior to the introduction of the scheme and only lowered as a temporary measure in response to the protests. As a result of the lower tariff, revenues have been disappointing and undermined further by high operating costs and a poor initial communication strategy. Raising the per km rate to to 3.03 rubles should make it easier for the federal government to meet the initial target of 50 billion rubles (€790 million) per year. In its first 12 months, Platon generated roughly 17 billion rubles (€250 million) against annual operating costs of 10 billion rubles (158 million).
An increasingly significant number of truckers travelling across Belgium are said to be installing GPS jammers in order to avoid paying the distance based toll. The devices are said to be available for as little as €20. As a result, the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunication is said to be considering fines of up to €50,000 if perpetrators are caught. Introduced in April 2016, Viapass charges trucks over 3.5t an average of €0.15 per km when traveling across Belgian roads. Viapass has yet to reveal any revenue figures, however it is estimated that the system registers roughly 23 million km per day, which could amount to total revenues in the region of €1 – 1.2 billion per year, based on rough calculations.
The 540 Triangle Expressway toll road in North Carolina has been selected as one of 10 autonomous vehicle testing sites around the Us by federal regulators. The expressway authority applied to take part in the programme and was selected from among 60 applicants. The road will open for AV testing by 1 January 2018 and, soon after, driverless cars could be making their way alongside regular traffic. The fact the road is tolled means that the conditions are arguably better than an non-tolled equivalent, combined with the access to traffic data and conditions generated by the electronic systems. Tolling or road user charging, is likely to play an important role in the delivery of autonomous vehicles, not least because most are likely to be electric, which will exacerbate the existing crisis in funding and increase the need for alternative methods of funding such as those currently on trial in Oregon and California. Real-time traffic data generated by tolling authorities could also be shared with vehicles in order to facilitate more efficient route calculation.
A large number of OEMs including Ford, GM, BMW and Mercedes expect to have level 4 driverless cars on the road by 2021, with others being supported by the likes of Google who have set equally ambitions timeframes. We shall discuss how this could have an impact on road charging in future new stories, but for now, the potential for toll roads as important testing facilities is clear.
First introduced in 2003, London’s time-based congestion charge (CC) has been a huge success and viewed by cities around the world as a model to replicate. With an existing charge of £11.50 (€13.30) per day, the ANPR supported charge generated revenues of £168 million (€196 million) in the last financial year. Between 2002 and 2014, the number of cars entering Central London is said to have fallen by almost 40%. Nonetheless, rising numbers of LCVs and private hire vehicles, encouraged by the growth of mobility services such as Uber, MyTaxi and Hailo, have led to growing congestion once more. As a result, the Greater London Assembly, the legislative body responsible for overseeing transport policy in London, has called for the CC to be replaced with a time and distance based road pricing scheme, which could support dynamic or peak pricing. Any change will require the support of the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who hails from the same political party as previous mayor Ken Livingstone, who introduced the CC.
23 January 2017
Germany sets new record for HGV toll revenue
Ahead of the planned network extension, re-tender and opening of the OBU market, Germany’s national truck toll (LKW MAUT) has set a new record for annual revenue. In 2016, the GNSS based charge generated a total of €4.63 billion – beating the previous total of €4.5 billion set in 2010. It is estimated that €3.4 billion will be returned to the federal government for re-investment after taxes, operating fees and other charges are deducted. Germany’s satellite based charge is currently levied over a network of just over 15,000km, however this will be expanded by a further 40,000km from 2018 onwards. The expansion is expected to generate an additional €2 billion per year in revenue.
20 January 2017
Total revenue for Russian HGV toll exceeds €300 million as number of issued OBUs continues to rise
Results from 14 months of operation
Total revenue = RUB19,308,876,000 (€303,958,325)
Number of OBUs issued = 587,927
Total number of vehicles registered = 792,693
Number of Russian vehicles registered = 667,662
Number of foreign vehicles registered = 125,031
Number of carriers registered = 270,758
Number of route cards issued = 11.4 million
Following a last minute 3 year extension of the existing Kapsch operational contract, the Czech transport ministry is due to launch a new 10-year operational tender for the nationwide HGV toll early this year. The existing DSRC gantry-based scheme has been running since 2007 and generates approximately €350 million per year. Operator Kapsch TrafficCom’s original 10-year contract was due to expire on 31 December 2016, however the re-tender was botched (see our previous blog here), leading to a rushed 3 year extension, which has been challenged by rival potential operators, notably Slovakia’s Skytoll.
Alongside a new 10-year operational tender – which will begin on 1 January 2020 – the government seems set on extending the existing 1,400km network. Replacing DSRC technology with a satellite based system has been mooted for some time, however the latest announcement on network extension would seen to favour such a move as it would remove the need to construct and install additional DSRC gantries. Moving to GNSS would also support the general trend in Europe towards the technology, which has already been adopted by Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Slovakia and Hungary with Bulgaria and Ukraine also set to launch soon. It is estimated that the proposed extension could add up to €40 million per annum to the existing toll revenue.
11 January 2017
Slovakia anticipating annual GNSS tolling revenue of €186 million for 2016
Over the first 11 months of the year, Slovakia’s nationwide GNSS toll generated approximately €179 million – over 3% more than the previous year. The final figure for 2016 is expected to be around €186 million, also an increase. Roughly 65% of revenues were generated from traffic travelling on the highway network, with the remaining 35% coming from first class roads. Slovakia’s Skytoll operates a satellite based scheme across highways and first class roads for heavy goods vehicles, supported by Siemens OBUs, hosting both GPS and Galileo.
Following recent announcements from T-Systems’ Satellic & DKV and TOTAL regarding their own EETS devices, Kapsch and Axxès have plans to extend their own cooperation on EETS to develop a tolling solution for Germany and Italy, in addition to the countries already covered by the Axxès sold device (France, Portugal, Spain, Austria and Belgium). The Kapsch manufactured GNSS device is one of the few third-party OBUs certified for use in the Belgium distance based scheme and offers value added services including low-cost vehicle track & trace.
In November it was announced that fuel card giant DKV and T-Systems planned to develop their own extensive EETS device via the Satellic business unit. France’s TOTAL has similar plans along with a growing number of other fuel card and toll service providers.
Despite a seemingly successful tender process which has attracted interest from hundreds of companies, the planned introduction of electronic road pricing (ERP) in Jakarta could be delayed once more following a challenge from the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU). Following months of review and based on a desire to implement a tried and tested technology, it was decided that the new ERP system would be based on DSRC 5.8. The KPPU has argued however that this decision is discriminatory and could violate the 1999 antimonopoly law. The move has not yet caused any additional delay to the ERP tender, with Jakarta’s acting governor saying that his decision on whether to act would be based on future discussions between the KPPU and his administration.
17 December 2016
Washington state to begin RUC pilot in Autumn 2017
Washington will become the third state in the US to begin active road user charging trials, with the launch currently planned for mid-to late 2017. A group of 2,000 volunteers will be invited to test systems enabling users to pay according to the number of miles they drive via one of 4 technologies, including a yearly permit and a smartphone based app – likely similar to that currently being used for California’s RUC pilot. The project has received a $3.8 million grant from the federal Highway Administration, with additional funding from the state DoT. Neighbouring Oregon began its own RUC pilot in 2015, which was followed by California earlier in July this year. More than 25 other states, including Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware have either begun studies or expressed an interest in some form of usage based charging.
13 December 2016
Rhode Island issues RFP for proposed truck tolling scheme
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has issued a request for proposals from firms to design, build, operate and maintain all electronic tolling facilities for the state’s planned truck-only tolling programme. The truck tolling plan was authorised in February as part of the state’s Bridge Replacement, Reconstruction and Maintenance Fund Act (aka RhodeWorks). The state has proposed either free-flow or open road tolling, the receipts of which will be used to fund roads reconstruction across the state. RIDOT said it expects to award a contract for the building and operation of the tolling facilities in Spring 2017, with construction expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Further details on the RFP can be found on the RIDOT website, here.
12 December 2016
India to introduce very first free-flow tolling scheme
Alongside the government’s concerted efforts to increase the penetration of ETC tags among Indian motorists, it has been announce that India will begin installing free-flow gantries in late 2017. The country recently began the transition towards RFID (6C) based tolling as a replacement for cash payment. FASTag was first launched in September 2014 and is sold via numerous banks and financial outlets. The Eastern expressway on the outskirts of Delhi is expected to be the first highway to see free-flow. It is hoped the move will alleviate some of the countries crippling congestion, which is often exacerbated by long queues at manual toll booths.
11 December 2016
Belarus to extend toll road network by additional 101km
As part of their long-term plan to improve the quality of the nationwide road network the Government of Belarus has announced it will extend the existing BelToll network by an additional 101km. This will increase the total size of the tolled network to 1614km. Installed and operated by Austria’s Kapsch TrafficCom, BelToll has been operational since 2013 and has a network of DSRC free-flow gantries, catering for more than 247,000 registered vehicles. An estimated 140,000 are foreign registered.
7 December 2016
German Bundestag officially sanctions extension of LKW MAUT to all federal roads
In the last week, the German Bundestag (national parliament) has formally sanctioned the extension of the existing HGV toll to cover all federal roads. The change will take effect in mid-2018 and supersede Russia to become the world’s largest road charging network. The existing scheme covers approximately 15,300km of motorways and motorway-like federal roads. The extension will see this rise by more than 40,000km, bringing the total to over 55,000km – beating Russia’s current network of 51,000km. The move will also see a re-distribution of some tolling revenue among the individual German states. Under the existing programme, all collected revenue is returned to the federal government. Last year the scheme generated €4.5 billion.
Following years of legal and political conflict, the EU and Germany have finally come to an agreement over the introduction of a controversial new nationwide time based toll for passenger cars (PKW MAUT). Hailing the compromise agreement, EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc argued that the new toll represented, “a first step towards a common European framework for road charging.” A new EU law aimed at overhauling road charging across the EU is set to be introduced in April, with Bulc still said to be deciding whether to favour distance or time based charging. Her comments regarding the German scheme would seem to suggest favouring the latter, which would also fit with other time based vignette schemes for passenger cars in member states such as Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. If this turns out to be the case, we will see the clear emergence of two distinct tracks concerning road charging in the EU as more and more schemes for heavy goods vehicles opt for distance based charges. Indeed it is often cited that where Germany goes others follow. This has been the case with HGV tolling with counties from Belgium to Slovakia following the German lead. Given the current political climate across the EU one would have to say that time based vignettes, rather than the more complex and potentially intrusive distance based methods, seem far more achievable.
One year ago, despite a seemingly impossible time frame, protests from hauliers, physical and cyber-attacks and numerous last minute alterations to the fee structure, the world’s largest satellite based tolling project began. On 15th November 2015, the Russian Federal Road Agency (FRA) and its state owned partner, RT-Invest, launched Platon; a GNSS open road tolling network for HGVs (>12 tonnes) spanning more than 51,000km.
One year on we assess how the scheme has performed and present full revenue and usage statistics. See our latest blog for full details
16 November 2016
Thales in discussions to sell assets in tolling & parking management
Thales has entered into negotiations with French private equity firm Latour Capital, with a view to divesting its ticketing and revenue collection, road tolling and car park management systems. Thales has approximately 850 employees mainly based in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand and Egypt and generated sales of US$165 million (€155 million) in 2015 across this portfolio. Thales currently provides various technology solutions to the tolling and road user charging including billing, enforcement and communications.
14 November 2016
T-Systems, Daimler & DKV plan joint venture to deliver EETS solution
T-Systems, Daimler and DKV Euro Service have announced joint venture to develop and deliver an EETS solution for a host of major European tolling markets, delivered through a single device, likely based on T-Systems existing Satellic OBU currently in use in Belgium. The aim is to sign up sales partners to market the EETS services and to process the tolls vis-a-vis the end customers. The intended collaboration is subject to approval by the competition authorities. The market launch is scheduled for 2018 and will initially cover Belgium, Germany, France, Austria and Poland. At a later date the OBU will further integrate payments for Italy, Portugal, Spain and Hungary.
Timed to coincide with the renewal of the German LKW MAUT (see story below) and will compete directly with existing EETS providers such as TOTAL and Axxes.
Since its launch in 2005, the German truck toll (LKW MAUT) has been operated by Toll Collect: a consortium of T-Systems and Daimler. It has generated over €44 billion in revenue. With the existing contract due to expire in August 2018, the German government is holding a tender for a replacement. The new truck toll (LKW MAUT) contract will run for 12 years with a one-time option of an additional 3 at the end of the contract. The winning bidder will be responsible for extending the scheme to trucks weighing over 3.5t. The current limit is 7.5t. Existing provider, Toll Collect (co-owned by Daimler and T-Systems) is certain to be among the bidders and is expected to provide stern competition. Toll Collect’s existing contact expires at the end of August 2018. The winner of the tender is expected to be in place at the beginning of the year. The LKW MAUT network currently covers roughly 15,000 federal roads, however, Toll Collect has already been commissioned to undertake work to extend the scheme to all 40,000km regardless of the operational tender process. The LKW MAUT currently generates €4.5 billion per year. The extension to all federal roads is expected to add an additional €2 billion.
After two years of negotiation and bluster, the European Commission and the German government are nearing a settlement regarding plans to implement a new toll (PKW MAUT) on all new cars using the German autobahns. Germany’s initial plans were to charge all cars a time based fee (vignette), with commensurate reductions in annual car tax for German residents. The EC argued that this was discriminatory and violated EU law. The negotiated compromise will see a €100 million overall reduction in German car tax, incentives for environmentally friendly cars and a lower cost of €2.50 for short-term (10 day) passes. According to estimates, this new toll could generate as much as €2 billion per year.
3 November 2016
More than 230 companies respond to Jakarta ERP tender
The Jakarta Electronic Procurement Service agency (LPSE) has announced that 235 bidders had registered for the project by the end of October.The figure comes as government departments within Indonesia continue to argue over the precise technology which should be used to enable road charging in the capital. Prior to the tender, Governor Ahok made clear that the city was seeking a “proven” DSRC 5.8 solution. This has since been challenged by the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), who argue that mandating DSRC could contravene laws on open competition and that the city should explore all options, including RFID, GNSS and ANPR. The KPPU’s intervention is not expected to delay the outcome of the tender.
31 October 2016
Kenya lays out plans for introduction of multiple toll roads
Director of the Kenya National Highway Authority, Peter Mundinia, has announced that the country has plans to introduce toll roads across the country and will seek private sector participation. The Government’s plan is to introduce user based fees across high traffic highways, including the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and the 160 km Nairobi-Nakuru highway. A total of 6 projects have already been earmarked. According to the plans, the private sector will be tasked with operating the roads and collecting tolls for a period of 25 years, after which tolls and ownership will return to the public sector. The roads agency plans a meeting with potential investors in November.
The Malaysian Association of Highway Concessionaires (PSKLM) has announced that a further 8 toll plazas will be converted to fully electronic means of toll payment, beginning on 9th November. From this date onwards, users will be required to pay with either the Touch n GO prepaid card or the SmartTAG infrared on board unit. The development comes as Malaysia moves towards a totally cashless nationwide tolling network. Further plans to move towards a nationwide RFID network, which would also support congestion charging in Kuala Lumpur and a national stolen vehicle tracking scheme have been repeatedly discussed, although there has not yet been any final confirmation on either.
20 October 2016
More than 100,000 foreign vehicles now registered for GNSS tolling in Russia
As we approach the first year anniversary of the world’s largest satellite based tolling scheme the number of registered vehicles continues to climb and now stands at a total of 764,541 trucks. 113,262 of these are registered outside of Russia. According to the Federal Road Agency, 87% of Russian registered HGVs have been equipped with the GNSS on-board-unit. Further figures are presented below:
Total revenue = 15,321,000,000 RUB (€223,662,496)
Number of OBUs issued = 565,051
Number of vehicles registered = 764,541
Number of carriers registered = 260,455
Number of route cards issued =10.2 million
The Parliament of Ukraine has passed the Bill seeking to establish a new fund to tackle the poor state of the country’s roads. The new fund will receive funds from excise duty, vehicle registration fees and newly established tolls. The government has engaged the World Bank to provide advice and assistance regarding the creation of the fund, including the introduction of tolling for HGVs. Bulgaria conducted a similar exercise prior to its decision to introduce telematics-based GNSS tolling for all vehicles > 3.5 tonnes. Ukraine is almost certain to opt for a GNSS based system for its own toll scheme and it would be surprising if telematics devices and third party toll declarators were not included in the final design.
4 October 2016
In a move designed to reduce congestion and increase average traffic speeds, the Singapore Land Transport Authority is considering extending road pricing to the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway. There are existing gantries at the tunnel’s entrance and exit, however these are currently disabled. Activating the gantries would remove the need for any additional infrastructure and enable the simple extension of the soon to be replaced DSRC charging network.
28 September 2016
First multi-lane Free-Flow tolling solution planned for Spain in 2018
A series of multi lane free flow tolls are set to be launched in the Northern Gipuzkoa region of Spain by 2018. Six free flow gantries will be constructed along the N1 highway between Irun and Etzegarate, with a proposed maximum one-way fee of €10 for all vehicles above 3.5 tonnes. The multi-lane infrastructure will be constructed on both sides of the road at three points along the route. It is estimated that the route is used by over 12,000 vehicles > 3.5t each day, roughly 60% which are foreign registered vehicles.
China’s nationwide tolling revenue climbs by 5% to almost €55 billion (410 billion yuan), although losses continue to mount. According to the official results for 2015, China’s toll roads lost a combined €42.5 billion (319 billion yuan) in 2015, largely due to a sharp rise in loan payments. The vast bulk of China’s new nationwide highway network is tolled, but has been built on credit. Total spending on toll roads has now reached a staggering €933 billion (7 trillion yuan), with a remaining debt balance of €593 billion (4.45 trillion yuan). There have also been significant investments made in electronic tolling over the past 5 years, with DSRC based collection now available at all toll stations across the country. The number of registered users is growing rapidly, however cash is still king as individuals take time to transition to electronic means of payment.
Having recently put to bed three legal challenges from phantom Bulgaria companies, designed simply to disrupt the process, plans for the introduction of a new satellite based toll for HGVs and an electronic vignette for passenger cars have once again been delayed. Objections to the conditions of the tender have been lodged by Germany’s Vitronic and Hungary’s Erba, both of whom are serious players in the market, unlike the previous three companies. The complaints appear to focus on the short timelines and conditions attached to the tender. The system was originally planned to go live in late 2017 or early 2018, however the combined delays are likely to push the completion date to 2019 or even 2020.
The country has not yet introduced an electronic tag and motorists will still be required to stop at each tollgate, however the move is yet another shift away from manual, cash tolling in a continent with growing interest in tolling and congestion charging. The system was introduced by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) following their acquisition of prepaid tolling specialists Univern Enterprises.
Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, has formally proposed that Australia launch a national road user charging (RUC) system, which would replace existing fuel excise duties with charges based on weight, distance and location. It is understood that officials from the Australian government have been looking closely at the RUC pilot projects currently taking place in Oregon and California. EROAD, a technology partner in the California pilot, which began on 1 July, already has a strong foothold in the country, as do many of the other major players and advisory groups. Existing toll road operator Transurban has reported strong results in recent months and CEO, Scott Charlton, has argued that drivers are open to new and different ways of paying for the roads.
The overall bid submitted jointly by Q-Free and Telekom Slovenia was reported to be for around €100 million which represents a value of approximately €51 million (NOK 470 million) for the Norwegian firm. The three other, unsuccessful, bids came from Iskratel and SkyToll, Cetis and Autostrade and Kapsch TrafficCom. The scheme is expected to be delivered next year and includes a 10-year service and maintenance contact. With the exception of SkyToll, all of the shortlisted bids were for DSRC based systems, which bucks the recent European trend towards GNSS for HGV tolling.
After months of legal disputes and delays, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition has decided to quash the latest complaint. This allows for the re-opening of the €100 million tender process, which will now accept bids up until 26th September. The new system of satellite based tracking and per mile fees for vehicles >3.5 tonnes is intended to replace the existing system of paper vignettes. The system was originally put to tender in April, with the aim of an up and running scheme by late 2017, however 2018 now looks more likely.
Since launching the nation’s first pay per mile pilot programme in July 2015, the OReGO scheme has attracted 1,263 and has been deemed a success. This grant will allow the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop and improve the system by working with out of state authorities as well as bringing in a wider range of devices and mileage reporting options. The current pilot scheme provides users with a choice between a manual reporting option, an OBD device supplied by Azuga and a direct link for users of Verizon’s InDrive telematics platform. The OBD option is said to have attracted roughly 50% of users thus far. California, which began its own RUC trial last month, also has the option of smartphone based reporting, which we expect to be extended to Oregon.
Arguably, the real significance of this grant comes from the recognition at the federal level that RUC could become a viable alternative to the gas tax, which is seen by many as a broken system.
The working group responsible for preparing the necessary changes to Bulgarian legislation have extended the deadline until 20 December 2016. This comes in addition to the further delays in the tender process announced earlier this month. In order to ensure the new GNSS toll complies with the law of the land, secondary legislation must be amended before the scheme begins. Over the coming months, changes will be made to PMC 908/2015, which will affect how the government collects funds and enforces the scheme. New legislation will include stricter fines for violators. The Minister responsible also confirmed that the per km fee would vary across first and second grade roads.
22 August 2016
Russian HGV satellite toll, revenue and figures from nine months of operation
Previous month’s figures in italics:
Total revenue = 12,318,000,000 RUB (€168,385,577) (11,000,000,000 RUB (€156,737,319))
Number of OBUs issued = 544,469 (530,000)
Percentage of general fleet registered = 73% (73%)
Number of vehicles registered = 740,908 (735,448)
Number of carriers registered = 257,369 (255,492)
Number of route cards issued = 9.2 million (8.7 million)
While the project is currently open to tender, authorities in Jakarta have set an annual income target for the of Rp792 billion (€53 million) per year. This figure is based on a proposed daily rate of Rp30,000 (€2) per vehicle. An estimated 100,000 vehicles will pass through the 39 planned ERP corridors each day, suggesting that the income target has been calculated minus repayments to the winning bidder. There are an estimated 13 million vehicles within the greater Jakarta area. A one-off charge of Rp200,000 (€13) has been mooted for the device, likely to be a DSRC unit. Read our previous blog for more information.
In preparation for the introduction of ERP II in 2020, Singapore is beginning to move away from the hugely successful and popular EZ-Link card. Since its introduction in 2002, the EZ-Link card has proven a highly popular way of paying for a range of mobility and retail purchases, including road pricing. Under the current DSRC scheme, motorists are able to insert their EZ-Link cards and toll fees are deducted automatically. Under the new initiative, EZ-Pay, cards will no longer be required as OBUs are linked directly to a credit or debit card. To begin with only Citibank cards will be accepted, although other providers are likely to come on board at a later date. This is not the first time Citibank has been at the forefront of mobility payment innovation, having launched a linked commercial offering late last year. For more information see our previous blog here.
ERP II is set to launch in 2020 and will see the existing DSRC system replaced with a GNSS, pay per mile design, provided by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). It is unclear who is providing the OBUs at this stage.
Earlier this year, Japan introduced ETC 2.0: a next generation national DSRC tolling platform which features two-way communication between vehicles and infrastructure, delivering value added services such as congestion alerts and driving assistance for the elderly. In order to encourage drivers to switch to the updated units, the Japanese government offered discounts on the toll fees – a move which has now been extended. Figures taken from our ETC Global Study show that there were roughly 65 million DSRC units sold shortly before the new system was introduced. A figure which we have forecast to grow strongly over the next 4 years.
The system has been delivered by national tolling giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and features a range of OBU options, including aftermarket, fully embedded units.
Following two legal challenges from a phantom construction company, the tender to design and install the planned Bulgarian GNSS truck toll has been further delayed by a third legal challenge. While the €100 million scheme was initially planned to be up and running in 2017, this now looks increasingly unlikely. While the tender should have closed in July, these multiple legal challenges have disrupted the timetable and led to significant delays. The latest complaint has been lodged by another phantom company, known as “Property Stan”, which has no known assets or activity.
Lima, the Peruvian Capital, suffers from chronic congestion and the French motorway operator is clearly betting on a bright future for tolling in South America. This follows Fleetcor’s acquisition of Brazilian toll tag issuer, Sem Parar, for a similar amount.
2 August 2016
Tender process opens for Jakarta electronic road pricing
15 companies are said to have submitted their interest thus far. The proposed cost of the system is not known, however the city administration have repeatedly stated their desire for a system which has been tried and tested elsewhere. There are an estimated 10 million vehicles in daily use in the Jakarta metropolitan area. It is highly unlikely that the administration will decide on an ANPR system – which is the charging technology of choice in London, Gothenburg and Stockholm – due to the reliability of vehicle registration records and differences between police and government databases. DSRC is likely to be the favoured solution, with Governor Ahok already proposing a daily charge of RP30,000 (€2) and a refundable deposit of RP200,000 (€13) for the device.
In the recently published public transport workplan, the Chinese Ministry of Transport has urged local governments to consider implementing congestion charging at appropriate times in order to curb traffic woes in larger cities. This follows several official trips to Singapore by transport officials to study the effects of electronic road pricing there. Hong Kong is also at an advanced stage in its own plan to introduce congestion charging in the downtown area. It is hoped that Beijing (which is its own governing municipality, rather than part of a local/regional authority) will take the lead having already drafted a preliminary policy framework. China already has the longest network of toll roads in the world at over 162,000km, 60% of which are highways. This existing network is currently being upgraded from manual to electronic means of payment.
While there are no immediate plans for a live pilot, the director of the Arizona Department for Transport, John Halikowski, has said that the department is monitoring programmes elsewhere very closely. Members of the state legislature have also made comments suggesting that a pilot project could be a possibility in the near future. Arizona is a member of the Western RUCC consortium and has been monitoring developments elsewhere, including neighbouring California, which has recently begun its own active RUC pilot having signed up an initial 5,000 drivers. Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington are all at an advanced planning stage and Oregon has just completed the first year of its own pilot programme. Four East coast states have also made similar proposals.
With the Jakarta administration keen to press ahead with the selection of a vendor and construction of the ERP system, it is possible that the process will begin as soon as this week. Q-Free and Kapsch are thought to be in the running, alongside as many as 10 other companies. The administration has made clear that it wants to install proven (very likely DSRC) technology and is looking to companies who have experience in similar installations in Singapore and Europe. Expect to see the likes of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries taking part in the process as well.
According to various reports, a small construction company known as “Marhinzhenering” has launched a second legal challenge against the conditions of the tolling tender, which was due to close on 11 August. The first legal challenge was submitted on 5 May and concerned the alleged uncertainty over who would be responsible for issuing the OBUs for the scheme. The challenge was rejected, however the tender was put on hold for a time. The motives behind this second legal challenge are unclear, beyond perhaps a simple desire to delay the process even further. It has been suggested that the scheme is now unlikely to go live until at least 2019 – over a year later than originally planned.
The new system will charge all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes a per km fee. Who is ultimately responsible for providing OBUs to each vehicle is a little unclear, although the proposed scheme has been strongly unfenced by the Hungarian Hu-Go platform, which enables FMS and other such providers to register as toll declaration operators (TDOs), utilising existing GPS devices already in the vehicle.
24 July 2016
Russian HGV toll Platon may be extended to regional and local roads
The tolled network already stretches across more than 51,000km of federal roads, however legislation has been submitted to the State Duma, which would see the extension of the scheme. This comes as a result of increased traffic flows on smaller, regional roads as truckers seek to avoid paying the toll fees – a consequence often seen following the introduction of nationwide road charging. The scheme has now been in operation for more than eight months, however revenues have been severely curtailed following mass protests and enforced reductions in the per km fee.
22 July 2016
Germany welcomes its one millionth OBU
Earlier this week the one millionth on-board-unit (OBU) was installed for use on the German LKW MAUT network. Major providers of the GPS enabled device include automotive giants Continental and Bosch. The GNSS charging scheme has been in operation since 2005 and generates revenues of roughly €4.5 billion per year. From 1 July 2018 all federal roads will become part of the scheme, a move which is expected to raise an additional €2 billion per year. A decision is also due on whether to lower the weight limit from 7.5t to 3.5t, as is the case in Belgium.
19 July 2016
Eight month figures from Russia’s HGV satellite tolling scheme, Platon
Total revenue = 11,000,000,000 RUB (€156,737,319) (9,201,000,000 RUB (€128,351,394))
Number of OBUs issued = 530,000 (486,284)
Percentage of general fleet registered = 73% (73%)
Number of vehicles registered = 735,448 (728,221)
Number of carriers registered = 255,492 (252,436)
Number of route cards issued = 8.7 million (8.0 million)
Initial reports suggest that the new tolling design will in some way rely on ANPR technology, but these are unconfirmed and will be confirmed following a government review. The news was released alongside plans for a significant expansion of the nations highway network, raising the total length of highways from the current 4,193km to 5,131km by 2020. The country currently utilises a range of technologies across the existing tolled network, including infrared and DSRC. It is also said that the country has trialled WAVE technology, but this has not yet born rolled out nationally.
13 July 2016
World Bank to advise Ukraine on roads funding
Re-tracing the path followed by Bulgaria, Ukraine has invited the World Bank to help generate new sources of funding and attract investment in the road infrastructure, including tolling. Authorities in Kiev are very keen to address the chronic state of more than 170,000 kms of roads, 90% of which have not been repaired for over 30 years. Ukraine also has a much higher ratio of tarmac, as opposed to concrete roads, which are more susceptible to damage, particularly in hot conditions.
The Government recently announced the creation of a roads fund (see our story below on 4th July) and, rather ambitiously, hopes to generate an additional ₴40 billion (€1.5 billion) per year through the collection of tolls and other user generated revenue. The World Bank will present a strategy by the end of the year of early 2017. Expect GNSS based tolling to feature prominently.
12 July 2016
More than 10,000 FASTags now in operation in India
Sales of India’s flagship ETC scheme, FASTag, have passed 10,000 for the first time. The RFID tag is now accepted at 335 plazas across the country, including 48 dedicated lanes. While 10,000 tags may seem a very small number in a country with well over 70 million registered vehicles, it should be remembered that ETC is a very immature concept in India and that FASTag was only launched in September 2014. Moreover, the population at large remain highly resistant to electronic means of toll payment, which has also not benefitted from a lack of cohesion at the back end.
Singapore authorities have appointed BlueSG, a subsidiary of Bollore, which runs the successful Autolib platform in France, to deliver the countries first on-way, all electric car sharing scheme. The operation will begin rollout in 2017 with an initial 125 cars and plans to number 1,000 cars by 2020 – the date at which Singapore’s next-generation, satellite based electronic road pricing programme will also begin. The cars will be powered by a planned 2,000 charging points and supported by parking spaces in 500 locations. The initial contract has been signed for a 10 year period. The scheme will allow for one-way charging, unlike existing car sharing options such as Smove, which has an estimated 15,000 users and 300 cars that can only be returned to the original location.
Bollore’s French programme, Autolib, is France’s most successful B2C car sharing scheme and has attracted over 130,000 users across almost 4,000 cars in operation.
In a very short space of time, peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing and pooling have grown from parochial, niche and predominantly local schemes into vast national and international platforms with users numbering in the tens of millions and revenues to match. Car pooling platform BlaBlaCar, for example, was founded in 2006 and already boasts over 30 million registered users across 22 countries. Close competitor iDVRoom recently signed a partnership agreement with tolling operators Sanef and APRR in France. Read our full blog to see how this could deliver significant benefits to all parties…
Minister of infrastructure, Vladimir Omelian has announced plans to create a roads fund, which could include some form of road pricing for trucks and enhanced fines for overloading. The fund will be used as a means to fix Ukraine’s crumbling road network. There is a suggestion that 97% of Ukraine’s roads are damaged.
The government has already experimented with a ban on trucks when the temperature exceeds 28 degrees as the damage to tarmac can be significantly higher when the weather is hot. Surfacing the roads with concrete, instead of tarmac can reduce the impact of warm weather, however only 1% of major roads in Ukraine are made from concrete, as opposed to 30% across the EU.
30 June 2016
UAE to explore additional toll roads
TransCore already has an RFID contract in Dubai, whewre it claims to supply 1.3 million tagged vehicles, however there is talk of additional tolls across the Emirates as a means to reduce the chronic amount of congestion that blights many cities.
The turnpike will automatically read EZPass tags where possible and bill other drivers with ANPR (enforcement). There will be no increase in the cost to the driver.
27 June 2016
Russia’s Platon HGV tolling scheme shows continued growth seven months on
Figures following seven months of operation (previous month in italics):
Total revenue = 9,201,000,000 RUB (€128,351,394) 7,602,392,000 RUB (€103,285,366)
Number of OBUs issued = 486,284 (418,476)
Percentage of general fleet registered = 73% (72%)
Number of vehicles registered = 728,221 (716,064)
Number of carriers registered = 252,436 (247,057)
Number of route cards issued = 8.0 million (7.3 million)
In a recent speech, Transurban CEO Scott Charlton has warned that governments need to plan for the arrival of driverless cars. He argues that autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change life in Australian cities and should be good for toll-road operators across the country and beyond.
Autonomous cars have the potential to increase the capacity of existing roads, increasing utilisatoin rates and income for toll road operators such as Transurban. According to Transurban, driverless cars could ease congestion by increasing the capacity of road lanes by 10 – 25 per cent, while dedicated driverless lanes could accommodate around 4,000 cars per hour. The company would thus benefit financially from increased numbers of cars on toll roads or by providing driverless lanes that charge toll fees.
Just one week after suggesting that the tender was imminent, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has now announced that the administration plans to skip the bidding process for the planned city-wide ERP implementation. Despite talk of an upcoming tender for the past two years, the Governor has now cited bizarre concerns that Jakarta would simply become a testing ground for new technologies if an open tender was to go ahead. “We cannot let foreign companies test their new technology in Jakarta,” insisted Ahok. Instead, the Jakarta Transportation Council (DTKJ) will carry out a comparative study of countries already operating ERP and make a recommendation. Both Kapsch and Q-Free have installed trial DSRC gantries in the city and one would imagine this positions them as joint favourites to secure the long-term contract, but don’t rule out any further surprises.
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has begun investigating the possibility of introducing a road user charging scheme as a means to create sustainable funding for road infrastructure and to cut congestion. The Ministry of Transport has produced an interim report under the auspice of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). The report states that, “New initiatives, including variable network pricing (directly charging for road use and varying charges by location and time of day), shared mobility and connected vehicle technology would have a positive impact on system performance.” The authors of the paper have modelled the impact of charging drivers between 3 and 40 cents (€0.02 – 0.25) per mile.
16 June 2016
Apple maps update includes option to avoid tolls
Apple’s update to Maps for iOS 10 contains a number of features that will have an impact on the future of personal mobility. Among these are links with the directions feature to mobility service platforms such as Didi and Uber, which can be paid via Apple Pay. However, hidden within the functionality of the updated software is an option to remove tolled routes from the journey. As far as we can tell the option requires an active decision from the user and is not automatically turned on. Nonetheless, with more than 700 million iPhones sold around the world this could represent a challenging development for tolling operators everywhere.
Its seems that German plans to introduce a passenger car vignette for foreign drivers may be just the beginning and may precede a broader shift towards user based financing of the German roads. Schäuble stated that the time for “more user orientated finance” of the roads is coming. The proposed car toll (PKW MAUT) is currently being challenged by the European Commission, who allege that the plans amount to discrimination against foreign motorists. Nonetheless, we expect this scheme to go ahead sometime soon as any financial sanction would likely not come close to €2 billion per year the toll is likely to generate.
14 June 2016
Jakarta electronic road pricing (ERP) tender imminent as Governor rules out use of GNSS
As we speculated in our April blog, Jakarta Governor Ahok has finally ruled out the use of GNSS technology for the city’s upcoming electronic road pricing (ERP) project. Following an official visit to Singapore, Jakarta Governor Ahok spoke in favour of satellite technology, leading many to predict that Jakarta would replicate Singapore’s ERP II model. For now, however, this has been ruled out, primarily due to concerns over the time necessary to implement such as model. Two DSRC test sites were installed by Kapsch and Q-Free in 2014, ahead of a planned city-wide roll out. Since then a series of legal and administrative disputes have led to a series of delays, although these appear to be almost over and a tender is imminent. Time is now of the essence as it is hoped that ERP will be up and running in time for the Asian Games, which begin in Jakarta on 18th August 2018.
The government is set to launch a consultation into the future of the severn bridges ahead of its impending return to public ownership. Transport Minister Andrew Jones is said to be very keen on the introduction of free flow tolling (FFT), citing the introduction of FFT at the dartford crossing, which has been credited with cutting congestion. The UK currently employs a mix of technologies across a small range of tolling projects, including DSRC on the M6 Toll and Humber Bridge and ANPR at the Dartford Crossing. The two bridges have an annual turnover of approximately £85 million (€107 million), generating a gross profit of over £34 million (€43 million). It costs between £6.60 (€8.30) and £19.80 (€25) to use the crossings, which handle over 80,000 vehicles per day.
Road pricing has long been on the political agenda in the Vancouver region with metro region mayors and elected officials issuing repeated calls for usage based funding. This week’s comments from the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade however, may help to bring industry on side and could also help to sway the general public who have thus far remained resistant to any change.
9 June 2016
Slovenian tolling revenue up by €5 million compared to previous year
While Slovenia is shortly due to introduce a new, nationwide DSRC truck toll, the government agency responsible, DARS, has announced impressive tolling revenues for 2015, reaching €350 million. Sales of vignettes represent the lions share of this figure, however this matches the trend of positive tolling revenue growth across Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland and Slovakia have all seen very healthy growth over the past 18 months. Over the coming 2 – 3 years we will see new or updated tolling schemes in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Estonia and potentially Lithuania.
6 June 2016
Reports suggest that Bulgarian GNSS truck toll delayed following vendor appeal
The tender process for the installation of a new GNSS toll and e-vignette scheme in Bulgaria will likely be postponed following an appeal to the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC). The nationwide programme has a contract value of €100 million and will introduce satellite based charging for all vehicles >3.5t and a new e-vignette for passenger cars. The appeal has been brought by the company Marhinzhenering Ltd. According to the CPC, a decision on this appeal will be taken no later than 20 July.
The state owned bank is considering selling all or part of its current stake in Sanef. Caisse des Depots (CDC) holds a 15% ownership of road operator Sanef. Sanef operates 2,063km of motorways across France and is majority owned by Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis. This follows earlier reports that Atlantia was considering selling part of Autostrade in order to fund its international expansion plans. It will be interesting to see whether Abertis decides to acquire CDCs stake to add to its own existing 52.55% share.
1 June 2016
Czech transport minister Tok sets the terms of tolling consultancy tender
The Czech transport ministry is seeking a project manger for its next generation HGV toll, which will begin service on 1 January 2020. As part of the contract, the winning bidder will be required to prepare the tender documentation and oversee the competition. While the Czech Republic currently has a DSRC based system in place, no decision on the post 2019 technology has been made and the chosen project manager must approach the process with a technology neutral perspective (we expect that DSRC will be replaced with a GNSS based system). The total value of the project management/consultancy contract is estimated at €70 million. This seems incredibly high, however this will be spread over a nearly four year period as the contract is set to run until the end of 2020. The first deliverable will be to set the terms of the post-2019 toll tender, which must be in place by 15th July 2017.
Reports indicate that Toll Collect has finalised a €503 million contract to expand the existing GNSS German truck toll, already the largest in Europe in terms of vehicles registered. The expanded network will not quite match the geographical scale of the Russian truck toll (which covers over 51,000 km of roads), although it is expected that an enlarged scheme will generate an additional €2 billion in revenue. The planned expansion comes amid calls for the entire nationwide road network to be tolled, however this is unlikely to happen in the short term.
25 May 2016
Vietnam begins issuing e-tags as part of nationwide ETC roll-out
The Ministry of of Transport is aiming to install electronic toll collection systems at all booths across the country by 2020, beginning with major roads surrounding the largest city, Ho Chi Minh City. The RFID tags will be issued to vehicles free of charge and tolls deducted from their individual account. ANPR cameras are also being installed to provide enforcement. It is estimated that the introduction of ETC across the country’s toll network could reduce operating costs by as much as $125 million.
The move follows a rush towards electronic tolling across Asia, with India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand all replacing manual payments with electronic means. See out Global Electronic Toll Collection Study for the full analysis.
Road operators are constantly looking for ways to increase the number of vehicles travelling on their roads. While the technology is still in the trial phase, cordless charging as you drive could be a winning value add for customers on toll roads, delivering a unique differentiation from non-tolled roads. Of course the technology has to be proven and the demand increased, however electronic vehicles already form a core element of many global car sharing schemes. According to figures provided by Bloomberg, sales of electronic vehicles could hit 41 million by 2040 and rose by 605 in 2015, compared to the year before.
For a thorough analysis of the global car sharing market see our Connected Mobility Global Forecast
From 12 noon onwards on 1st June a further 18 toll plazas will remove the cash option and become fully electronic. Following the change, drivers will be able to use either the infrared SmartTAG or Touch’n’Go payment card. It is expected that by late 2017/early 2018 all plazas across the country will be electronic only. Along the same time frame, Malaysia plans to replace the existing infrared technology with an RFID solution, which will include nationwide stolen vehicle tracking and additional services.
For a growing number of reasons the long planed ERP system in Jakarta has continues to be delayed. However, Governor Ahok has said that he hopes the introduction of ERP will lead to free, or at the very least, heavily subsidised bus journeys for Jakarta residents. According to The Jakarta Post, the Governor also stated that the administration was prepared to spend up to Rp 5 trillion (€328 million) on the scheme if it can help with providing free transportation.
16 May 2016
Six months in and Russia’s HGV toll remains something of a mystery
In the first six months of operation, the world’s largest HGV toll, Platon, has collected just over €100 million in revenue – a figure well short of the €350 million originally expected over the period. However, despite facing ongoing protests, the number of registered vehicles and carriers is slowly creeping up. The number of on-board-units in circulation has also grown significantly, along with the number of route cards issued. Given this rate of increase, one would expect higher revenues, although this appears not to be the case. In response to protests earlier in the year, the per km rate was reduced to 1.53 RUB, half the 3.73 RUB originally planned. Nonetheless, the operator, RT-Invest, fee of 10 billion RUB was not reduced, meaning that the scheme has yet to recover its own operating costs for the year. The government appear unconcerned. So much so in fact that on 5th May, prime minister Medvedev allocated 10 billion RUB worth of funds (2.4 billion RUB of which has yet to be collected) from Platon to the regional roads fund.
According to the Federal Road Agency, there are roughly 1 million trucks in Russia liable to pay the toll – this figure was initially thought to be closer to 2 million, although was later revised down in order to remove all government and military vehicles.
Complete figures for the first six months of operation are presented below (the previous month’s figures are in brackets):
Total revenue: 7,602,392,000 RUB (€103,285,366) (6,197,816,000 RUB (€81,480,758))
Number of OBUs issued: 418,476 (339,019)
Percentage of general fleet registered: 71% (70%)
Number of vehicles registered: 716,064 (694,590)
Number of carriers registered: 247,057 (237,050)
Number of route cards issued: 7.3 million (6.5 million)
Ahead of the congressional mandate for nationwide interpretability which comes into force on 1 October of this year, TransCore has launched a multi-protocol device, which can be used at all electronic toll points across the US. The tag will come at a cost of $35, plus a monthly service charge of either $7.99 or $10.99 per month and will be available to the general public from July onwards.
The Spanish infrastructure giant has reached an agreement with existing owners Intesa Sanpaolo, Astaldi and the Tabucchi family to purchase a controlling stake in the A4 Brescia-Padova and A31 highways. The former has the third highest traffic levels in Italy with a daily average of 91,000 vehicles. The existing concession contract for both highways will expire in 2026. The acquisition will add €610 million in annual revenues to Abertis. The move follows Abertis earlier €948 million investment in Chilean highway operator Autopista Central. Chile now represents Abertis’ third largest market.
Learning lessons from the previous debacle – which saw consultancy Deloitte appointed to project manage the national toll renewal process, only for the decision to be ruled null and void due to a lack of open competition – Transport Minister Tok has announced an open tender for management of the post-2019 HGV toll renewal. Unofficial reports suggest that the consultant and project management contract will have a value of Kč70 million (€2.6 million).
The existing agreement with Kapsch was recently extended to 31 December 2019, after which a new operator, and likely an entirely new system, will be sought. The existing DSRC set-up is not EETS compatible, something the Czech government would like to remedy. There is also talk of installing a GNSS based toll, which is indeed becoming the trend for HGV tolling in Europe following the introduction of satellite based systems in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Russia, Hungary and Belgium. Germany and Switzerland also have mature satellite based tolls.
Shortly after the announcement from Washington state, Colorado has announced its own RUC pilot research study. The initiative is not as developed as the RUC programmes taking place in Oregon, California and Washington states, however, the study will provide the framework for future implementation, as well as identifying any areas requiring further assessment. Like the other three states above and Hawaii, Colorado is a member of the Western RUCC consortium.
Hot on the heels of road user charging pilot projects in California and Oregon and a feasibility study in Hawaii, Washington state is stepping forward with its own plans for road user charging. Beginning in 2017, the state plans to implement a road usage charging demonstration, subject to legislative approval. There demonstration plan will include all of the details necessary to launch a pilot programme, including agency roles, potential technologies and methodologies, procurement strategy, recruitment and evaluation criteria.
5 May 2016
Tolling revenues across Croatia rise by 6.5% in 2015 to €320 million (HRK2.4 billion)
Motorway concessions in Croatia reported an average revenue increase of 6.5% to over HRK2.4 billion in 2015. The three main concessions, HAC, ARZ and Bina-Istra all reported positive growth over the year. Croatia operates a DSRC electronic tolling network supplied by French technology form G.E.A. and consists of a mix of AET and manual payment booths.
Following the introduction of km based charging for trucks in Belgium on 1 April, a consortium of 100 carriers have taken part in legal action against Viapass and technology provider Satellic, citing concerns over the calculation of fees. The GNSS OBU is provided by Satellic, a joint venture between T-Systems and Strabag. Satellic maintain that the vast majority of their OBUs are functioning as required and that any defective units are limited to no more than 0.15% of those issued. Nonetheless, the consortium of hauliers has requested the appointment of an independent expert to determine the reliability of the units.
It is not uncommon for legal cases and/or protests to be raised during the early stages of a new road charging scheme. Russia’s distance based toll, Platon, has been the subject of a legal case concerning the decision to award the operating contract to RT-Invest and a lawsuit between operator T-Systems and the Germany Government surrounding initial delays to the LKW MAUT programme is still ongoing. Many will also remember the burning tyres cabbages which marked French protests to the planned Ecotax project. In this case however, it is highly unlikely the action will have any impact on the operation of the toll.
While the introduction of electronic road pricing in Jakarta does not explicitly require authorisation from the ministry, Jonan’s backing will undoubtedly add steel to the project, which continues to be plagued by delays. Opponents to the scheme continue to argue that the introduction of a congestion charge will simply add to the already high cost of living in Central Jakarta, however Governor Ahok has repeated his position that the charge is designed purely as a means to reduce traffic levels and not as a revenue generator.
Following the much publicised debacle concerning the planned renewal of the MYTOCZ electronic toll for HGVs, the Czech government has finally submitted the to the inevitable and begun negotiations with Kapsch over a three year extension to their existing operational contract. Their current agreement is due to expire on 31 December. The proposed new three year contract will extend the existing operating system through to 31 December 2019. Despite the lack of any competition, the government is expected to negotiate hard for a generous discount. Once agreed, the government will immediately begin work on preparing the tender process for new longer-term operational contact from 2020 onwards, seeking to avoid the delays and last minute panic which has accompanied the renewal process thus far. From 2020 onwards, the MYTOCZ scheme is expected to become completely EETS compatible. There has also been talk of introducing GNSS technology – similar to Germany’s LKW MAUT and Belgium’s newly launched Viapass scheme – replacing the existing DSRC, gantry based system. MYTOCZ generated record revenues of €360 million in 2015 – roughly 20% of which was paid to operator Kapsch.
In a punchy speech to the annual EC Road Transport Conference, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc delivered her views on the future of road charging across the Union. Lamenting the “tendency in Member States to implement their own rules”, Commissioner Bulc accepted that the current rules were unclear. Nonetheless, she was quick to reference the “very strong potential” of road charging, in terms of its ability to bring about positive change in the environmental performance of trucks (through variable pricing), as well as the possibilities posed by digital technologies.
The Commissioner railed against the current patchwork of different tolling systems in place across Europe, noting that an “integrated interoperable digital solution is the way forward.” She cited the lack of competition in individual markets as an obstacle to change, arguing that the technology for a more interoperable solution was ready and that there were plenty of solutions available. Bulc argued that road charging “can learn from the world of mobile telephony”, supporting PTOLEMUS’ long held belief that smartphones represent the ideal device through which to offer a range of mobility services.
Supporting the arguments made in our recent blog on avoiding the marginalisation of road tolling, Bulc stated that, “Rethinking the current patchwork will also allow tolling providers to provide other value-added services to better manage their businesses…All these technological innovations, which also provide new possibilities for road tolling, are clearly the future.”
Malaysia’s plan to implement cashless tolling on all major highways by the end of 2016 is progressing well, with a reported 70% of transactions in the Kuala Lumpur region now said to be electronic. The country presently employs Infrared OBU technology supplied by EFKON, alongside an electronic payment card, Touch’n’Go. There are plans however to replace the existing technology with an RFID tag, which will also facilitate congestion charging in the Capital and a nationwide system of stolen vehicle tracking and recovery – yet another example of how connected mobility services are merging. In our forthcoming Connected Mobility Global Forecast, we predict that no connected mobility service will be provided in isolation by 2020.
Figures recently released by the Slovak operator SkyToll reveal that revenues from the country’s GNSS toll in March have risen to €16.23 million, an increase of €890,000 on February’s figure. The figures also show that the number of registered OBUs has risen to 259,176 – an increase of 1,105 in one month alone. Foreign registered vehicles now account for a full 73% of the trucks registered for the SkyToll scheme. Final figures from 2015 show that the scheme raised a total of €187.45 million, just over 2% more than in 2014.
As part of the build up to the introduction of electronic road pricing in Jakarta, the city government announced that the long-standing 3-in-1 carpooling mandate – which restricts cars with fewer than 3 people from traveling on certain roads around the city – would be scrapped in favor of an odd/even license plate policy. During the four days on which the 3-in-1 system was not operational however, traffic levels increased by as much as 24.6%, causing huge congestion across the capital. The system has since been re-instated pending the introduction of ERP, although many barriers remain before road pricing is introduced.
Fore more news on electronic road pricing in Jakarta read our latest blog for the full story…
12 April 2016
Berlio fuel cards now available for use on Russian HGV toll network
Belarus’ Berlio fuel card can now be used as a payment method for the Russian nationwide HGV toll, Platon. Berlio becomes the third fuel card accepted across the 51,000km wide toll network and can be used to purchase one-way route tickets and settle invoices. DKV and E100 were the first fuel cards to be accepted by Platon and have been in use since the scheme’s launch in November 2015. The move precedes a change in policy, which will mean that only registered users can purchase single route tickets from 15 April onwards. There are an estimated 1 – 2 million applicable HGVs on Russia’s roads, although, six months into the charge, only roughly 650,000 have registered.
In a rather novel, but pragmatic use of ERP data, Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister, K. Shanmugam argued that data from the existing ERP infrastructure could be used to identify suspicious driving patterns and behaviours among terror suspects or suspicious individuals. The Minister argued that Singapore’s terror threat was at its highest ever and the state had a responsibility to use all available resources to counter the threat.
PTOLEMUS has long argued for the expansion of data use and services within existing road charging schemes, although admittedly in more mobility centric ways – read our latest blog on the subject
The 31 tolling agencies who replied to the IBTTA survey recorded 5 billion trips in 2015, a 7% increase on the year before. This puts growth way above that of the broader highway system. The IBTTA forecast that traffic levels on tolled facilities will double over the next 10 years.
Jakarta Governor Ahok has announced that the initial rate for the proposed city wide road charging project will be set at RP30,000 (€2). The rate will fluctuate up and down according to traffic levels amid fears that such a low rate could prove ineffective at reducing congestion. According to the Governor, there will also be a refundable deposit of Rp200,000 (€13) for the device, once the system is in place. The city have yet to determine which company will install and operate the scheme, nonetheless, this relatively low device cost tells its own tale.
A contract worth €99.99 million was awarded to the DSRC scheme proposed by Q-Free/Slovenia Telekom consortium – a price which was far lower than Kapsch’s rival bid of €114.6 million. The Austrian ITS company has however requested a review of the decision, citing violations of the laws and principles surrounding transparency. It is now known which laws and principles may have been violated, although, as we previously reported, it has been alleged that Q-Free benefitted from family ties between a board member of Traffic Design (a Slovenian ITS company purchased by Q-Free in 2014) and the Slovenian Government.
Following the government’s announcement that the per km charge will remain at the reduced rate of RUB1.53, the state will receive little more than 20 billion Rubles (€257 million) in 2016 – half the expected amount. Truckers from across the country have continued to hold rallies to protest against the charge – the latest took place in Moscow and attracted approximately 150 heavy vehicles. From 15 April onwards, rules regarding vehicle registration will be tightened and all trucks will be required to register on the scheme in order to purchase single trip roadmaps. Previously, the feature was available to un-registered vehicles and could be purchased at a number of stations across the country. Since launching the scheme, the number of registrations has remained at around 600,000 – 650,000 trucks – far less than the 1 – 2 million estimated to be on Russia’s roads.
17 March 2016
Q-Free signs new Bangkok tolling contract
The contract has a reported value of $2.5 million, although few details have been released regarding the contents of the deal, apart from systems maintenance.
Atlantia has ambitious plans to grow internationally, building on existing business in Latin America and Asia. Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci has stated that Atlantia is ready to sell a significant stake in Autostrade per l”Italia to find this growth. It is estimated that a 30% stake in Autostrade could raise as much as €5 billion, despite a strong reliance on the Italian domestic market, which has suffered as a result of the economic slowdown.
15 March 2016
UK Government to investigate Free Flow Tolling at all sites similar to the Dartford Crossing
The announcement was made as part of the Chancellor’s annual budget statement. The Government will also move to halve tolls on the Severn Bridge, following a public consultation, once the crossing has passed back into public ownership
Building on IMS’ role generating usage-based revenue for the Oregon Department of Transportation with the OReGO Road Usage Charging programme, the company has again been selected to provide end-to-end technology and account management services for the California project. Azuga will also provide an OBD dongle based solution, which has also been trialled in Oregon. Taking the role managing state-run reporting services – fulfilled by Sanef in Oregon – is technology services firm Arvato. EROAD will provide the reporting mechanism for HGVs across the state. Vehcon and Driveway Inc will also deliver smartphone based solutions for the project. More to follow…
11 March 2016
Total PASSANGO OBU extended to cover Viapass from beginning of 2017
The PASSANGO Toll Badge / On-Board-Unit (OBU), which already covers France, Spain, Portugal and the Belgian Liefkenshoek tunnel, will be accepted in Belgium from the beginning of 2017, as part of the new kilometer-based VIAPASS toll system. By the end of 2016, the badge will also be useable in Austria and on the bridges linking Denmark to Sweden. TOTAL will facilitate customer toll accounting by centralizing all toll payments made in Europe and by simplifying the recovery of VAT. The Toll Badge / OBU also provides access to a geo-localization service for the trucks of a fleet and to numerous associated alerts. TOTAL has become the first European energy company to register as an EETS provider.
No official announcement has yet been made, but leaked reports suggest that the Q-Free/Telekom Slovenia bid has been successful. Q-Free entered the Slovenia market in 2014 through the acquisition of local ITS company Traffic Design. Their bid of €99.9 million was the lowest of the four consortia (which also included companies including Kapsch, Autostrade and SkyToll) and proposes the introduction of a DSRC based toll, rather than the GNSS scheme put forward by Slovakia’s SkyToll. Until 2012, the main shareholder of Traffic Design was the Tomaz Kastelic, the uncle of the former Cabinet chief Simona Dimic. An official announcement is expected in due course.
8 March 2016
The Russian government has extended the reduced rate for Platon until July 2017 and set tighter rules on user registration
The per km fee, which was originally set at twice the current rate of RUB1.53, was first due to revert to the original sum of RUB 3.04 in February, although this was then extended until later in 2016. The decision to delay any rise in the fee once again is a clear response to the continuing protests from hailers against the charge and follows the abolition of vehicle tax for HGVs announced in January.
In further news, it was announced that the scheme has added roughly RUB4 billion (€49.9 million) to the federal roads fund since beginning on 15 November 2015. For a programme that was initially designed to raise RUB50 billion (€708 million) per year, the figure of 4 billion is extremely disappointing. Perhaps as a result of this, the government has mandated the registration of all vehicles through the Platon portal. Previously, drivers were able to purchase a single road map via a payment terminal without registering as part of the scheme. Approximately 655,000 HGVs have registered so far – well short of the 1 – 2 million (depending on what you count) registered trucks over 12 tonnes in the country.
Following the publication of the World Bank report last October, the Road Infrastructure Agency has published an initial document outlining the objectives of the contract. The proposed system includes the collection of a distance based toll using a GNSS/DSRC hybrid OBU for vehicles >3.5 tonnes and an e-vignette for vehicles <3.5 tonnes. The system must be fully EETS compliant and allows for the distribution of OBUs either by the contractor or an EETS service provider. The toll will also allow payment through the purchase of a route ticket (similar to the new Russian HGV toll Platon and Hungary’s HU-GO). Enforcement will also be similar to the Hungarian programme with fixed gantries and mobile enforcement units.
Negotiations are continuing over the planned extension of the existing Czech ETC contract with Kapsch. Due to repeated procrastination and mis-management, the Czech government is being forced to extend the soon to expire contract with Kapsch while it considers a longer-term solution.
Interestingly, Hungary’s National Toll Payment Services group, who manage the highly successful HU-GO scheme have also thrown their hat into the ring and asserted that they could manage the toll at half the cost of current operator Kapsch.
A consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has won the contract to deliver ERP II in Singapore. The next generation system will see the abolition of existing DSRC gantries and the introduction of a new GNSS OBU. The aim of the scheme is also to reduce congestion, which suggests we could see the introduction of variable pricing as a means to deter driving during rush hour. The programme will cost in the region of S$556 million (€365 million). The existing ERP scheme is over 20 years old and has been a roaring success, inspiring numerous other countries and cities across the world to introduce similar measures.
23 February 2016
ETC to be introduced at 360 toll plazas across India by April
The introduction of ETC at 360 new sites comes as part of a Rs 3 lakh crore (€39 billion) investment in infrastructure development over the Maharashtra region (which stretches from Mumbai to Nagpur and has a population of over 114 million). The new sites will use RFID tags, an extension of the existing FASTag system, which was introduced on the NH-8 in mid-2015. The aim is to cut chronic congestion which often occurs across India’s many manual toll booths and follows an earlier government commitment to introduce ETC on all new highways.
Czech HGV toll renewal descending into farce
Czech Ministry of Transport officials have admitted for the first time that a lack of agreement with the current operator Kapsch, could mean that the country is left without a toll operator when the current agreement ends on 31 December 2016. This would result in almost €1 million per day in lost revenue. The Ministry is seeking special measures to allow for a new temporary operating contract to be granted to Kapsch without competition to ensure toll collection can continue into 2017. The situation is not without a distinct sense of irony as the primary reason for the whole mess is due to the cancellation of the tender contract with Deloitte due to a lack of competition in their selection process.
The proposed vignette for all passenger cars has caused a great deal of concern among the European Commission as the move is seen as discriminatory. Under plans proposed by Germany’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, drivers would be charged €130 per year to driver on German roads, although German drivers would receive a corresponding reduction in their car taxes. The Commission is considering issuing an opinion in April, which could precede a referral to the European Court of Justice later on. No final decision has yet been made.
Following the trend set by Hungary’s Hu-GO, Germany’s LKW MAUT and the Czech Republic’s MYTO CZ, Slovakia’s own ETC scheme, SkyToll, has announced positive numbers for toll collection in 2015. Over the year, the programme generated €187.45 million, a rise of €4.06 million, or 2.2% on 2014. While the increase does not quite match the double digits seen in Hungary and the Czech Republic, the figures reinforce a positive trend for road pricing across Central and Eastern Europe.
On Thursday 11 February, Governor Gina Raimondo signed a new highway infrastructure repair bill into law, which will be partially funded by a new toll. From 2017 onwards, sections of the I-95 will become tolled. The move represents another milestone in US tolling as the road charge will be aimed exclusively at trucks. While almost every European country has some form of truck toll either in place or preparation, the US has not followed this trend. As things stand, very few US states have any specific measures in place for charging trucks to use the road. While there is no word on the specific technology which will be installed, the new $4.7 billion highway infrastructure plan will utilise electronic methods of collection (one would imagine the RFID EZ-Pass), with 14 ETC gantries set to be installed across the state.
16 overhead gantries are currently being installed to replace the 24 existing toll plazas and will begin operation in October. Motorists will be required to install an EZ-Pass RFID tag, with enforcement taken care of with ANPR. The move supports a growing surge of ETC across the US, with other roads and bridges in Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, California and elsewhere converting to electronic methods over the last year.
11 February 2016
Britain’s M6 Toll put up for sale in bid to recover huge debts
The M6 Toll is the first and only stretch of tolled motorway in the UK and has been operating since 2003. The 27 mile long stretch was originally designed to ease congestion around Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city. While traffic levels were initially disappointing, vehicle numbers have grown in last couple of years. In 2015, 17.4 million vehicles used the M6 Toll, representing a 12.6 per cent increase on the previous year. The road features a number of manual pay booths, alongside DSRC ETC lanes.
Egis Projects has singed a three year contract with Vindhyachal Expressway Ltd, which includes maintenance and operation of the NH 7 between Rewa and Hanumana in the North West of the country. The contract includes collection of all tolls along the 73km stretch. The contract strengthens Egis’ position in India, where the company already operates four other highways; the NH 47 in Kerala, NH 93 in Uttar Pradesh, NH 8D in Gujarat and State Highway 1 in Telangana.
7 February 2016
Russian HGV road charging scheme, Platon, to introduce post-pay on 15 April
The introduction of a post-payment mechanism adds further flexibility to the scheme, which provides drivers with a choice of either an OBU or a pre-paid route map. DKV and E100 fuel cards are also accepted.
6 February 2016
Czech government appears set on new ETC renewal timeline
Despite reports suggesting that Slovak operator, SkyToll, had launched a big to take over the operation of the Czech Republic’s HGV toll scheme, MYTOCZ, the government now seems set on a new timeline, which would see an open tender take place in 2018 and selection of a winner late the same year, allowing take over of the scheme on 1 January 2020. Kapsch, whose existing contract is due to expire on 31 December 2016, will continue to operate the nationwide programme for a further three years. The revised schedule became necessary following the cancellation of a tender preparation and advisory contract with Deloitte following claims of improper practice.
The contract has a duration of 54 years and was signed with the Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing. The scheme will not receive any public subsidy. The dual-two lane carriageway will add to Vinci’s existing portfolio of roads across France.
3 February 2016
Record foreign truck traffic on Germany roads
Foreign registered trucks travelled a record breaking 11.92 billion km on German toll roads in 2015, representing growth of 8.4 per cent on 2014. In total, 29.73 billion km were driven on the Toll Collect network, with 40 per cent coming from foreign HGVs. Polish trucks took the largest share, followed by vehicles from the Czech Republic. There were also substantial increases in traffic from Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.
While the figures undoubtedly represent pleasant reading for Toll Collect and the German tax office, the growth is expected given both the expansion of the network and lowering of the catch weight to 7.5 tonnes, which were both implemented over the past year. These figures also mirror an equally strong performances in Hungary and the Czech Republic. See our story on 14th January below.
According to reports, representatives from SkyToll held meetings with members of the Czech Transport Ministry on 7 January in order to present their case for taking over operation of the national HGV toll. The agreement with current operator Kapsch, is due to expire on 31 December. Plans to offer a new three year tender have been repeatedly delayed due to mismanagement and legal challenges concerning the granting of the tender preparation contract to Deloitte. In recent interviews, Transport Minster Dan Tok seemed to suggest that Kapsch would be asked to remain as operator for an extended period after 31 December, although this news now suggests that SkyToll are in fact ready to take over in January 2017 if asked to do so. For further background on the story see our blog here.
27 January 2016
The Russian government will delay the planned increase in Platon per km fee in another bad week for the nationwide HGV toll
As Ptolemus predicted, the proposed increase in the per km fee from 1.53 RUB to 3.06 RUB will be delayed until October at the earliest. This is a direct response to the repeat protests from haulers across Russia, which are becoming increasingly violent and comes just days after Prime Minister Medvedev announced that the Ministry of Finance was preparing to abolish vehicle tax for HGVs.
Further to a story we published on 7 January, the Moscow Court of Arbitration has ruled that the concession agreement between Rostec (RT-Invest) and the Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) should be made available, as part of an ongoing trial which is challenging the legal basis for Platon and the granting of the 12 year concession. The plaintiff, Alexei Navalny, argues that the contract was granted illegally and should be null and void. The case continues…
26 January 2016
Fewer than 20,000 Viapass/Satellic OBUs delivered so far
On 1 April, the new Belgian distance based truck toll, Viapass, will begin. It is estimated that an initial 150,000 trucks will be liable for the charge. According to Edward Claessens at Viapass, just 17,725 OBUs have been ordered and 16,700 have been delivered to hauliers. All HGVs traveling through Belgium will have to have an appropriate OBU, which are currently only available from Viapass’ partner Satellic, although third party providers such as UTA and Axxes are preparing to launch their own compatible devices very soon.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has announced that it plans to introduce road user charging as a means to restrict traffic in the city centre and raise additional funds for road building and maintenance. If the plan goes ahead, all vehicles will be charged according to weight and distance travelled along an, as yet, unspecified area across the city. There is also no word on the technology which would be used to levy and enforce the charge. As things stand, only South Africa has any form of electronic road pricing in place, which has proven to be deeply unpopular. Other countries such as Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria, however, are planning new road tolls.
22 January 2016
Hawaii latest US state to study RUC feasibility
Following on from similar developments in Oregon, Washington and California, Hawaii has become the latest US state to launch feasibility study into road user charging. The study will consider whether a pay per mile system could replace the existing gas tax, which is no longer seen as a sufficient method for funding road infrastructure. There is no news on whether out of state miles will be included.
20 January 2016
Croatia considering introduction of new highway vignette
Croatia already has a number of DSRC ETC concessions in place, supplied by French technology provider G.E.A. However there is a discussion taking place within the governing administration, which could see the introduction of a nationwide vignette, similar to those already in Slovenia and other neighbouring countries.
Matjaža Kneza has been dismissed as CEO of the Motorway Company of the Republic of Slovenia (DARS), which could result in potential delays to the selection of an ETC operator. Four consortia are bidding for the new nationwide HGV toll, including Kapsch, Q-Free and Skytoll.
STP is said to be in advanced talks with Feetcor regarding the sale of Non-Stop (Sem Parar), the largest provider of electronic toll payment services in Brazil. Non-Stop has been active in Brazil for over 15 years and offers electronic payment solutions on all the country’s main highways and across a large number of parking facilities and taxi services. The service includes a comprehensive payments and additional services smartphone app for users. Brazil has an extensive network of tolled roads using the DSRC standard, although is in the process of replacing this with RFID as part of a broader Government scheme.
Jakarta will soon join other cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong in introducing a smart payment card for transport and mobility. The Jakarta One card is said to be inspired by Hong Kong’s Octopus card and will enable payment of a wide variety of services, ranging from public transport and road tolls to insurance and shopping. It is unclear wether the move has been announced to coincide with the introduction of congestion charging in the city, which is also now scheduled to begin in 2017.
15 January 2016
Central Florida Expressway to test Paytollo smartphone app
The CFX authority board has entered into negotiations with payment system Paytollo, which claims to be able to save both the driver and the toll charger money. Payments are processed via the app in real time, based on location and processed as pre-payments – thereby saving the operator the cost of sending a printed invoice.
14 January 2016
Hungary posts 16% increase in road tolls and vignettes over 2015
According to figures released by National Toll Payment Services, revenue from road tolls and vignettes grew by more than 16% in 2015 to total more than HUF243 billion (€768 million). Hungary’s electronic distanced-based toll for trucks, Hu-Go, generated HUF185 billion (€585 million), while sales of motorway vignettes rose to HUF57 billion (€180 million). These figures represent another strong performance for a national ETC scheme, coming shortly after it was announced that revenues from the Czech Republic’s MYTOCZ rose almost 12% in 2015.
The group has appealed to the Government to press ahead with a study on tolling in the region, however opposition remains in some quarters.
The cooperation has issued a tender for a new contractor to replace the outgoing SMYP Consortium. The civic body plans to install an e-toll system in 2017, which will levy a toll on all vehicles at 124 points around Delhi.
Commissioner Bulc has once again called for EU wide interoperability and suggested that a new announcement could be made this year. The news came as the Commission once again rejected the German plans for a nationwide car toll (PKW MAUT). Bulc also reaffirmed her preference for distance based, rather than time based schemes.
In yet another apparent concession to haulers and protesters against the Platon HGV toll, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed the removal of vehicle tax from vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes until 1 April 2016. During this time, authorities will conduct an assessment of the impact of reduced income on the roads fund.
The Czech Government’s Office for the Protection of Competition (UHOS) has cancelled the Ministry of Transport’s ETC renewal advisory contract with consulting firm Deloitte due to a lack of an open tender process. The contract was for advisory services and preparation of the upcoming ETC renewal tender and had a reported value of CZK52 million (€2 million). Deloitte was appointed without open competition in October 2015. With Kapsch’s existing ETC operator contact due to expire at the end of this year, Transport Minister Dan Ťok argued that the timing did not allow for an open tender for the advisory contract. Opponents consistently stated that this argument was false as it had been known for years that the 10-year operational agreement would come to an end in 2016.
Late last year, the Ministry conceded that a new operator could not be chosen according to the existing timeline and that the existing agreement with Kapsch would have to remain in place until at least the middle of 2017. This news will undoubtedly delay the process even further.
This has all occurred despite record revenue from the scheme and a booming market for OBUs. See our recent blog with facts and figures here
All 21 highways across the Klang Valley (the area surrounding Kuala Lumpur) will implement fully electronic tolling by the end of 2016. The cost of installing ETC per lane is estimated at RM150,000 (€31,000), which will be born by the individual highway concessionaires. The move comes as part of a concerted effort to replace manual tolling booths with ETC and comes ahead of a planned national RFID roll out in 2017/18. In the long-term, RFID tags on all cars will replace the existing infrared technology, which has been in place since 2008. 10 toll plazas across four highways will convert to at midnight on 13th January. Malaysia currently has two options for electronic toll payment; the Touch n Go payment card and the SmartTAG IR OBU, which contains a payment card and is compatible with Touch n Go.
Alexei Navally of the Fund of Struggle Against Corruption (FSC) intends to take legal action against the federal raid agency and Platon operator Rostec (RT-Invest) over an alleged lack of an appropriate tender process for the HGV toll, which began in November last year. Proponents of the litigation point to clear failures and a lack of competition in the granting of the 13 year concession contract, however, Yana Ivanova from law firm Herbert Smith Freehills does not believe that the legal action will be successful and that the Federal Road Agency will be able to prove that it acted within legal boundaries. The first hearing in the Moscow Arbitration Court will begin on 27th January.
US tolling giant TransCore has announced an integrated rearview mirror solution, in partnership with Gentex, capable of replacing the traditional RFID toll tag. The mirror will contain TransCore’s universal toll module (UTM), capable of being read by all US toll roads without any additional equipment.
MYTO CZ, the Czech HGV toll operated by Kapsch closed the year with revenues almost 12% higher than in 2014. The scheme has now collected more than €2.5 billion in its nine years of operation. The scheme is currently operated by Kapsch, who are likely to remain beyond pas the end of their existing contract, which ceases on 31 December 2016 due to delays in the renewal tender.
For a more detailed study of the Czech tolling system see our recent blog on the subject here
5 January 2016
Final decision on ERP in Jakarta pushed back yet again
Despite promises from the governing administration to begin operating an ERP system in 2015, the final decision has been delayed yet again. Following successful DSRC based trials led by Kapsch and Q-Free, Governor Ahok committed to implement a city-wide scheme by the end of 2015. Due to concerns over enforcement and perennial indecision over technology, this has now been pushed back to 2017, with a successful bidder to be chosen some time this year. For a full timeline of events see our article in the latest edition of Tolltrans.
Republicans within the Indiana state legislature will propose a bill allowing for the tolling of major interstate roads; a move which would represent the first in the nation. The chairman of the House Roads Committee, Ed Soliday, estimates that tolling interstates 65 and 70 statewide would generate approximately $365 million per year. This sum is said to be enough to cover maintenance costs indefinitely. According to existing federal legislation, only Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina have been conditionally approved to toll sections of the interstate, meaning that Indiana would have to seek federal approval for any move.
21 December 2015
Estonia opts for time based nationwide truck toll, beginning in 2017
Despite the trend for GNSS based truck tolling, which is currently sweeping through Europe, Estonia looks set to introduce a time based charge from 2017 onwards. Details at this stage are fairly limited, however the preference of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is for a scheme which covers all roads and avoids the necessary investment of a distance based system. As yet, there is no word on how the charge will be enforced.
Despite ongoing protests surrounding the Russian truck toll, Platon, Vladimir Putin has suggested that the Government could cancel the existing vehicle tax, which could lead to the expansion of Platon to regional roads in order to plug the gap.
17 December 2015
Four groups bidding for new Slovenian national electronic truck toll
The results of the latest tender for a new national Slovenia truck toll have been announced, with Q-Free, Skytoll, Autostrade and Kapsch all bidding. The consortium of Q-Free and and Telekom Slovenia is said to have submitted the lowest bid, with other groups pricing themselves slightly higher, as follows:
- Q-Free and Telekom Slovenia = €99,991,795
- Iskratel and SkyToll = €110,110,296
- Cetis and Autostrade = €114,602,211
- Kapsch TrafficCom = €114,957,604
A technical committee will now review each bid, before a final decision is made. It is uncertain at this stage whether the country will opt for a DSRC or GNSS based system. It appears that SkyToll has submitted a tender for a GNSS based system, modeled on the successful Myto scheme, currently operating in nearby Slovakia. Each of the other three consortia have submitted bids for a Microwave/DSRC based operation.
The city has already announced its intention to begin a congestion charging trial and will consult with the public in order to determine how the charge should be levied. The city is said to be looking very closely at Singapore’s ERP system. Secretary for Transport Anthony Cheung advised that it was, “A question of how and not whether the pricing system should be implemented.”
12 December 2015
Big toll road announced in Cambodia
The route for a planned high-speed tolled highway between Phnom Penh and Bate has been announced. The $2.5 billion project involves the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which supported a similar road tolling project in Sri Lanka, supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Similar projects are being planned in neighbouring Vietnam.
11 December 2015
State senate leader calls for power to toll every road in Michigan
Majority floor leader Mike Kowall has introduced legislation which would provide the senate with the power to toll every road in the state. Bill 627 would allow for tolling and ANPR enforcement on all new and existing roads as long as the road is improved without the approval of state legislature or vote by any elected officials. Michigan currently applies the 6C RFID standard across existing ETC programmes.
9 December 2015
New major toll road coming to Melbourne
The Australian government has announced the construction of a new $5.5 billion toll road in Melbourne, which will connect the western suburbs with the city and the port. The road will be constructed by Transurban and comes in the wake of the company’s recent $2 billion acquisition of the airportlink road in Brisbane. Cars will pay $3 to travel the length of the new road, with HGVs paying a more substantial $13. Toll concessions for Transurban along the road will last between 10-12 years. The project comes with a positive cost benefit ratio of $1.30.
8 December 2015
Indiana may look at tolling interstate to fund roads
Indiana transportation committee chairman Ed Soliday says the state needs to look at the possibility of tolls on interstate highways in order to fund the states roads. The state currently applies Kapsch’s IAG RFID standard on a number of state roads.
The Russian Federal Road Agency may fine Platon operator, RT-Invest, over complexities and lost revenue during the first days of operation. The head of the Agency, Roman Starovoit, has complained that technical complications with the website during the first days of operation led to lost revenue as some haulers delayed trips when they were unable to pay the toll through fear of a fine. There have also been reports of faulty OBUs and further difficulties with the website.
It is possible that the State could be looking for ways to claw back some of the revenue which will be lost as a result of the decision to halve the toll rate. Days before the launch of Platon, the Government was forced to reduce the rate per km from 3.06 RUB to just 1.53 RUB in the face of widespread protest.
The Senate has asked for the reintroduction of tolls across the country’s main highways in order to create an additional source of funding with which to maintain Nigeria’s road network. The tolls would also serve the dual aim of discouraging over use of the highway network.
A number of African states such as Ghana and Zambia have basic cash tolling in place across main highways, however there is very little, if any electronic tolling outside of South Africa; a case which has been well publicised.
A time based levy for HGVs has been in place since 2005, however due to a 1993 bilateral treaty, trucks from both countries enjoyed exempt status. The introduction of Russia’s nationwide GNSS scheme, Platon, has removed this exemption, prompting a similar move in Vilnius.
There are approximately 374 toll plazas in India across the highway network, with the vast majority accepting cash payments. It is claimed that congestion and delays at these plazas has led to lost economic activity. India is planning to introduce ETC on all new highways and at least one ETC only lane at all existing plazas.
In order to better manage congestion in and around the Capital, members of the London Assembly have presented plans for a large number of new bridges across the river Thames. Full ETC was recently installed at the Dartford Crossing in East London in an effort to reduce congestion at the bridge.
ETC integrator Xerox has begun legal action in a New Hampshire court following the state’s decision to award a key contract to a rival bidder. Xerox argues that the winning bid from Cubic was more expensive and that the company has no experience in the tolling sector.
2 December 2015
Malaysia begins implementing full ETC across four major highways
From 13th January onwards, drivers will no longer be able to use cash payments at 10 toll plazas across four main highways. Beginning at 12.00 noon, drivers will only be able to pay for their tolls with either a PlusMiles payment card or the Touch n Go SmartTAG.
Malaysia currently operates an infrared based tolling network, supplied by EFKON, however plans are underway to move to an RFID based network, which could also support the introduction of congestion charging in Kuala Lumpur and nationwide additional services such as stolen vehicle tracking.
The Indian Government has created a new public/private organisation, the Indian Highways Management Company Ltd, which is charged with installing ETC on all Indian highways by 31 March 2016. The system will be RFID based and is likely to mirror the FASTag scheme already in operation along the NH-8 expressway between Delhi and Mumbai.
The Government has also mandated the use of ETC on all new highway projects.
Between 15 – 23 November, the world’s largest GNSS scheme has raised over €5 million (RUB 366 million), albeit mostly through route maps and single payments. The Federal Road Agency have issued an updated set of figures, which state that the number of active HGVs on Russia’s roads is actually much lower than previously suggested. Initially, there were thought to be approximately 1.8 million trucks weighing over 12 tonnes in Russia, however the Agency claims a large number are ‘outdated and no longer operational,’ reducing the figure to around 1 million.
If the figures are true, over 60% of eligible HGVs have now registered with the scheme, although, as detailed in our blog, there is still an inadequate number of available OBUs. Perhaps in recognition of this, the State Duma has moved to significantly reduce the fine for non-payment of the charge. First time offenders will now be fined 5,000RUB (€71), as opposed to the RUB450,000 (€6,400) first applied.
Initial protests, which were staged across the country, appear to be subsiding. The numerous cyber attacks targeted at the Platon website during its first week also appear to have been unsuccessful in disrupting the scheme.
Transurban now has complete or partial ownership of all six Brisbane toll roads, as well as six of out the eight roads in New South Wales and 50% of those in Victoria. Three new toll roads are currently being constructed in New South Wales, all of which Transurban is expected to have a stake in.
These developments follow a recent surge in news coverage regarding road charging in Australia, with numerous groups calling for changes in the way roads are funded. Alongside new tolled infrastructure, there is growing talk of a nationwide HGV toll. MLFF DSRC systems supplied by Kapsch are currently in use around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, although many of the 6 million tags are approaching their end of life. Siemens have conducted GNSS based field trials in the past, which would seem well suited for road charging on a wider scale in a country as expansive as Australia. Innovative new players such as EROAD have also shown how GNSS tolling can be integrated into telematics devices in order to create a more attractive offering for HGV operators across the country.
The launch marks another foray into smartphone applications for Kapsch, who have also developed an app designed for video tolling installations.
The order bolsters Q-Free’s presence in the growing South American market. Earlier this year, the Norwegian technology provider announced a separate deal for 60,000 RFID tags in Brazil, which has begun to move away from DSRC.
There is no word, however, on what relation this would have to existing tolling schemes. Ireland has been very successful with its roll out of DSRC based charging and is the first national authority to implement a fully EETS enabled hub.
20 November 2015
Kentucky latest US state to sign up to E-ZPass network
The Kentucky Public Transport Infrastructure Authority confirms E-ZPass for the new Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River bridges project. E-ZPass, which uses Kapsch’s open standard IAG RFID protocol, is now supported by 26 member agencies in 15 US states, including five of the seven states which border Kentucky.
According to Russian media, the Platon website was shut down by hackers on Monday, leaving many without the means to pay the per km charge. Operator RT-Invest has stressed that no user data has been compromised. In spite of these early problems, the world’s largest GNSS road user charge generated over RUB 35 million (€504,000) during its first day of operation.
Malaysian deputy transport minister Datum Aziz Kaprawi has expressed interest in the Soutn Korean ITS system, adding that such as system would compliment the Government’s blueprint for a future speedy, convenient and safe transport system. The South Korean ITS framework incorporates a mix of DSRC and IR electronic tolling. Malaysia is already planning to roll out RFID tags for all vehicles beginning in 2017. These tags will also be used to introduce congestion charging in Kuala Lumpur.
16 November 2015
The world’s largest GNSS road charging scheme has begun
On 15th November, Russia formally began collecting a distance based charge from trucks weighing over 12 tonnes across more than 50,000km of the nation’s highways. As the story reveals, many practical aspects of the charge have not yet been completed and fewer than 30% of the estimated HGVs in Russia have registered for the scheme.
Both fuel card operators have entered the market and will begin providing toll payment services upon introduction of the scheme, which begins on 15th November.
The Czech Republic is enjoying a surge in tolling income and activity. In October, the MYTO CZ programme generated revenues of Kč 899 million (€33.3 million); an 11 per cent increase on the previous year. Total revenue in 2014 was approximately Kč8.7bn (€322 million). At the end of October, revenue for 2015 had already reached Kč7.4bn (€275 million). If the current growth continues, MYTO CZ will end the year with revenues of around Kč9.7bn (€357 million). Since its inception nine years ago, the system has registered more than 830,000 on board units (OBUs) and demand is growing at a rate of roughly 7,000 per month.
The California Department for Transportation has issued a RFP for its planned road user charging distance based pilot scheme. The programme is likely to mirror the pilot scheme currently underway in Oregon. Proposals are due by Friday 4 December. The RFP includes some interesting elements such as smartphone and telematics based mileage reporting.
In an attempt to counter growing dissent and protests from haulers, Prime Minister Medvedev has signed a decree halving the Russian HGV per km charge for the first three months of operation. The rate will then rise to 3.06 RUB for the following two years, after which it will revert to the originally planned rate of 3.73 RUB. The decree also relaxes the position towards OBUs, sales of which have been very disappointing. Three days ahead of the launch, sources say that only 16 per cent of trucks have registered for the scheme.
Transport Secretary Mark Gottlieb has asked the state to investigate the feasibility of tolling in order to support investment in the states roads.
The market for OBUs in the Czech Republic is said to be growing at rate of more than 7,000 per month amid fears that supply is not meeting demand. The Czech government has ordered an additional 114,000 OBUs, but there are concerns that these will not be delivered in time.
Current Czech toll integrator Kapsch has suggested that the timeline laid out for the tender of a new three year contract is unrealistic. The existing 10 year contract with Kapsch comes to an end in December 2016. The proposed plan is to launch a tender in early 2016, with a bidder confirmed by October, giving the successful company three months to have everything in place.
The federal audit office has cast further doubt over the planned introduction of the nationwide car toll, citing concerns and risks regarding the projected income from the scheme. There were also concerns over the enforcement measures behind the scheme.
Concerns regarding the accuracy of the OBU and the general cost of the system have led a large number of haulers to protest against the introduction of the planned HGV toll, which begins on 15 November. If concerns are not addressed, hauliers have threatened to stop all transport starting from 14 November.
The Chair of the Transportation and Public Safety Budget state committee J.R. Claeys has suggested that open road tolling will be introduced on already tolled sections of I-35 and I-70 within 18 months. The move will utilize existing KL-Tags, which host the TransCore 6B protocol. There are no current plans to expand the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
The open standard joins Kapsch’s other RFID frequency, 6C, in the race to become the United States’ national tolling protocol.
Several German newspapers are suggesting that a breakdown in the political relationship between Angela Merkel’s CDU party and the Bavarian CSU could lead to the abandonment of the proposed national car toll. The scheme is currently being challenged by the European Commission, who say that the proposal will discriminate against other European nationals.
In a potential change of policy, the governor of Jakarta has suggested that the introduction of GPS based road charging would be more cost effective and therefore preferable to the already proposed DSRC scheme. His comments were made on his return from an official trip to Singapore. Two DSRC trials have already taken place, which were managed by Kapsch and Q-Free.
The German federal government has called on existing operator Toll Collect to submit a bid for a technical upgrade of the existing system, which would support the planned expansion of the scheme in 2018 regardless of the outcome of the necessary operational tender.
The Zambian roads agency is increasing the pool of applicable vehicles as it continues to implement a user pays principle. A series of toll booths and plazas are currently being constructed across the country.
Under the existing tolling pilot programme, Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina have been conditionally approved to toll sections of the interstate, however these projects have not moved forward at all. The amended legislation includes a ‘use it or lose it’ provision, which creates a three year time period for conditionally approved projects to either move forward or face being scrapped. Importantly, the House Bill does not expand the number of proposed tolling pilots, not does it allow for funds to be diverted to other purposes.
A very interesting and detailed article about the roll of road tolling within the connected vehicle landscape. The article also includes information about how variable road pricing will contribute towards fully integrated ITS solutions in the future.
20 October 2015
US service provider HELP Inc launches new ElitePass transponder
The newly launched device will enable the payment of tolls in more than 20 states with one OBU. The device also allows for weigh in motion at toll sites across the country.