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Electronic toll collection global news
The PTOLEMUS research team is tracking important developments in the Electronic toll collection industry on a daily basis, take a look to see what the latest news is in ETC.
We are delighted to announce the update to the Electronic Toll Collection Global Study is now available, see this link to find out more…
28 January 2020
Council sets out finance framework ahead of clean air zone introduction
The clean air zone is launching in Bath on November 4th based on a framework designed for scaling to other cities.
20 January 2020
LEAK: Commission considers facial recognition ban in AI ‘white paper’
The EU is apparently considering a temporary ban on facial recognition software in public spaces while impact assessments are carried out and regulation is drafted. The ban could delay the rollout of planned AI projects.
“The document adds that the “use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces would be prohibited for a definite period (e.g. 3–5 years) during which a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed.”
25 December 2019
Brussels wants to introduce road-pricing
Brussels may be proposing a new congestion charge scheme to reduce traffic and drive demand to the public transportation system.
12 December 2019
New Czechtoll road usage charge scheme rolls out in the Czech Republic
The billion crown Czechtoll program has launched and had already collected 4 million crowns by 1pm on Sunday. On the first day no significant issues related to traffic, or transition from the previous DSRc system, were identified.
14 October 2019
Abu Dhabi road toll charges only from New Year
The Integrated Transport Center (ITC), a regulator of transport in Abu Dhabi, announced that the Emirate toll system will be implemented on 15 October.
12 October 2019
UK Parliament to start national conversation on road pricing
The UK’s House of Commons Transport Select Committee announced that it wants to go ahead and start the public conversation on road pricing. The Committee will begin official deliberations on the matter in 2020.
6 September 2019
Half of toll collections to come via e-transactions
Worldline Global in India estimates that over 50% of all toll transactions in India will be processed electronically by 2020. The Government has included increased electronic payments in its policy goals in an effort to move away from cash-based commerce.
26 August 2019
About BGN 600 Million Expected as Revenues from Toll System in Bulgaria
About BGN 600 million is expected as revenue from the toll system, Prof. Oleg Asenov of the National Toll Administration said at a press conference at the Research Institute of Construction, Focus News Agency reported. “The law says that by March 1, we have to start the payment system. The tariff we set is the last tariff that was discussed at the public council meeting,” Asenov said.
He said the first payment for the system had been made, 50% of the total amount. He further said that the money that has been allocated so far is partly related to the contract itself and partly to direct expenses of the toll administration. “As soon as we are ready, we will immediately start the interoperability procedure,” he said, adding that the new system would help haulers to make a tariff analysis. “For a combined journey of 368 km, they will pay 73 levs”, he said.
7 August 2019
Action Needed on Electric Vehicle Road User Charging
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has joined in the movement to request that that Government implement a road usage charge for electric vehicles arguing that electric vehicles do no pay their fair share for road use. This comes on the tails of the implementation of new road user charging tests for the heavy goods vehicles that the ATA represents.
1 August 2019
EETS Provider remuneration rates and the battle with Germany
The European Commission issued a letter of formal notice to Germany to address its EETS remuneration rate, which the EC believes it too low to allow EETS providers to operate there and is unfair and discriminatory.
28 July 2019
Traffic reduction falls far short of target in Tokyo highway test
Tokyo will implement a congestion charge on the Metropolitan Expressway to address traffic volumes during the 2020 Summer Olympics. So far, tests of the scheme have not resulted in the 30% reduction that is required.
26 July 2019
Heavy Vehicle Road User Charging Trials to Begin
The Australian government will begin the first stage of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot this month, but stated that the implementation of a new scheme could be years away. “Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz says the initial Small Scale On-Road Trial will not involve payment of charges and will assess an alternative form of heavy vehicle charging using mock invoices generated by on-board technology that measures the distance travelled by heavy vehicles.”
02 July 2019
Italy Panel Backs Revoking Autostrade Highway Concession
Italy’s government took a preliminary step toward the possible unilateral revocation of a motorway concession held by Autostrade per l’Italia SpAafter the deadly collapse of a bridge in Genoa last August. arm Atlantia SpA, was in “non-fulfillment of custody and maintenance obligations” and that “these defaults have the character of gravity,” according to a document viewed by Bloomberg News.
25 June 2019
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Expands Road-Usage Charge Program
Oregon Department of Transportation is expanding their voluntary RUC program to unlimited vehicles after success in the initial trials. The voluntary program, which was initially limited to 5,000 vehicles, will now be open to all drivers who are interested. To qualify for the program, a vehicle must get 20 miles or more to the gallon. The goal of this program is to ensure that drivers with highly efficient vehicles also pay for their fair share for the use of the road and to cover the funding gaps from dwindling fuel taxes.
24 June 2019
The new toll system will managed by Czechtoll from the Artgen building in Prague/a>
Czechtoll, part of the consortium that won the bid to convert the Czech Republic’s DSRC toll scheme to GNSS, announced last month that the project was close to launch. CEO Matej Okáli stated, “We have already completed 90 percent of the satellite toll system. It will be fully completed in August, when we start the operational tests. We have contracts with all the suppliers and a number of tests involving the partial components of the entire system are underway. More than 250,000 new on-board units have been produced.” Czechtoll, a PPF Group company, joined in consortium with Slovak toll operator SkyToll, a.s. to bid on the project. SkyToll is the guarantor for the construction and operation of the system; CzechToll is funding the project and will become the toll system operator.
12 June 2019
PM urges acceleration of electronic toll fee collection
The Minister of Transport in Vietnam is pushing to ensure that ETC rollout across the country in time for the December deadline. So far, more than 700,000 tags have been given to drivers.
5 June 2019
Sanral launches cashless parking for e-toll users
The new Sanral app will have a “new parking feature, which is an opt-in service on the app, enables users to park at 34 different KaChing operated parking lots without the need for a paper ticket or cash,” said Sanral.
28 May 2019
Update on FCC 5.9 GHz band rule-making
FCC to begin a rule-making session to address the potential to update DSRC bandwidth rules which could allow for increased interaction with Wifi and an update to how we have expected V2X to rollout.
China to implement major initiative to accelerate electronic toll collection
Beijing is taking drastic measures to accelerate adoption of electronic toll collection (ETC) devices in the country’s motorway networks by offering drivers who use the system discounts of at least 5%, said the Ministry of Transport in an announcement released Monday.
21 May 2019
Emovis to implement Utah’s RUC scheme for alternative fuel vehicles
Emovis has now been selected to serve as the commercial account manager for the Utah AFV RUC program. The company is the smart mobility services and technology arm of the Spanish toll road operator Abertis, which manages over 5,300 miles (8,600km) of high-capacity highways across 15 countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
16 May 2019
Guizhou spearheads mobile payment in west China
It has been disclosed by Guizhou Provincial Transportation Department that from the beginning of 2019, WeChat payment will be available at all 441 toll stations on highways in Guizhou. It will only take five seconds to pay via a QR code and pass through the toll station.
25 April 2019
Tech Group Proposes National US RUC scheme
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation head to Capitol Hill to propose a nationwide road usage charge to replace the federal gas tax. Congress is currently in discussion to determine whether or not to refund the MAP-21 transportation bill, and how to address an increasing decline in infrastructure funding.
31 March 2019
New York State becomes the first to unveil a congestion charge
The New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday agreed to a $175 billion budget on Sunday, which includes a new congestion pricing policy that would charge a fee to vehicles traveling south of 60th Street, the New York Times reports.
26 March 2019
Telepass becomes the first EETS providers to earn Suitability for Use certification in Germany
On March 26th, Telepass S.p.A officially obtained the “Suitability for Use” certificate by the German Federal Office For Goods Transport (BAG), making it the first European operator to be certified in Germany for the European Electronic Toll Service. The signing of the contract with the BAG for entry into operation is expected in the coming days.
26 March 2019
Ficosa and Panasonic announced they are co-developing an interior rear-view mirror integrating electronic toll collection (ETC) 2.0 for BMW’s new X5 model in Japan.
The ETC 2.0 Interior rear-view mirror, which includes an improved built-in unit for motorway tolls automatic payment, has been selected by the German manufacturer as a standard in Japan for its new BMW X5. This vision solution will be developed and produced between Japan (Panasonic) and Barcelona, Spain (Ficosa). For this new rear-view mirror generation, Panasonic will develop the ETC wireless communication technology while Ficosa is in charge of the mirror technology.
By integrating the ETC 2.0 module into the mirror, the new solution prevents the payment unit from obstructing the driver’s view. The mirror has a slot where the driver can insert the credit card and a small screen at the top reports the amount to be paid.
“This additional functionality goes beyond the simple payment, as the mirror communicates with the toll station and is able to transmit this information to the navigation system of the vehicle, complementing the communication vehicle-infrastructure (V2I)”, explained Mercedes Pujol, Director of the Rearview Mirror Systems Business Unit at Ficosa.
04 March 2019
Unpaid road tolls soon easier to recover thanks to new electronic road toll rules
The Council of the European Union voted this week to go ahead with the development of an information-sharing system to increase enforcement of unpaid tolls.
It seems like it will following a clearing-house model, which is already successful in Ireland and underdevelopment in the United States through the Alliance for Toll Interoperability, among other places. The system should be operable within 30 months.
1 March 2019
Interoperability of Tolls is Key in Brazil
The BR-500 Consortium (which includes Accenture Brasil, Dynatest Region Sudamérica (DSA), BCW Global, and Moysés & Pires Sociedade de Advogados) in collaboration with the Brasilian development bank BNDES have released the results of recent technical studies that supports the highly discussed argument that a standardized #RFID protocol might be the best option for national interoperability.
23 February 2019
Government’s Rationale to acquire tolled highways
The government of Malaysia has begun discussions with road operator and concessionaire Gamuda Berhad to privatise several tolled highways and move towards congestion pricing and non-peak discounts.
Easing tolls was a main point of the Pakatan Harapan elected party platform and voters are demanding action. But, could the threat of nationalisation affect the ability to attract future investors in infrastructure projects?
11 February 2019
MSTS Becomes First FinTech Company to be Approved as European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Provider
MASA Tolls has just become the 9th company, and first Fintech company, to register as a European Electronic Toll Service Provider (EETS) in an increasingly crowded market.
17 January 2019
Jakarta electronic road pricing tender delayed yet again
The long awaited introduction of electronic road pricing (ERP) in Indonesia’s congested capital Jakarta is now unlikely to take place in 2019, or perhaps at all. Following years of legal, political and administrative delays, ERP was expected to be introduced in May of this year, however this is no longer the case. It is further reported that both Kapsch and Q-Free (who conducted ERP trials as long ago as 2014) have each withdrawn from the tender process, leaving Indonesia’s own PT Bali Towerindo Sentra (Bali Tower) as the sole remaining bidder. At this stage, it would not be a surprise if ERP ends up being delayed indefinitely.
15 January 2019
Toll Collect will remain in public hands indefinitely
According to Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, “The federal government will raise the truck toll in the future. The result of the economic feasibility study is clear: the operation of the toll system by the federal government is more economical under the current framework conditions than the allocation to a private operator.”
12 January 2019
Reports suggest that the LKW MAUT will remain in public hands indefinitely
Unconfirmed media reports over the weekend have suggested that Germany’s LKW MAUT will remain in public hands for the foreseeable future. Rumours are that Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has determined to maintain public ownership of the multi-billion Euro scheme, rather than return it to private hands. If true, this is bad news for the remaining consortia hoping to win a new long term operational tender. These include:
- T-Systems/Vinci (Toll Collect consortium)
8 January 2019
Bank neutral and value added service ETC tags come to India
In an extension of the existing national RFID based FASTag scheme, the Indian Highways Management Company has launched a new bank neutral tag, which can be linked with any payment card or bank account. First launched by ICICI Bank in 2014, FASTags previously had to be linked to an account with the issuing bank. From January this is no longer the case. Moreover, in the future, the RFID tag will be used to pay for other vehicle services such as fuel and parking. These developments come as smartphone based payment apps are also emerging in India, which will force tag based providers to offer a more value added service in order to compete.
3 January 201
A look back on 2018
2018 was a busy and exciting year in the world of tolling and road user charging with the entry of new payment apps such as WeChat Pay Alipay in China, significant growth of dedicated service providers such as Pagatelia and Bip & Drive, S.A. in Europe, the beginnings of full in-vehicle integration of tolling devices and services by Audi AG and FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and significant developments in smartphone based tolling by players including PayTollo BancPass Inc. and Transurban 2019 looks set to be yet another year of rapid change and innovation with numerous countries set to launch new schemes, extend networks and resolve outstanding tenders.
Key developments are set to include the final resolution of Germany’s LKWMAUToperational tender (will or won’t it remain in public hands…), widespread technology shift in Malaysia and South Korea, the full launch of GNSS HGV tolling in Bulgaria and new concessions contracts in Greece and Ukraine.
19 December 2018
CTS Eventim wins tender to collect German PKW MAUT
In one of the most forward thinking and innovative public tender results of recent times, the contract to collect the planned German car toll has been won by music industry ticketing giant CTS Eventim. As part of a 50/50 joint venture with Kapsch (who will provide the infrastructure and enforcement for the toll) ticketing experts Eventim will collect billions in Euros each year on behalf of the German state. The decision appears to have been made on the basis of Eventim’s ability to reach a large number of customers across multiple countries, languages and, most importantly, digital channels. As we have argued in our recently published Electronic Tolling Global Study, future toll service providers will not necessarily come from traditional areas as the ability to access customers through digital channels becomes just as important as specific tolling expertise. As we have argued, it is the ability to directly access and communicate with large groups of potential customers/users via consumer devices and channels which will matter more and more. Whether the provider is offering payments for music, coffee or tolls will not matter.
17 December 2018
Q-Free withdraws from Jakarta ERP tender
Having pursued the project for more than 4 years, Q-Free has reportedly withdrawn from the electronic road pricing (ERP) tender process in Jakarta due to ongoing uncertainty over the tender. Along with Kapsch, Q-Free tool part in DSRC based trials in Jakarta back in 2014, but sees problems with the profitability and viability of the project, which should come as no surprise given the repeated delays and problems associated with the project. The Jakarta ERP project has been repeatedly delayed for technical, practical and bureaucratic reasons, including projected problems with enforcement and lack of a decision concerning the charging technology. The Jakarta administration remains adamant that ERP will be introduced in 2019, but this remains to be seen.
12 December 2018
Toll4Europe becomes 5th certified EETS provider in Belgium
Following in the footsteps of Axxes, Eurotoll, Total and Telepass, Toll4Europe, Germany’s first EETS provider backed by Daimler, Shell, T-Systems and DKV, has been accepted by the 3 regional governments as a service provider. We expect Eurowag to become the 6th provider very soon, followed (or perhaps preceded by) tolltickets.
4 December 2018
Federal Ministry of Transport extends Toll Collect transition period to summer 2019
It is perhaps unsurprising, although there now appears to be confirmation that Toll Collect will remain in public hands for at least another 6 months; past the original deadline of March 2019. The date for the final tender submission has already been extended several times. Previously, a date of mid-October was set for receipt of final tenders, however it is reported that this has now been pushed once again to mid-December. The exact list is unconfirmed, however the 4 remaining bidders are thought to be:
- T-Systems/Vinci (Toll Collect consortium)
The reasons behind these continued delays are many and varied, however perhaps the most important outcome is that political backing for permanent nationalisation seems to be building. While Germany’s LKW MAUT is just one of a growing number of HGV tolls in Europe, it is hard to overstate its importance. Not only does it account for more than one third of total ETC HGV receipts, but has also acted as template for other country’s schemes (particularly Belgium). Germany is also engaged in a parallel discussion concerning EETS remuneration with the 8 providers, the results of which could also have wider implications.
14 November 2018
Poland finally announces plans to replace DSRC with GNSS based tolling
While it has long been rumoured and discussed, Poland’s Ministries of Digitisation and Infrastructure have finally confirmed the replacement of DSRC with GNSS based tolling. Under the Institute of Communications, Poland plans to launch a new, EETS compatible GNSS solution while utilising the existing ViaTOLL infrastructure for enforcement and collection. While not explicitly stated, the announcement further suggests that the the new system will fully integrate the 3, currently independently tolled concessions, the A1, A2 and A4. No date has yet been attached to the delivery of this new scheme.
9 November 2018
Dutch Cabinet approves starting points for new nationwide HGV toll starting in 2023
The Netherlands is set to join Germany, Belgium, Poland etc., in implementing a nationwide tolling scheme for both foreign and national HGVs from 2023 onwards. The new levy will apply to HGVs >3.5t, in line with the common standard applied across numerous European countries. Agricultural and construction vehicles and buses will be exempt from the charge. The toll will be applied across all motorways (roughly 2,300km) and ask, as yet undefined, number of local and regional roads. The toll will not apply on roads that already have tolls, which is mainly limited to the 6.6km long Westerscheldetunnel and 2 new projects of similar length which will open around the same time. Similarly to Belgium and Germany, the price per km will be determined according to the environmental characteristics of each vehicle – we expect the average rate of €0.15 across both of these countries to be similar to the final Netherlands rate.
31 October 2018
Polish General Inspectorate of Road Transport (GIRT) signs new contract with Kapsch shortly before nationalisation of viaTOLL
With Kapsch’s existing operational contract set to come to an end on 3 November, the complete nationalisation of the viaTOLL system has long been planned. However, just a few days before the handover, it has been reported that Kapsch has signed a new contract with the GIRT to perform maintenance and supervision of the viaTOLL system infrastructure. This new contract is said to run until end January 2021, although this could be shortened or prolonged by 6 months. It further appears that, as a knock on effect of the current changes, the integration of existing concessions, such as the A2 and A4, into the viaTOLL network will not happen anytime soon.
30 October 2018
New ETC tag set to launch in Brazil
New RFID tag from Greenpass set to become the 5th major ETC provider in the booming Brazilian market for ETC tolling. The fantastically named ‘Taggy’ will compete alongside existing providers Sem Parar, Veloe, ConectCar and Move Mais
26 October 2018
OMV partners with Kapsch and tolltickets to deliver EETS services
As the pace of EETS related acquisitions and partnerships continues unabated, Austrian fuel card issuer OMV has announced a partnership with Kapsch and its subsidiary tolltickets to deliver EETS services via the new service OMV Smart Toll Europe. The EETS service is expected to launch in Austria and Hungary in November 2018 before expanding to other European toll domains thereafter.
25 October 2018
France plans to allow all medium and large cities to implement congestion charging
As part of the mammoth sized new mobility and transit bill, which is due to be voted on in Spring 2019, all cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants would be empowered to launch their own congestion charging schemes. Although devolving decision making powers on whether to launch a scheme, the bill also caps the amounts which can be levied. Cities of between 100,000 – 500,000 inhabitants would be able to charge no more than €2.50 for passenger cars and €10 for large trucks each time then enter the charged zone. Cities above 500,000 will be able charge no more than €5 for passenger cars and €20 for trucks. Accompanying the bill could be a tax break for individuals choosing to car pool. The bill also seems to suggest that technology choice will also lay with the local authority.
23 October 2018
World’s longest tolled bridge opens to (some) traffic
More than 7 years after construction first began, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Bridge – the world’s longest sea crossing and longest tolled bridge – has officially opened. With a total cost of over $20 billion, the mega project will be partially paid for through tolls. However, tolls are being kept artificially low at between 60 – 300 yuan ($8.5 – $43) and only expected to generate roughly $86 million per year. This is because those wishing to cross the bridge will have to obtain special permits and only 9,200 vehicles are expected to cross the bridge each day. According to reports, tolls will be used to help repay a 5.35 billion yuan ($770 million) loan taken out by the bridge authority to fund cost overruns.
18 October 2018
Edenred/UTA acquire Road Account portfolio from Lufthansa AirPlus
Less than 24 hours after it was announced that Shell had acquired 15% of Toll4Europe, Edenred has revealed that it has acquired Lufthansa AirPlus’ Road Account toll payment business on behalf of UTA. Road Account has approximately 2,500 direct clients, predominantly in Germany, in addition to a large network or re-sellers across Eastern Europe. The move is designed to consolidate UTA’s position in the European toll payments space. UTA recently extended its existing partnership with Telepass and will re-sell the Autostrade Tech manufactured EETS device, albeit under the UTA brand.
17 October 2018
Shell acquires 15% stake in EETS provider Toll4Europe
In a deal which could have significant implications for the European tolling/EETS market, Shell acquires 15% stake in Toll4Europe which also counts Daimler, DKV and T-Systems as shareholders. The new company structure will see T-systems retain 55% of the business with Shell, Daimler and DKV all holding 15%. This is a rare example of two large fuel card issuers working together on EETS. One would expect this also brings to an end Shell‘s EETS re-sale partnership with Axxès but this is unconfirmed.
12 October 2018
SiriusXM subsidiary Automatic acquires smartphone based payments provider PayTollo
The acquisition of PayTollo by connected car services platform provider Automatic could represent a new boost in the move towards smartphone based tolling in the US. Currently accepted in California and Florida, PayTollo uses the GPS technology in a driver’s smartphone to send toll payment notices, which are automatically debited from the user’s prepaid account, thus removing the need for an RFID tag. The purchasing company Automatic, was itself acquired by SiriusXM in 2017 and delivers a range of GPS enabled connected car services such as vehicle geolocation and engine diagnostics via an OBD device. The two companies have already been working together to enable tolling payments via the Automatic OBD device, so an acquisition was the next logical step.
10 October 2018
Kapsch awarded contract for German PKW MAUT (Car Toll)
After a long and challenged process the German car toll (PKW MAUT) finally has a supplier. Kapsch has been selected as the winning bidder and will build and enforce the new e-vignette for an initial period of 12 years, although this can also be extended to 15. The contract value is a reported €120 million, depending on performance. The award of the contract comes with a wonderful sense of irony given that Kapsch is one of Austria’s largest companies and the Austrian state continues to pursue legal action against the introduction of the toll on the grounds of discrimination.
9 October 2018
Ride hailing apps Uber and Lyft come out in favour of congestion pricing in Seattle
Coming soon after plans were announced to implement a surcharge for taxi and ride hailing journeys in New York, Seattle is said to be considering something similar. In an effort to shift the focus, Uber has announced a $10 million fund, to be spent lobbying for and promoting ‘sustainable mobility’ policies in cities – i.e. congestion charging or urban tolling – as opposed to specific levies on taxis and ride hailing vehicles, as is the case in New York. There is now a growing body of evidence showing that the rapid rise of ride hailing (Uber, Lyft, Juno etc.) vehicles on the road, particularly in downtown and central areas, is in fact the primary cause of increased congestion. From 1 January 2019 onwards, ride hailing vehicles will have to pay a fixed levy of $2.75 per trip when travelling South of 96th Street, regardless of the time or day. In comparison, London’s congestion charge is levied at a fixed rate of £11.50 ($15) and only operates between the hours of 07.00 – 18.00. Thus, an Uber driver would only have to complete 5 trips per day under New York rules before reaching the London congestion charge. Coupled with the fact that Uber also sees peak hours during the evening and early morning and reasons behind a preference for congestion pricing over a per ride surcharge become clear.
5 October 2018
Bulgaria’s long awaited nationwide HGV toll will launch in 2019
Following multiple delays and numerous legal challenges Bulgaria’s long awaited HGV toll and e-vignette schemes will launch next year. On 1 January the e-vignette will launch, followed by the GNSS based toll for trucks from 16 August onwards – ostensibly the e-vignette will replace the existing manual vignette scheme for passenger cars <3.5t, however, due to differing launch dates for the two schemes, trucks >3.5t will also have to purchase an e-vignette at least until 15 August. Similarly to the Hungarian Hu-Go programme, Bulgaria’s HGV toll will enable a completely open device market. It is not yet known whether Kapsch will also provide a specific device of its own.
27 September 2018
New poll suggests majority of Australians favour dynamic road pricing
A majority of Australians support replacing existing road usage charges with a system more directly linked to the distance and time of day they travel, according to a University of Sydney Business School survey. The quarterly Transport Opinion Survey conducted by the Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) found that seven out of ten Australians support the replacement of existing fuel excises with a charge based on distance driven.
Six in ten people surveyed said they would be willing to pay five cents for every kilometre they drive in capital cities during the weekday peak periods in return for removal of registration fees. However, it is noted that such support and willingness to change is based entirely on any new regime being cost neutral.
24 September 2018
French Government said to be considering new vignette aimed at foreign trucks
Four years after the failure of the Ecotaxe, the French Government is once again exploring the possibility of a national HGV toll – this time in the form of a vignette targeted solely at foreign vehicles. According to the Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy, a vignette based scheme is now under consideration and could even be implemented within the next 1 – 2 years, although this seems unlikely. In theory, any tax or road charge aimed solely at foreign drivers is discriminatory and illegal under EU rules, however both the UK and German governments have pursued similar schemes targeting foreign drivers though the HGV Levy and PKW MAUT (Car Toll), respectively, despite EU objections. While Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne has been clear that there will be no return to the Ecotaxe as it was originally envisaged, some other kind of nationwide HGV charging scheme seems increasingly possible, if not yet probable. France does not have the same level of foreign HGV traffic as larger transit countries such as Belgium, Austria, Germany, Slovakia etc., although we estimate approximately 25% of HGV miles are driven by non-French trucks.
20 September 2018
Czech Republic re-confirms 10-year operational contract with CzechToll/SkyToll consortium following rejection of Kapsch legal challenge
In what may or may not bring an end to the tender procedure in Czech Republic, the Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS) has rejected legal challenge by current operator Kapsch concerning the winning bid from the CzechToll/SkyToll consortium. The winning consortia has now signed a 10 year operational contract which will begin on 1 January 2020. Despite the relatively short lead time, the Czech transport ministry remain committed to replacing the existing DSRC system with a GNSS system. SkyToll is already responsible for the operation of a fully GNSS system in Slovakia. The change of technology will also support an expansion of the existing network and, as a result, higher tolling receipts. The existing system collects roughly €400 million in tolls from HGVs per year.
18 September 2018
Future of LKW MAUT no closer to a resolution as final tender submission date extended to October
Despite Toll Collect having now officially entered public ownership, the future of the scheme remains uncertain and undecided. With a new private operator yet to be determined, companies including T-Systems, Autostrade per l’italia, SkyToll, IBM, Continental and Abertis remain engaged in the tender process and now have until October to submit their final proposals. The key question however, remains whether Germany’s LKW MAUT will indeed be re-privatised at all. Poland has committed to assuming public ownership of its own (DSRC) truck toll, ViaTOLL, in November when the current operating contract with Kapsch comes to an end. In Germany, there seems to be growing momentum behind the Federal Government making a similar move. Although not part of the governing coalition, the Greens (who occupy 67 of the 709 seats) have supported continued public ownership of the toll and there are rumours that the SPD, which is part of the governing coalition, may be similarly inclined. For now, it is clear that operation of the LKW MAUT will remain in public hands for quite some time. An initially proposed period of 6 months seems increasingly unrealistic given that only one of the 4 shortlisted consortia (assuming Autostrade and Abertis remain under separate bids) has experience of running the toll. If companies have until October to submit their final proposals, we can expect a further 2 – 3 months for the bids to be reviewed, followed by any potential legal challenges from unsuccessful companies. The longer the toll remains under public ownership, the louder the voices from Green and other Bundestag members for this to remain the case will become. If neighbouring Poland is able to demonstrate effective public operation of ViaTOLL in the meantime, the voices will grow louder still. In my opinion, the odds of the LKW MAUT returning to private hands is no higher than 50/50. What remains unclear is how this will effect the long-awaited introduction of EETS providers and plans to further lower the weight limit from 7.5 to 3.5 tonnes. All we can do it watch this space…
17 September 2018
Conversation around distance based charging enters national debate in South Africa
While many countries around the world have long been discussing the seemingly inevitable decline in fuel tax revenues the debate has now entered the South African public space for the first time. South Africa has had a troubled relationship with road tolls over the past few years, yet despite this, there are now calls for a much broader political debate concerning potential replacements for the declining gas tax, with distance based road pricing a clear option. South Africa is already home to one of the most mature vehicle telematics markets in the world with a high penetration of GPS enabled devices installed. The country also houses several of the largest telematics suppliers in the world, including Cartrack, Tracker, Mix Telematics and Altech Netstar. If these devices could be leveraged appropriately, it is not hard to see how a GNSS enabled road pricing system could be put in place in a relatively short space of time.
8 August 2018
Electronic road pricing to start in Jakarta in May 2019
In the latest announcement concerning one of the world’s most protracted ETC tenders, the Jakarta Vice Governor has suggested that road pricing could begin by the middle of next year. Following several cancelled tenders, the current RPF has shortlisted 3 companies, one of which will be selected to implement Jakarta’s long awaited ERP scheme over two phases, beginning next year. The identity of these 3 companies is not known, however Kapsch and Q-Free are rumoured to be among them. Both companies contributed to trial phases using DSRC technology in 2014. Kapsch also recently signed an MoU with the neighbouring Provincial Government of West Java.
Throughout the process, officials in the Governor’s office have stressed that both the wining bidder and the winning technology must be tried and tested in other similar environments. This would appear to rule out the use of GNSS technology as has previously been suggested, due to its lack of use across all vehicles in similar, urban environments.
18 July 2018
Atlantia signs agreement with FCA to integrate Telepass devices
The agreement will enable “the gradual integration of Telepass equipment in some Jeep models and aims to leverage the most innovative technological solutions developed by FCA for the” on board connectivity “and the new applications for mobility created by Telepass. The objective is to start from Italy to arrive in other European countries where Atlantia and FCA are present and to extend the range of vehicles involved “. It is expected that this partnership could lead to additional in-vehicle payments for grocery and other ‘drive-thru’ transactions. Telepass Pay is already enabling similar payment based services via a smartphone application in partnership with Bank of Italy.
17 July 2018
ETC tags and telematics to become mandatory for commercial vehicles in India
According to new legislation announced by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, all commercial vehicles in India with a national permit must include both an RFID electronic tolling tag (FASTag) and vehicle tracking (a national permit is a federal authorisation which enables commercial vehicles to transport goods across all states). This follows a previous announcement which mandates the sale of FASTags with all new 4 wheeled vehicles and will further accelerate the already rapidly growing penetration of ETC in India. First launched in September 2014 as a single national RFID protocol, FASTag had a slow start, but its use is expected to rise significantly over the coming years.
16 July 2018
Free flow, distance based charging coming to Croatia
Croatia is set to become the latest European country to install free flow tolling across its existing DSRC network. The Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure is set to award Spain’s IDOM Consulting with a €900,000 contract to research and recommend alternatives to the existing mix of DSRC and manual payment booths, to be implemented post 2020. The main criteria set out in advance by the Ministry are that the new system must be free flow and vehicles charged according to miles driven.
Croatia is a rather unique case as more than 40% of annual revenues are collected during the summer months. Once the contract has been signed, IDOM will have 9 months to complete a thorough study of the potential options, before delivering a recommendation. Total tolling receipts were around €383 million for 2017, a 10% increase compared to the previous year despite there being no changes to the network size of 1,300km.
15 July 2018
Malaysian government set to install RFID at all toll gates from 2019
The government plans to launch RFID at toll gates in 2019 and the Transport Ministry is discussing with Touch ‘n Go to distribute the tags early next year. The RFID tags would be distributed for free to all Malaysian vehicles, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told local reporters. The RFID technology is set to replace TnG cards and eliminate stop time at toll booths.
4 July 2018
Poland’s ViaTOLL marks 7 years of operation
Poland’s DSRC based tolling scheme for HGVs launched on 1 July 2011. In the 7 years since, ViaTOLL has collected more than PLN 10 billion in tolls (€2.28 billion) and has seen the network expand by over 100%. Since launch, the 3,600km long system has been supplied and operated by Kapsch, however from November onwards, the General Inspectorate of Road Transport will assume full responsibility.
1 July 2018
Washington state looks to fund new infrastructure through tolling
Washington state proposes to combine I-405 and Highway 167 into a vast, 40-mile network of both free lanes and toll lanes, and use future toll income on projects up and down the suburban crescent.
27 June 2018
Large new toll road to be completed in Indonesia
The Public Works and Housing Ministry plans to complete the 1,150-kilometer Trans-Java toll road project to connect Merak in Banten with Banyuwangi in East Java in late 2019. Segments of the route totalling 920 km would be in operation by the end of this year, the government has promised, which includes 607 km already in operation.
24 June 2018
Colorado to begin trials of dynamic tolling
Within a few months, existing toll lanes across two major roads in Colorado will host trials of dynamic pricing based on traffic speed and congestion levels. Prices will fluctuate in real time depending on the conditions. It is hoped that such an approach could ease congestion and delays during peak periods by discouraging non-essential trips. Drivers will be alerted of any price increases by overhead signs positioned at the entry to the affected lanes.
18 June 2018
New Spanish Government announces plans to remove 468km of tolls
According to reports in Spain, the new administration will remove tolls across 6 concessions over the next 3 years as the contracts come to an end. The decision will first directly impact around 468km of concessions ending in 2018 and 2019 (see map), representing approximately 14% of the entire Spanish tolled network and an estimated €200 in collected tolls. It is further suggested that this will also act as a precedent for a further 479km of concussions which expire in 2021.This comes after a reduction in toll rates in 2017, which resulted in very weak overall revenue growth from 2016 – 2017. However, as we shall explore in our forthcoming ETC Global Study, the outlook across the rest of Europe remains strong. It has also been suggested that the removal of some national concessions will in fact result in the creation of regional concessions in their place. Catalonia is among the regions said to be keen to create its own tolling network independent of Madrid.
3 June 2018
Rhode Island truck toll to begin operation on 11 June
Following several delays, the Rhode Island truck toll is finally set to begin operations. Installed with RFID antennas supplied by Kapsch, the new scheme is fully interoperable with the existing E-ZPass network. The project is expected to generate approximately $40 – $45 million per year, which will be re-invested in road and bridge maintenance. The truck only scheme is one of very sections of interstate roads which are tolled, although this could change as other states examine the possibility of tolling existing interstate routes. The Trump Administration has also suggested that interstate tolling could be used as a means of generating additional revenue for road infrastructure investment.
25 May 2018
Seven groups pre-qualify for Greece’s Egnatia Odos privatisation tender
Egnatia Odos is the last of Greece’s eight toll road concessions to be privatised and has a total current network length of 648km – the largest in Greece. It is rumoured that this will be extended to at least 880km over the coming years. The concession contract has a length of 35 years and will include the introduction of ETC, which has been delayed following the conclusion of the tender process. Egnatia Odos is the last concession in Greece that does not accept electronic payments. The seven shortlisted groups are as follows:
- Anas International Enterprise
- GEK Terna with Egis Projects
- Freyja Holdings
- Roadis Transportation Holding with Aktor Concessions
- Sichuan Communications Investment Group with Damco Energy
- Vinci Highways-Vinci Concessions with Mytilineos Holdings
22 May 2018
Europe’s newest HGV tolling scheme, DarsGo, issues more than 150,000 devices within first month of operation
DarsGo is Europe’s newest national ETC scheme for HGVs and covers a network of 618km across Slovenia. The scheme – implemented by Q-Free and Slovenia Telekom – likely represents the last new DSRC project for HGVs to be launched in Europe and has been in operation since 1 April. Within this short time, around 150,000 units have already been issued; a high number at least in part due to the current lack of interoperability with other European schemes. Although the number of active units will rise over the coming months, planned interoperability with the EasyGo consortium and other EETS platforms will likely spread demand for OBUs into the future.
18 May 2018
Toll Collect finally reaches settlement with German Government ending 14 year long legal dispute
Following a legal dispute that has lasted 14 years, Toll Collect and the German Government have finally come to a settlement. To put an end to the court battle, Toll Collect has agreed to pay €3.2 billion to the German Treasury. Irrespective of this settlement, Toll Collect will still be nationalised at the end of its current operating contract, which expires at the end of August. It was hoped that a swift resolution to the legal case would expedite the already delayed tender process for a new operator, however it remains highly unlikely that we will see any movement on this front until 2019 at the earliest. In our view, the resolution the case puts Toll Collect back at the front of the pack for the new contract ahead of Autostrade, IBM/Continental and SkyToll, if the German government does not decide to move forward. At this stage it is entirely possible that the LKW MAUT could remain in public hands for the foreseeable future.
11 May 2018
Legal dispute between Toll Collect and German Government close to being settled
An almost 10 year long legal dispute between the operator of the LKW MAUT, Toll Collect, and the German Government over alleged delays and missed revenues could soon be at an end. The dispute is one of several reasons why the tender process for a new operator of Europe’s largest truck tolling scheme has not yet been chosen. The current contract expires at the end of August. Toll Collect is one of four groups shortlisted for the new operational contract, although a period of public ownership and operation of the scheme is still very likely to go ahead. Bringing the process forward will also likely lead to earlier than currently expected entry for EETS providers.
2 May 2018
WeChat joins AliPay in trial to deliver electronic toll payments in world’s biggest market
Highway authorities across China are now working with both WeChat and Alipay to enable free flow payments based on licence plate details, which will be linked to an individual’s WeChat or Alipay account. For now, trials are being held in Henan and Shandong provinces, respectively, however it is hoped that the success of these trials will lead to a nationwide roll-out within the next couple of years. For now, the option is open to anyone, although in future there are plans to link payment options to an individual’s Social Credit Score as part of a new national scheme which is planned for 2020. China already has the longest network of toll roads in the world at over 162,000km, 60% of which are highways. We expect this to grow in the coming years as we will show in the forthcoming update of our ETC global study.
30 April 2018
Chile to embark on large scale implementation of free flow tolling in response to congestion at manual booths
In response to recent public outcry following a series of chronic traffic jams, which have gone viral across Chile, the government has instructed concessionnaires to come up with action plans to implement free flow tolling as soon as possible. Barrier based AET (all electric tolling) as exists in France and Italy, has been ruled out as an option. Initially, the plans will effect tolls roads around the capital, Santiago, however it is thought to be part of a much broader national push towards free flow. Chile already utilises DSRC technology for tolling across a number of concessions. Large scale European concessionaires and ETC suppliers such as Abertis and Q-Free already have multiple contracts across the country.
24 April 2018
Official investigations into competition law could result in Czech ETC tender reset or rerun
As expected, the resolution of the Czech HGV tolling operational tender, which was awarded to the consortium consisting of CzechToll and SkyToll last week, could be challenged. According to local reports, the Office for the Protection of Competition could open an investigation into the tender process and related information provided to shortlisted companies. The Ministry responsible is confident that they have proceeded correctly, however doubts have surfaced and any negative findings could even result in the scrapping of the current decision and a re-run of the process.
20 April 2018
Boston and Seattle consider congestion pricing
Following on from New York’s recent (failed) attempt to introduce congestion pricing, with Boston and Seattle are said to be considering similar measures, with the aim of reducing both congestion and vehicle emissions. The plan for Seattle is said to have the backing of the city Major, however similar political support does not appear to exist in Boston. Despite very few cities across the globe currently running congestion charges, there is a growing momentum behind the measure, particularly as a means to tackle chronic traffic through the use of dynamic charging. Multiple cities in France, China, Germany and South America are said to be considering charges in addition to the likes of London, Milan and Gothenburg, which have been operating (typically) ANPR based schemes for multiple years.
18 April 2018
German PKW MAUT looks set to be delayed but will come before 2021
As is the case with many new tolling schemes, the German PKW MAUT has suffered from numerous false starts and delays. Nonetheless, it now seems as if the e-vignette will be introduced within the time frame of the current government, meaning tolls will be charged before 2021. The nationwide, time-based charge for all passenger vehicles was due to be introduced in 2019, however, as the winner of the operational tender has also not yet been confirmed, the PKW MAUT looks set to begin in mid-2020. The delay will reportedly lead to a shortfall of €720 million in lost revenues. Kapsch, Siemens, Autostrade, IBM and are rumoured to be among the companies bidding to operate the toll.
12 April 2018
SkyToll/CzechToll consortium wins 10 year operational contract for HGV tolling in Czech Republic
Following one of the most protected tender processes in recent memory, the consortium of SkyToll/CzechToll has been announced as the winner of the new 10 year operational contract for HGV tolling in Czech Republic. The consortia beat 3 other groups consisting of Kapsch, National Toll Payment Services Plc and T-Systems. Unsurprisingly, the SkyToll led bid was also the least expensive, with a total cost of Kč 10.79bn (€425.5 million). Current operator Kapsch was around 25% higher with the other two groups higher still. While it was already known, the announcement also fully confirms the shift towards GNSS tolling from 1 January 2020 onwards. Of course, as with all new ETC tenders it is likely that at least one of the losing bidders may challenge the result.
8 April 2018
T-Systems unlikely win Czech 10 year #tolling contract with bid 4x higher than rivals
As we approach the decision date, the likely winner of the new Czech HGV tolling contract – and the party responsible for launching GNSS based technology in the currently DSRC domain – is becoming clearer. According to Czech news reports, the 4 shortlisted consortia have submitted quite different bids, with T-Systems (operator of the German LKW MAUT and Belgium’s Viapass) seemingly pricing itself out of the running with a wildly higher bid than any other. It is important to stress that these bids are unconfirmed and over the entire 10 year contract period:
· Skytoll/Czechtoll offered Kč 10.79bn (€425.5 million)
· Kapsch offered Kč 13.50bn (€532.4 million)
· Hungarian National Toll Payment Services (NÚSZ) offered Kč 14.05bn (€554.1 million)
· T-Systems offered Kč 48.90bn (€1.92 billion)
On price alone, it would seem that SkyToll has placed itself in a very strong position to win the bid, particularly when price has become a central concern following a political storm concerning Kapsch’s operating costs over the last 11 years. SkyToll has also successfully operated the Slovakian GNSS HGV scheme for multiple years and has recent experience in delivering network expansion, which is also being planed in the Czech Republic once the new operator is in place. It is not known whether these bids include the cost of devices, particularly as Hungary’s National Toll Payment Services is famed for the remarkably low €75 million set up cost for Hungary’s device agnostic Hu-Go scheme.
3 April 2018
Belgium’s HGV toll Viapass sees revenue increase of over 4% in second year of operation
Now entering its third year of operation, it must be said that Belgium’s Viapass has been a great success, with strong revenues, clear EETS guidelines and an increasingly competitive market for service providers. Axxès, Eurotoll and Total are now offering EETS services, in addition to the Viapass supplier Satellic, with UTA/Telepass and Toll4Europe due to enter the market very shortly. Having generated approximately €648 million in toll revenues during its first full year of operation, Viapass has seen this increase by over 4% to €676 million in the 2017/18 period. Such is the success of Viapass, Belgian Minister Ben Weyts is now hinting that the toll could be extended to non-motorways as a means on combating congestion and overcoming traffic bottlenecks on minor roads.
28 March 2018
Jakarta expecting to launch electronic road pricing (ERP) in 2019
Following years of announcements, trials and delays, it appears that ERP may finally be coming to Indonesia’s congested capital, Jakarta. According to deputy governor Sandiaga Uno, the city administration is targeting March 2019 for the launch of a city wide road pricing scheme. Both Kapsch and Q-Free have already conducted trials of a DSRC based system in the city and this technology is expected to remain the city’s preferred choice (see previous posts), however numerous administration officials have participated in research trips to Singapore, which is set to launch GNSS based pricing in 2020. While we have heard announcements such as this on numerous occasions before – indeed there have also been several RFPs – the opening of the new mass rapid transit train line and the introduction of around 1,000 new buses could deliver new alternative public transport services. The absence of these has been one of the contributory factors to previous failed attempts to get ERP off the ground.
25 March 2018
New Czech HGV toll confirmed as GNSS
As we have speculated numerous times already, it has been confirmed that the new Czech HGV toll, which is set to begin on 1 January 2020, will be GNSS. This will replace the existing DSRC scheme, which has been operating since 2007 and currently generates roughly €400 million in toll receipts per year. The confirmation that GNSS will replace DSRC was made by Kapsch Czech Republic CEO Karel Feix, who stated that Kapsch’s tender offer is based on satellite technology. Kapsch is both the current operator and one of the 4 shortlisted companies for the new 10 year contract alongside SkyToll (operating in Slovakia), T-Systems (operating in Germany and Belgium) and Hungary’s National Toll Payment Services (see our previous stories). Aside from Kapsch, none of the other bidders have any experience delivering anything other than GNSS tolls. Kapsch’s decision to shift to GNSS is reportedly due to a desire for faster expansion of the network beyond its existing 1,400km scope. Kapsch has also recently been awarded the contract for Bulgaria’s new GNSS HGV toll and has a long association with Axxès, which offers EETS services, including for Belgium’s GNSS scheme, Viapass. The winner of the bid is expected later this year.
28 February 2018
E-ZPass Group partners with Verdeva to deliver in-vehicle payments via the RFID tag
Boston based financial and consumer services firm Verdeva has struck a partnership with the E-ZPass group to bring in-vehicle payment solutions to the North-East network via the RFID toll tag. As a result of the deal, drivers will soon be able to pay for dive-thru services using their E-ZPass tag, which will be linked to the driver’s existing payment card. Funds will be taken from a separate account, thereby not taking funds from the driver’s tolling account. According to early statements, driver-thru convenience and fuel will form part of the acceptance network. Similar schemes have existed in Europe for many years using utilising the various DSRC tags in operation. Drivers in Portugal, for example, are able to pay for fuel, parking and McDonalds at various accepting locations. Drivers in Italy have access to a range of similar in-vehicle payment solutions through the Telepass DSRC device.
21 February 2018
Audi to integrate ETC devices into new models across the US
Audi’s US business unit will begin integrating a multi-protocol RFID device into a number of new models over the coming year. The integrated toll module (ITM) will be controlled directly via the vehicle’s in-built infotainment platform. The RFID tag will be integrated into the vehicle’s rear-view mirror, which is supplied by Gentex. It is not yet clear who is providing the multi protocol tag. While the device can be linked to a driver’s current account, there is no direct link between the vehicle and the toll payment.
17 February 2018
RFID tag use on the rise in India
Mandated use on all new cars and strong government backing pushes FASTag subscriptions in India to almost 1 million in just over 3 years. At the end of 2017, the number of RFID ETC FASTag tags in circulation reached 750,000 and the Indian government is projecting that this will rise to 2.5 million by the end of Q1 2018. While this target seems overly optimistic, what is certain is that electronic tolling has a strong future in India.
14 February 2018
Utah senate votes to allow tolling on all state roads
After describing the existing fuel tax arrangement as ‘obsolete’ members of the Utah state senate have passed a bill which will enable tolls to be implemented on all state roads. Under existing arrangements, only new roads can be tolled. The new bill would also authorise the widespread use of electronic methods of payment and toll collection, including ANPR, which has become one of the vital tools in enabling interoperability across the United State’s various and disparate tolling authorities. The move comes as Washington becomes the third state to launch a road user charging pilot targeting roughly 2,000 drivers. This follows pilots of a similar size in both California and Oregon. Utah will also host a small pilot consisting of around 100 drivers sometime this year as the movement towards mileage based tolling gains momentum.
12 February 2018
New French mobility legislation could encourage new tolls and congestion charges
Within the long-discussed new mobility law proposed by Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne, France could see the introduction of new congestion charges and localised tolling schemes. As part of the legislation, the French government wants to make it easier for local regions to introduce tolling schemes, potentially similar to the congestion charges in use in London, Stockholm and Gothenburg etc. As we reported last year, the new law could also potentially result in the return of the nationwide Ecotaxe, which was abandoned several years ago in response to numerous protests, particularly in the North-West of the country.
6 February 2018
Abu Dhabi planning to introduce road tolling
Toll roads will soon be coming to Abu Dhabi thanks to a new law which has been issued by the ruling President. According to the new law, the Department of Transport will be empowered to install new road tolls where it wishes. It will also have the power to set fees and hours of operation. Neighbouring Dubai introduced its own road tolling scheme, Salik, in 2007 based on 6B RFID technology supplied by TransCore. It is likely that Abu Dhabi will adopt a similar solution, although there has been no word yet on whether the two systems will be interoperable.
30 January 2018
German Government set to nationalise Toll Collect for a short time
With Toll Collect’s existing operational contract set to expire at the end of August 2018 and grand plans already in place to both extend the charging network and (at a later date), lower the weight threshold to 3.5 tonnes, it is surprising that the German Government has not yet chosen a winner from the 4 companies shortlisted for the new operational contract. According to leaked papers in the German press, the government has plans to nationalise Toll Collect for a short time immediately after the expiration of its existing contract in order to allow time to settle on ongoing legal case with the consortium, which has been running for over 10 years. There is no word on when the winning bidder will re-assume ownership from the German state, although a winner is not likely to be announced until the middle of this year. The 4 groups in the running are:
• Autostrade, who successfully bid for the failed French Ecotaxe
• Skytoll, the operator of Slovakia’s GNSS tolling network
• Toll Collect (T-Systems, Daimler), the incumbent
• IBM/Continental/Abertis, a new consortium formed for the purpose of the bid
The move follows Poland’s plans to nationalise its own HGV tolling operation once the existing contract with Kapsch expires later this year.
21 January 2018
Slovak ETC revenues climb by 4% in 2017
Slovakia/Skytoll collected €201.14 million in tolling revenues in 2017 from HGVs >3.5 tonnes, up from €193.34 million in 2016. From the total amount, €160.5 million (79.8%) was paid by HGVs weighing >12 tonnes. As of 31 December, 276,159 GNSS OBUs were registered for use. Since the launch of ETC in Slovakia, SkyToll has collected more than €1.38 billion in tolling revenues. On the back of this record, SkyToll has submitted tenders to operate the nationwide ETC systems in both Germany and the Czech Republic, both of which will be decided this year.
16 January 2016
New Bulgarian GNSS ETC network may be scaled back
Having now officially signed the agreement with Kapsch TrafficCom to build and maintain the new GNSS system for trucks and e-vignette system for cars, the initially expected network size of 16,000 – 18,000km is said to be unrealistic. The Minister for regional development and public works, Nikolay Nankov, has suggested that a more realistic figure may be 8,000km, with extensions to be added over the following years. This would bring Bulgaria’s network in line with other new HGV ETC schemes in Belgium and Hungary, both of which cover around 6,500km. Despite this potential change in network size, the Bulgarian Ministry is projecting revenues of approximately €500 million in the first full year of operation.
The initial figure of 16,000 – 18,000km always seemed overly optimistic, however as SkyToll in Slovakia have demonstrated in the past, significant extensions to the network can be completed in a very short space of time.
14 January 2018
Deadline for Czech 10 year HGV toll tender extended to March
In the latest of many shifted deadlines and amended timetables, the deadline for tender submissions for the new 10 year HGV toll operating contract has been extended. Previously set to end last week, tenders will now be accepted until 8th March 2018. Thus far, four companies are known to be in the running: Kapsch (the current operator), T-Systems, SkyToll and the Hungary’s National Toll Payment Services. It has not been made official, however the new operator is highly likely to lead a transition away from the existing DSRC system and towards GNSS, which will also support a significant increase in the size of the network. Kapsch’s existing contract expires on 31 December 2019.
7 January 2018
Czech HGV toll, MytoCZ, generates record revenues in 2017
Following a bumper year in 2015, where revenues grew around 12% YoY and a more modest 2016, total tolling revenues have grown by more than 5% over the last 12 months. With a total income of CZK 10.4 billion (€407 million), the Czech DSRC toll is now one of the most successful and most stable in Europe. As we have explored at length below, four consortia are currently competing to take over operation of the toll. Incumbent Kapsch’s current, extended 3 year contract is due to expire on 31 December 2019.
29 December 2017
Eurotoll becomes the second EETS toll provider across the Belgian Viapass network
Following months of technical and pilot testing, Eurotoll has become the second EETS provider officially accredited to collect tolls across the 6,500km Viapass network. Close competitor Axxès has been the sole EETS provider active in Belgium for some time, although this announcement from Eurotoll is likely to be the first of many over the coming 6 months. Fuel card giant Total and its subsidiary AS24 are expected to finalise accreditation in early 2018, followed Toll4Europe/DKV and UTA/Telepass by the middle of the year and Eurowag likely later in 2018 or early 2019. As well as generating approximately €700 million per annum, Viapass could also act as a useful test bed for EETS providers eager to begin offering services in Germany, given the similarities between the two systems and a common operator in T-Systems.
27 December 2017
UK begins consultation on per mile road charging for HGVs
More than a decade on from the last time the UK Government dipped its toes into the road charging debate, the Department for Transport is once again beginning consultations on the potential introduction of per mile charging for HGVs. Following the administration’s decision to ban the sale of all internal combustion cars and vans by 2040, the UK is now having to consider the financial implications and is said to be considering per mile charging for HGVs. With one of the highest rates of fuel tax in Europe, the UK collects approximately £27.5 billion (€31 billion) in fuel duty each year, although this is already in decline. Rather than a sign of immediate change, this move represents the first step in what is likely to be a long process with an uncertain ending. What is interesting, is that the UK Government is moving further towards a continental European approach to road pricing, while moving further away in every other respect.
19 December 2017
New Dutch km truck toll could take 5 years to implement
Having finally accumulated the political will to introduce a nationwide HGV toll, it has now been suggested that the introduction of the GNSS per km charge could take as much as 5 years to complete. Despite having agreed to introduce HGV tolling as soon as possible, the Ministry of Infrastructure is said to want to conduct a thorough review of each technology and reporting option available before making a decision. It has also been made clear that the final solution must be interoperable with neighbouring Germany and Belgium and should enable the use of existing OBUs where possible. According to our latest forecast, this new GNSS toll could generate approximately €800 million per year once up and running. To access our full ETC market forecast, download our latest Connected Fleet Services Report here.
12 December 2017
More tolling coming to the US
Colorado and Oregon are actively planning for more tolling on both interstate and regional roads. Both states are also at the forefront of road user charging trials and development in the US.
4 December 2017
Estonia to launch e-vignette for HGVs on 1 January 2018
A little later than originally planned, Estonia will begin operation of its new e-vignette on 1 January 2018. The time-based fee will be levied on all trucks over 3.5t and will be based on Euro class and axel number across the entire road network. The cost will start at €9 per day/€500 per year for trucks under 12t, rising to €12 per day/€1300 for those over 12t. The scheme is an almost mirror image of the UK’s HGV Levy, which applies much the same structure. Plans for the toll were first revealed in December 2015 and originally planned to begin in 2017. Similarly to the other Baltic states, this move has likely been made in response to Russia’s Platon HGV toll, which was introduced in November 2015 and is said to have had an disproportional impact on Baltic hauliers.
30 November 2017
Polish Government will take over operation of viaTOLL once Kapsch contract expires
Following numerous rumours and unconfirmed reports from Polish media outlets, it now appears certain that the Polish government will assume control of the viaTOLL network when the existing contract with Kapsch expires in late 2018. According to reports, the Council of Ministers has adopted a bill enabling the transfer of all viaTOLL activities to be assumed by the Chief Inspectorate of Road Transport. This national body will be responsible for operating the €400 million annual DSRC toll for HGVs >3.5t. Poland has bene working on plans to improve interoperability between the viaTOLL network and individual concessions such as the A2 and A4 highway stretches. It is thought that this can be better achieved through public control of the main tolling network. The news represents a huge blow for current operator Kapsch, which was thought to be in prime position to win a contract extension.
27 November 2017
Vinci out of the running for Germany’s controversial car toll
French road operator Vinci Highways has been eliminated from the race to operate Germany’s new PKW MAUT (car toll). Their removal, leaves Siemens, Autostrade and Kapsch TrafficCom as the three remaining bidders. Vinci is reportedly unhappy with the decision, however it has been made clear that they will not be reinstated despite any official objections. The new toll is expected to generate approximately €2 billion per year, but has been fiercely opposed by numerous other countries, who have argued that the charge will be punitive towards non-German drivers. Despite this, the toll is expected to go live sometime in 2018.
22 November 2017
Europe’s last DSRC HGV toll set to launch on 1 April 2018
From 1 April 2018, Slovenia’s nationwide toll for HGVs >3.5t will begin, replacing the existing charging framework, which consists of a mix of manual and electronic payments across various road sections. DarsGo has already launched its DSRC on-board-unit, which will cost users approximately €10. Around 126 fixed free flow gantries are being installed across 4 main arterial routes across the country, each leading to the capital, Ljubljana. A consortium of Q-Free and Telekom Slovenije were awarded the €90 million, 10 year operating contract last September following a closely fought tender which also included Kapsch, Autostrade and Slovakia’s SkyToll. While the amount of activity concerning HGV tolls in Europe is increasing, we anticipate this this will be the last new scheme for HGVs to utilise DSRC technology. In our view, all future projects will use either only GNSS or a hybrid blend, similarly to Germany and Belgium.
18 November 2017
UTA reveals EETS device and plans launch in February 2018 in partnership with Telepass
As the most recent of the 8 main players in the EETS market, UTA has revealed its device strategy for the 2018 launch. Provided by Telepass, the UTA box will cover toll collection in Austria, Belgium (inc. Liefkenshoektunnel), Poland (A4), Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Other countries, most importantly Germany, will be added as over-the-air updates as and when negotiations and certifications with the specific domains are concluded. This is potentially a good move for both companies as both have complimentary strengths in the German and Italian markets respectively. It will also enable both to compete directly with DKV, which has recently launched its own EETS service across the same countries (minus Poland and the Liefkenshoektunnel), as well as a dedicated DSRC unit for Italy, which will become the first unit to directly challenge Telepass in Italy.
15 November 2017
Over 60% of California’s Road User Charging participants selected a GPS/telematics reporting option
Results from the nine-month long road user charging (RUC) trial in California show that when given the choice, almost 80% of participants selected a reporting option from one of the three telematics suppliers; Azuga, IMS and EROAD. From a total of 5,129 vehicles which took part in the programme, 3,239 selected a GPS/telematics mileage reporting option. As a value added service, many of the telematics devices included live feedback and a score for driving behaviour/efficiency. Consequently, approximately 25% of individual participants also said that taking part in the programme had changed their driving behaviour.
California’s RUC trial is one of several either planned or executed across the US, alongside Oregon and Washington state. Numerous other states including Colorado, Utah and Hawaii are also moving steadily towards an active pilot. See below for further news…
9 November 2017
Russian Ministry of Transport actively discussing universal road pricing for all vehicles
Alongside the introduction of GNSS tolling for all HGVs over 12 tonnes, which began in November 2015, Russia has also been quietly expansing the number of DSRC toll concussions surrounding major cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg. Now, the Ministry of Transport is said to be actively considering a universal pricing scheme which would levy an annual tariff based on a mix of the total number of miles travelled and the specific roads used. According to this scheme, all roads in Russia will be tariffed based on the quality of coverage, roadside infrastructure, geographic region, etc. Car owner’s will pay a final fee based on the “road basket” driven on over the course of the year. It is suggested that all vehicles could be equipped with a GPS/Glonass capable device in order to measure miles travelled, potentially at the point of manufacture.
Two years on, the Russian HGV levy, Platon, has not been the success many Russian politicians had hoped for, with mass protests a common sight during the first 18 months of operation. Gaining acceptance for a universal road pricing scheme will not be easy, or one suspects, quick.
7 November 2017
Rumours in Poland suggest that the new ViaTOLL contract will be awarded to a state owned entity
First introduced in July 2011, Poland’s ViaTOLL has been collecting tolls via DSRC from vehicles above 3.5 tonnes on a growing network of first class roads. The current operating contract with Kapsch is due to expire in November 2018. An open tender for the next operating contact was launched in December 2016, although has yet to select a winner. There are now suggestions that the state owned entity, the Chief Inspectorate of Road Transport, could take over responsibility from Kapsch for operating the toll. Poland currently has multiple concessionnaires (such as Autostrade Wielkopolska) operating a mixture of manual and electronic tolling across specific roads such as the A2 highway. It has long been the desire of the Polish roads authority to harmonise ETC devices and acceptance between these concessions and the ViaTOLL network. According to reports, the Minister for Infrastructure and Construction, Andrzej Adamczyk, has suggested this could be better achieved by a state owned entity, rather than another private sector operator, such as the incumbent Kapsch. However, for now, the ViaTOLL tender process seems to be ongoing.
2 November 2017
India’s nationwide ETC platform, FASTag, now mandatory on all new motor vehicles
Earlier this year it was announced that the FASTag RFID device would have to be made available at the point of sale for all new cars, however the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has now gone one step further. From 1 December onwards, all new motor vehicles sold have to be fitted with a FASTag RFID sticker by either the car manufacturer or the dealer. The move will further accelerate the already lightening speed roll out of the FASTag device, however drivers of older vehicles are proving a more difficult sell as individuals remain wedded to cash payments.
30 October 2017
BMW Japan begins installing ETC units as standard on all new models
BMW Japan has begun installing DSRC ETC units as standard on all models sold in the country, including motorbikes. Japan already has one of the highest rates of ETC device penetration in the world, with most 60 million active units. Unlike other DSRC domains in Europe, Asia or South America, all units are embedded into the dashboard and come with a separate receiver to ensure line of sight with the gantry. A similar move has taken place in India, where, due to government mandates, all new vehicles must come equipped with an RFID ETC tag.
Japan has recently launched its ETC 2.0 network, which collects data from tolling devices to measure congestion levels. Users also have the option of a tolling device with a display, which delivers real-time traffic reports and notifications, including alerts on natural disasters such as Tsunamis.
17 October 2017
Netherlands holding discussions over proposed HGV toll
The government of the Netherlands is said to be considering introducing a per km toll for trucks, which would be inked to a new environmental strategy, thus potentially following the French Ecotaxe example, which was positioned in much the same way. There has already been some strong vocal opposition from the haulage industry to the proposed plans, as one might expect, but with Belgiums Viapass generating over €650 million per year, Germany set to expand the LKW MAUT network substantially and France even looking at re-introducing the Ecotaxe, it is surely not long until the Netherlands follows suit.
11 October 2017
Kapsch officially awarded contract to implement GNSS tolling solution in Bulgaria
As we predicted, Kapsch has officially been awarded the contract to implement a GNSS per km solution for trucks over 3.5t across a network of up to 18,000km, consisting of class I, II and III roads. Kapsch was said to have met 100% of the technical as well as having the lowest bid of all 6 shortlisted groups at around €75 million. The contract also includes the design and development of infrastructure to support a new e-vignette for passenger cars. Both are expected to go live in mid-2019.
10 October 2017
Atlantia’s €16 billion acquisition of Abertis clears regulatory hurdles
Five months after Atlantia, owner of Autostrade and Telepass, made a €16.3 billion bid to acquire rival Abertis, owner of Sanef, Emovis and Eurotoll, the deal appears to be moving forward. According to reports, the European Union antitrust regulators are expected to follow their Spanish counterparts by giving the green light to the deal. As long as at least 50% of Abertis shareholders agree to the deal of €16.5 per share it is expected the deal will go through without any problems, creating the largest toll operator in the world with concussions in Europe, North America, LATAM and Asia. The combined company would also have an impact on the European EETS market as two of the largest providers, Telelpass and Eurotoll, would be absorbed into a single company. Questions over whether the two would continue to operate separate EETS services have not yet been answered.
3 October 2017
Kapsch rumoured to have secured the contract for the new Bulgarian GNSS toll
Following an almost facial tender process, which has lasted far longer than it should have due to repeated appeals and attempts from hauliers to delay or derail the project, we now seem to be approaching an end, with Kapsch said to be all but guaranteed as the winning bidder. As we reported one month ago, six consortia had been shortlisted from an open tender (see news story on 30 August 2017). Of these six, two now remain: Kapsch TrafficCom and Toll Bulgaria, a consortium consisting of Telelink (a broad ICT supplier), Sirma Solutions (software systems supplier) and CNsys (IT information systems supplier). This means that the Hungary’s I-Cell and the Czech Republic’s TollNet have been unsuccessful. While Toll Bulgaria officially remains in the running, it is widely rumoured that Kapsch has secured the contract with a bid 25% lower than the €100 million budget for construction in addition to a higher technical score. This compares to a bid of almost €100 million by the rival Toll Bulgaria consortium. The winner is expected to be officially confirmed towards the end of this month. The Bulgaria government is said to expect total revenues of between €400 million – €500 million once the GNSS scheme for trucks over 3.5t is operational in late 2018/2019. The new scheme will include a new e-vignette for passenger cars as a replacement for the existing paper version.
The new scheme is designed to be fully interoperable with EETS providers and was thought to be similar to the Hungarian scheme in allowing toll declarations from certified fleet telematics suppliers. However, one would expect that the selection of Kapsch will also mean that there will be a Kapsch linked GNSS unit available for any domestic and regional hauliers without an existing solution in place. While a bid of 25% less than the competition may seem rash, Kapsch does not have the same level of experience operating GNSS tolling systems as it does with DSRC, certainly compared to the likes of T-Systems, who it is competing against in the parallel race to secure the next 10 year operating contract in Czech Republic.
28 September 2017
GNSS tolling should replace DSRC in Norway says Road Traffic Advisory Council
The Road Traffic Advisory Council is an interest group consisting of road construction companies, vehicle OEMs, insurers and oil companies. Th group is calling for a move away from the existing DSRC based infrastructure and towards a “fairer” GNSS based scheme, which takes into account all vehicles. Norway has one of the highest proportions of electric cars in the world, which currently do not have to pay the DSRC tolls. Last month, the Oslo municipal authority announced that electric vehicles would have to pay tolls from March 2019 onwards, but this announcement has not yet been replicated across the country. It is estimated that more than 5% of all vehicles on the road in Norway are electric. Norway has issued over 2 million DSRC tags and collects total annual revenues of approximately €650 million. The government is known to be sceptical regarding a move towards GNSS, however with more and more European countries adopting the technology it may only be a matter of time before DSRC becomes a thing of the past in Norway.
23 September 2017
Belarus announces Beltoll network expansion
Belarus has announced plans to increase the size of the Beltoll network by almost 20% over the next 3 years. Currently, the Kapsch operated DSRC system is operational across 1,513km of roads in Belarus, which will expand to 1,786 by the end of 2020. The Beltoll system generates approximately €120 million each year, primarily from transit traffic and foreign registered vehicles as Belarusian citizens do not pay the toll. The new roads are expected to be around Belarus’ border with Poland as well as around the capital, Minsk.
21 September 2017
Ukraine to begin process of building new toll roads
The government of Ukraine has confirmed plans to build new toll roads across the country according to the standard European practice over the next 3-4 years. In order to do so, the government will first pass the relevant legislation which allows for concessionnaires to be compensated should traffic levels fall below pre-determined levels. This is expected to take a year or so, after which financing and construction will begin.
13 September 2017
Utah becomes latest US state to announce plans for Road User Charging (RUC)
In response to the familiar challenges of more fuel efficient vehicles and declining fuel tax revenues, the Utah Department of Transportation has announced that it plans to begin a small research pilot of perhaps 100 participants as soon as 2018. This would not be on the same scale as Oregon, California or Washington state, which have either conducted or are in the process of conducting pilots involving thousands of drivers, but does represent yet another firm step towards road user charging as a viable alternative to the existing gas tax arrangement.
11 September 2017
Telepass expands further into mobility services with acquisition of Urbi
Having announced the launch of Telepass Pay just last month, the Italian tolling provider and EETS supplier has stepped further into the urban mobility market by acquiring 70% of URBI. The smartphone app aggregates user registrations for a host of leading car sharing and ride hailing platforms such as Car2Go, DriveNow and Uber, as well as parking services, enabling booking and payment through a single app. URBI is already active in 13 European cities across Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands. It is thought that URBI could be combined with Telepass Pay to enable a fully integrated booking and payments smartphone based platform for urban mobility. Interestingly, neither URBI or Telepass Pay include toll payments.
4 September 2017
Poland targets 65% increase in size of ViaToll network
Poland’s viaTOLL – a DSRC electronic tolling scheme for vehicles > 3.5t – began operating in 2011. Over the past six years, the programme has undergone a number of small, incremental increases in the size of the network, which now stands at 3,600km. The deal with current operator Kapsch is set to expire in November 2018 and a new operational tender is underway, although Kapsch is widely expected to remain in place. As part of this process, the Polish General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA) has announced plans to increase the size of the network to approximately 6,000km by 2024. There have been rumours that the GDDKiA is considering a shift to GNSS based tolling, as is taking place in the Czech Republic, however this is not yet clear. Poland’s viaTOLL generates roughly €1 million in revenues per day and has more than 1 million vehicles registered. If the rumours turn out to be false and DSRC remains as the tolling mechanism Poland will still be following a clear trend towards significant network expansion, following Germany and the Czech Republic – who have each announced big expansion plans – as well as Slovenia and Bulgaria who have new schemes due to launch in the next 12 – 24 months.
30 August 2017
6 consortia said to be in the running for Bulgaria’s long-awaited €200 million HGV GNSS toll
After 18 months of delays and legal challenges the tender process for the proposed Bulgarian GNSS HGV toll seems to be finally going forward. Once in place, the toll will levy a per k fee on all vehicles over 3.5t – the solution is expected to be EETS compliant from the beginning. Having cleared the last of the remaining legal objections to the terms of the tender itself, six consortia are said to be in the running, these consist of:
- Bulgarian company Kontrax in partnership with Hungary’s I-Cell
- Kapsch TrafficCom
- TollNet, Czech systems provider
- Ciela Norma, a Bulgarian supplier of legal software and administration systems
- Teletol, a consortium of telecoms provider Novanor and Ikom
- Toll Bulgaria, a consortium consisting of Telelink (a broad ICT supplier), Sirma Solutions (software systems supplier) and CNsys (IT information systems supplier)
A winner is expected to be announced by the end of the year, however it is highly likely that one or more of the unsuccessful bidders will challenge this decision, leading to yet more delays. The ambition of the Bulgarian Ministry is for the system to be operational by the end of 2018 or early 2019. Whether this can be achieved remains to be seen.
27 August 2017
4 consortia rumoured to be in the running for the new Czech HGV toll
According to various unconfirmed reports, it appears that 4 groups have been shortlisted to take over operation of the Czech HGV toll on a new 10 year contract from 1 January 2020 onwards. The (again, unconfirmed) groups are said to be:
- Kapsch (the incumbent)
- SkyToll (operator of the Slovak GNSS scheme) in partnership with Czech-based PPT Group
- T-Systems (operator of the German GNSS LKW MAUT)
- National Toll Payment Services (operator of the Hungarian GNSS toll, Hu-Go) in partnership with Eltod
One thing which is immediately clear from this list is that the new toll will almost certainly be GNSS based, rather than the existing DSRC based scheme. We also expect the new Czech toll to be open to EETC providers from the very beginning. We have written about both points extensively already and it will come as little surprise, especially given activities in surrounding countries. Under the existing DSRC framework the Czech toll generates roughly €370 million per year across the 1,400km network. This tender was initially described as ‘technology neutral’, so it is possible that one more shortlisted groups have also proposed the the existing DSRC structure be maintained, although this is unlikely given that 3 of the 4 have no experience of operating a DSRC toll. The tolled network expansion is also guaranteed to be expanded, which would be potentially easier and cheaper to achieve under a GNSS structure. Indeed, both SkyToll and T-Systems have prior experience of this from recent expansion in Slovakia and Germany respectively.
14 August 2017
Daimler poised to sell shares in Toll Collect and re-focus on EETS and telematics services
There have been rumours for some time that Daimler is unhappy with its stake in the German toll operator Toll Collect and it seems as if the German carmaker has made up its mind and will indeed be divesting its 45% share. From our perspective, such a move makes perfect sense when you consider that, as a toll operator, Daimler faces several legislative and competitive difficulties offering toll and telematics services via the tolling device to its European customers. The joint investment in Toll4Europe will enable Daimler to focus on this strategy, which fits with the wider priorities of an automaker moving steadily towards mobility services. Daimler continues to develop its telematics platform Fleetboard for heavier trucks, which is likely to integrate some form of toll payment functionality in the near future. In the passenger car market, Daimler already operates the world’s largest car sharing platform, Car2Go, and has invested significant amounts in ride hailing platforms such as MyTaxi and Hailo.
According to reports, it is possible that France’s Cofiroute could replace Daimler by taking a stake in Toll Collect. At this point it is unclear how the uncertainty surrounding Daimler will affect the ongoing tender for the next 12 year operating contract, which Toll Collect is in prime position to win.
6 August 2017
I-95 Corridor Coalition plans $1.16 million mileage based charging pilot
Further accelerating the trend towards mileage based user fees and road user charging in the United States, the I-95 Corridor Coalition will shortly begin testing mileage based user fees as a replacement for the existing gas tax. The pilot will be funded by a federal grant and has no direct link to the ongoing statewide road user charging pilots in Oregon, Washington and California. The initial pilot will target 50 vehicles from Delaware and Pennsylvania. If successful, this will expand to included members of the public. It is not yet clear which technology will be used to measure mileage and collect the per mile fee.
31 July 2017
Emovis’ selection as key provider for Washington RUC trial signals move towards telematics
In response to last month’s RFP, Emovis has been selected as a key service provider for Washington state’s upcoming road user charging project, which is set to begin in January 2018. Arguably the most interesting part of this announcement is the revelation that Emovis will supply the OBD unit and smartphone App for users choosing automatic reporting. It is not clear whether a telematics service provider such as Azuga (which provided these services for the Oregon and California trials) is also involved. Either way, this represents an interesting move from a tolling operator into the broader field of telematics. OBD units will provide GPS tracking of the vehicle, which will be used to calculate miles driven, however they also have the ability to extract additional vehicle and driving related data such as diagnostics trouble codes (DTCs), acceleration, braking and cornering etc.
The programme will invite up to 2,000 volunteers to take part, including those from neighbouring states in both the US and Canada. Feedback will also be sought from owners of electric vehicles as Washington seeks to build on the foundations put in place by Oregon and California. Both states have similar RUC schemes up and running. Emovis (then under the Sanef brand) was one of the original service providers for Oregon’s groundbreaking RUC programme when it first launched in 2015, providing the back office infrastructure to support manual mileage reporting.
15 July 2017
Chinese government issues finance guidelines which could see new glut of toll roads
Earlier this week the Chinese ministries of transport and finance issued new guidelines allowing local governments to issue special bonds to enable the financing and construction of new toll roads. Any funds from the bond issuance must be used to construct government operated toll roads, with a priority on national projects. The move is designed to support and enable the expansion of the nationwide road network and will add to existing network of 171,100 km of toll roads. What is unclear is how these plans will solve the problem of chronic debt across the toll road sector, which has already amassed a debt pile of over €628 billion. More than 80% of all tolling revenues are subsequently used to pay down debt and interest; just one of the reasons why the introduction of electronic tags and additional services has lagged behind other countries.
14 July 2017
India to trial GPS based tolling and contactless toll payments alongside mass RFID roll out
Following legislative changes which have eased the movement of road freight, the Indian government are pressing ahead with plans to ease congestion at toll gates through the introduction of the nationwide RFID ETC scheme, FASTag. Since its launch in Sept 2015, FASTag has failed to get off the ground, with fewer than 100,000 tags currently in operation. However, alongside plans to install FASTags in all new cars via the dealerships (see below story on 7 May 2017), the government is requesting that all public and commercial transport companies install FASTags across their fleets. It is hoped that these dual initiatives will raise the number of active FASTags by 5 million over the space of one year. While this seems overly bullish, moving anywhere close to this number should be considered a great success. India, along with numerous other countries across Central and South-East Asia, has struggled to break motorist’s preference for cash tolls.
Alongside the FASTag scheme, the government has also announced the introduction of a touch and go prepaid card, similar to Indonesia’s Touch’n’Go card. A GNSS-based toll pilot has also been announced along the Eastern Expressway.
13 July 2017
Renault to begin testing autonomous cars on Sanef motorways
Earlier this week, Renault signed a deal with major highway and tolling operator Sanef to begin testing of the former’s autonomous cars across the Sanef road network. The aim of the project is to develop communications between autonomous vehicles and road infrastructure (V2X) including tolls. As automakers across the globe are doubling down on the development of autonomous cars, toll roads and managed highways represent ideal testing facilities.
12 July 2017
Telepass prepares for launch of smartphone based mobility payments platform Telepass Pay
In a move which could revolutionise the electronic tolling sector in Europe, Telepass has announced the launch of Telepass Pay; a smartphone based mobility payments platform. The platform has not yet gone live, but promises to enable payments for petrol, bus tickets, parking, car sharing, taxis and automotive fines. Interestingly however, Telepass Pay does not enable smartphone based payments for tolls and there appears to be no link to the DSRC tag, of which Telepass has more than 9 million in circulation. The launch of Telepass Pay represents a growing trend of tolling operators and service providers branching out into additional mobility payments and services. Telepass Pay’s initial list of partners includes Q8, Tamil and Uber competitor itTaxi. This list is expected to grow.
4 July 2017
US International Trade Commission finds in favour of Kapsch in dispute over RFID 6C
Settling an ongoing dispute brought by US based RFID provider Neology, the US International Trade Commission has determined that Neology cannot prevent Kapsch and others importing RFID 6C tags into the country. Neology, which recently purchased 3M’s (6C) tolling business, asserted that Kapsch was infringing its RFID patents by importing and selling 6C tags in the US. This claim has been dismissed. 6C remains one of the 3 key RFID protocols in use across the US alongside Transcore’s 6B and Kapsch’s TDM, which is used across the E-ZPass network. 6C now remains open for use by anyone across the tolling industry.
20 June 2017
Norway to end tolling exemption for electric cars
Defining the purpose of road tolls have always been subject to multiple arguments and interests. On the one hand, tolls are a fair way to ensure road users pay directly for the cost of building and maintaining the roads they use in much the same way many countries mandate individual insurance to cover the cost of healthcare. Equally, road tolls are increasingly adapted to support environmental policies by incentivising greener cars through toll exemptions – as is currently the case in Norway. In London, for example, drivers of hybrid and electric cars are not required to pay the £11.50 (€13) daily congestion charge. However, while reducing the amount of carbon emitted, this has resulted in sizeable shifts towards such cars and an actual increase in congestion in many areas, accompanied by the same mea and tear on the roads. This has also been the case in Norway, where, because of various environmental and tax incentives, electric cars now constitute more then 5% of the total parc. As a result, the Oslo municipality is ending the toll free arrangement for electric cars as of March 2019 – a move which will likely have knock on effects across the country. Noway already has more than 2.1 million active DSRC tags across the country. A number which will surely rise in future.
19 June 2017
US state of Indiana to allow toll operators to generate alternative revenues
In a first of its kind amendment to state legislation, Indiana will now allow private toll road operators to collect alternative revenue i.e. additional revenues beyond that of direct toll collection. Initial additional sources of revenue are likely to come from local advertising, positioning of mobile telecoms equipment and roadside assistance. Over time we could see the introduction of services such as parking and driver-through payments, which have become commonplace in many European countries and have helped to substantially raise ETC tag penetration, particularly among passenger cars.
16 June 2017
Czech 10 year €1 billion truck toll tender officially launched
Following the botched launch and eventual cancellation of the original tender back in 2015 and the subsequent temporary extension of Kapsch’s operating contract, Transport Minister Tok has announced the launch of a new 10 year tender process for the Czech Republic’s HGV toll. The existing 1,400km DSRC based toll generates approximately €370 million per annum, although both extending the network and introducing GNSS in place of DSRC are likely outcomes of this tender. This new tender has been described as “technologically neutral”, suggesting that a shift to GNSS is very much a possibility. This will embolden likely bidders such as Slovakia’s SkyToll, Germany’s TollCollect consortium and Italy’s Autostrade. Applicants have two months to submit their bids and a winner will be deleted by August 2018, with the new toll to start on 1 January 2020.
12 June 2017
Belgian region of Wallonia considering new vignette for (foreign) passenger cars
Following the first anniversary of Belgium’s distance based toll for HGVs, Viapass, the largest region, Wallonia, has announced that it is considering introducing a vignette for passenger cars. The proposal is targeted squarely at the 3 – 4 million foreign vehicles travelling through the region each year. If initial reports are to be believed, the proposal looks identical to Germany’s initial plans for their own controversial passenger car vignette, which immediately drew the ire of the European Commission and various other Member States. Walloon ministers have suggested levying a single time based fee on all passenger vehicles and introducing parallel reductions in vehicle taxation for local residents. Initial estimates suggest that the scheme could generate around €150 million for the Walloon region, however one suspects passing such legislation will not be easy.
9 June 2017
Kapsch wins race to install and operate HGV tolling across US state of Rhode Island
Austrian tolling giant Kapsch has been awarded a contract by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to design, install, operate, and maintain its new statewide HGV tolling system. The system will utilise the existing RFID protocol which enables the E-Z Pass network across numerous North-Eastern US states. Tolls will be collected via multiple free flow gantries positioned across the state, which will have the ability to subtract fees from either the E-Z Pass tag or ANPR images.
7 June 2017
Czech Republic heading towards GNSS based tolling for new 10-year tender
With the current contract coming to an end in late 2019, the Czech Republic is pushing ahead with plans for a new 10-year operational contract which will begin on 1 January 2020. While the country currently operates a DSRC based system for HGVs across 1,400km of first-class roads, the government appears set on widening this. Initial figures suggest the network could grow by an additional 900km, but this has yet to be determined. Existing supplier Kapsch TrafficCom may decide to propose introducing satellite based tolling, rather than increasing the number of DSRC gantries in order to widen the network. Slovak operator SkyToll has also had a long-running interest in the scheme and is certain to present its own GNSS bid when the tender is launched.
6 June 2017
The state road agency promises road tolls in Ukraine by 2018
While the construction of toll roads has been under discussion since 1999, there has been precious little progress until now due to problems with bidding processes and changing priorities at a political level. Now back on the table, The Ukrainian state road agency, Ukravtodor, has promised that the first toll roads will be constructed and opened next year. Initially, the agency plans to introduce tolls around the capital, Kiev, as well as on busy transit corridors surrounding the Polish border. The State hopes to attract foreign investors to construct and manage these concessions on a contract period of 30 – 50 years.
5 June 2017
Washington State launches RFP for road user charging pilot
Following in the footsteps of Oregon and California, Washington has published an RFP and set a date for the launch of its own road user charging (RUC) pilot programme. The pilot will consist of a minimum of 2,000 volunteers and is expected to begin in January 2018 for an initial period of 12 months. Similarly to the California and Oregon schemes, D’Artagnan has been retained and is collecting proposals from interested parties for the following functions:
- Provision of the operational concepts selected by WSTC, including: automated distance charge (with general location); automated distance charge (without location); mileage permit and odometer charge.
- Collectively, across two proposers, provision of supporting mileage-reporting technologies for automated distance charge and odometer-based operational concepts: OBDII device (with and without general location) and Smartphone app to report and transmit mileage data to a RUC account manager for verification and calculation of the RUC owed.
- Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) subagents will provide manual reporting of participant odometers via visual inspection and/or smartphone apps. This is not sought to be provided by account managers, but at least one account manager must be capable of receiving odometer data from subagents.
The deadline for proposals is 17.00 PT on 19 June.
2 June 2017
European Commission presses ahead with plans to abolish time-based charging
Since becoming Commissioner for Transport in 2014, Violeta Bulc has made numerous statements in support of distance based charging for toll systems across Europe. Below you will see we have reported on this multiple times. According to the latest reports, it appears that European wide legislation could be passed as soon as 2023, which would force all Member States to abandon time-based road charging with a distance based model, such as those operating for heavy goods vehicles in Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Belgium etc. Interestingly, the proposed legislation would also effect schemes for passenger cars – necessitating changes to all existing vignette schemes in countries such as Austria, Romania, Czech Republic etc. If passed, this legislation would act as another boon to the now buoyant EETS market, which now has 7 confirmed registrants (AGES, Axxes, Total, Telepass, Eurotoll, BroBizz, Eurowag( and 2 more who have already announced plans to do so (Toll4Europe, UTA). See our recent blogs on the EETS market for more info.
1 June 2017
Government of Indonesia to establish electronic toll collection (ETC) consortium in attempt to grow non-cash payments
In an attempt to replace cash with electronic tolling payments, the Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Pubic Housing (PUPR) has launched a consortium consisting of banks, toll road operators and financial services companies. The role of the new consortium will be to manage electronic toll payment infrastructure both at the front end and the back end. The body is also designed to enable proportional profit sharing and customer account synchronisation. the consortium does not yet have a name, although is expected to be operational by October.
Weaning the public off cash payments has long been a problem for many countries, particularly across the South East Asia region. Malaysia, India, China and Vietnam have all faced similar problems over recent years when introducing their own electronic payment systems. Enabling electronic payments in Indonesia becomes even more necessary given plans to introduce a new DSRC based system in the capital, Jakarta, later this year.
13 May 2017
UTA set to become Europe’s 9th EETS provider?
Following DKV’s recent announcement that its partially owned subsidiary Toll4Europe was set to begin offering EETS services in 2018, UTA has revealed some of its own plans for EETS. While UTA already acts as a major re-seller of Axxes, Telepass and BroBizz devices it does not have an OBU of its own. With other leading fuel card providers such as Total, DKV and Eurowag already setting out their stall it is unsurprising that UTA is making a move of its own. As we argued in our recent blog, not only have we reached a crucial time for EETS, fuel card providers are uniquely positioned to become the most influential players in the market. We await further news with keen anticipation…
11 May 2017
3M to sell its entire electronic tolling business to US-based Neology
In perhaps a sign of the level of price competition hitting the electronic tolling device market, 3M has announced that it is selling its entire tolling and ANPR (automative number plate recognition) business to US-based competitor Neology. 3M’s tolling and ANPR business has annual global sales of approximately $40 million. Competition between RFID device suppliers, in particular, has increased in recent years with the entry of players such as Q-Free into the RFID market. 3M has long been a significant player in the RFID market, however the potential for a nationwide US standard being introduced and low margins has encouraged the conglomerate to divest its tolling business.
As we explore in our Electronic Toll Collection Global Study, RFID has a strong base and is being adopted by a growing number of countries across the world.
Neology is an RFID technology manufacturer which already offers 6C protocol tags for the electronic tolling market with around 200 employees based in California. It claims to be the overall market leader in electronic vehicle registration. Parent company SMARTRAC is an RFID and NFC sensor technology supplier to industrial and consumer brands. The transaction is expected to close by Q3 of this year, subject to conditions and regulatory approval. The sale price is unknown at this time.
7 May 2017
All new cars in India to be sold with RFID toll tag
As part of its plans to replace manual with electronic tolling across the country, the Indian Government has mandated that all new vehicles be provided with an RFID tag, which will be sold and installed by the dealerships. FASTag, the national RFID scheme, is currently sold via a number of retail banks at a cost of around ₹ 100 (€1.40), however from August onwards, all new car dealerships will be required to sell the tag directly, as well as help to convince buyers of the benefits.
3 May 2017
The time for EETS has finally come
With the introduction of Toll4Europe, a joint venture between Daimler, T-Systems and DKV, Europe welcomes its eighth EETS provider. Read the full blog here…
27 April 2017
Philippines to invest over $11 billion in toll roads over next 5 years
Infrastructure conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has announced that it will invest 554 billion pesos ($11.4 billion) in expanding new and existing toll roads over the next 5 years in partnership with the Philippine National Construction Corporation. It is hoped that the new funds will alleviate some of the crippling congestion which particularly affects the capital, Manilla. The Philippines currently has a modest toll road network operating a mixed bag of RFID and DSRC technology. There is no mention yet of whether this move will harmonise tolling technology standards across the country. Over the past 2 years there has been a concerted move towards RFID use across South-East Asia, although it remains to be seen whether this will extend to the Philippines.
25 April 2017
Strong rumours that the European Commission will abolish or heavily revise the Eurovignette
With the number of countries mandating use of the Eurovignette for HGVs travelling across their roads declining (currently only Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands still apply the charge for HGVs >12t), the European Commission is exploring alternatives. Following recent discussions in the European Parliament concerning the introduction of a passenger car vignette in Germany, MEPs published two resolutions:
“[The European Parliament] Urges the Commission to consider the revision of the legislation and harmonised framework regarding the Eurovignette and the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) as an opportunity to establish such a framework and to monitor and boost proper enforcement of this legislation”
There have also been unsubstantiated reports in various publications stating that the EC has in fact already determined to scrap the Eurovignette directive in favour of a dynamic, distance based scheme. Belgium recently withdrew from the scheme following the introduction of the distance based charging scheme Viapass in April 2016. Sweden is actively considering its own distance based HGV toll and Denmark came very close in 2013 before the scheme was withdrawn at the last minute. Commissioner Bulc has also long argued in favour of distance based tolling across Europe.
If the Eurovignette were replaced with a new distance based charge it would be an opportunity to further bolster the EETS market, as well as lowering the weight class to a more harmonised level of 3.5t.
20 April 2017
Atlantia reportedly considering €16 billion bid for Abertis
In a move which would create a tolling company of epic proportions, Italy’s Atlantia – which owns (Autostrade, Telepass etc.) is said to be seeking up to €8 billion in financing to help fund a bid for Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis, which owns Sanef, Emovis and EETS provider Eurotoll, among others.
Abertis appears receptive to the bid once issues such as shareholder and company structure have been ironed out. In the last year we reported that French bank CDC was looking to sell its stake in Sanef while Atlantia has been pursuing a 15% sale of shares in Autostrade in order to fund international growth. It also follows Kapsch’s acquisition of Schneider Electric’s transportation arm last March.
If the deal goes ahead, it will have immediate ramifications, not least for the live tender for a new operational contract for Germany’s €4.6 billion HGV toll, which both companies have bid for separately. One would also expect that European competition authorities may also want to take a look at the deal, although this is unlikely to be a major concern.
19 April 2017
Slovak HGV tolling scheme sees strong 3% increase in annual receipts
In 2016, Slovakia’s HGV tolling scheme raised a record breaking €193.34 million, an increase of 3% on 2015’s record. Operated by SkyToll, the Slovak scheme levies a per km fee based on GPS positioning for all vehicles above 3.5t on 17,762km of primary and secondary roads across the country.
18 April 2017
Czech HGV toll revenue rises by a modest 2% following the 12% surge in 2015
MYTO CZ, the Czech DSRC tolling scheme for HGVs has reported robust revenues of 9.88bn Koruna (€369 million) for 2016, a 1.6% increase on 2015 figures. The performance is a far cry from the massive 12% annual spike seen in 2015, however still represents a tong performance by a tolling system which has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the cancellation of a planned 10-year contract tender and subsequent 3 year extension of Kapsch’s existing contract. The Czech transport ministry is now planning to launch a new tender for the next 10-year operational contract, which will begin on 1 January 2020, later this year. GNSS is expected to replace DSRC at this stage, although this has not yet been confirmed. Enabling the introduction of EETS services is also likely to play a large part in the contest.
13 April 2017
Toll4Europe EETS service officially launched
Toll4Europe has commenced business, becoming the eighth company to officially announce as an EETS provider to the European tolling market. Toll4Europe is a joint venture between T-Systems (55%), Daimler (30%) and fuel card giant DKV (15%). The company joins other existing EETS providers; Axxes, Total, Eurotoll, Telepass, BroBizz and Eurowag. Eurovignette provider AGES is also a registered EETS provider, but is believed to have withdrawn from the process. There has yet to be any official confirmation, however we believe it is highly likely that the Toll4Europe service will be delivered via T-Systems Satellic OBU currently in use in Belgium (or a close variation). Toll4Europe will initially launch toll payment services in Belgium, Germany, France, Austria and Poland, followed closely by Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain. If these services can be delivered to the planned 2018 timeline, Toll4Europe will have the most extensive EETS network in Europe, although others have similar plans to catch up. See our recent article on the EETS market for further details
11 April 2017
India considers introducing congestion charging in large cities
Building on the nationwide roll-out of the FASTag RFID scheme, the Urban Development Ministry is considering whether to implement electronic road pricing across the country’s most congested cities. Indian drivers have been somewhat resistant to the introduction of electronic charging as a replacement for the many manual tolled roads still in place around the country. However, after a slow start, the number of FASTags being sold and registered is said to be increasing at a rate of more than 3,000.
5 April 2017
Russia scraps plans to double per km toll fee
Following re-ignited protests from truckers and hailers across Russia, the government has scrapped plans to double the per km toll fee from RUB 1.53 (€0.02) to RUB 3.03 (€0.05). The per km fee will still increase however, albeit by far less to RUB 1.90 (€0.03). Since the introduction of the toll in November 2015, the government has faced frequent, often violent, protests from the haulage industry. While the increase will go some way to increasing revenues for investment in new and existing road capacity, the annual intake is still well below initial expectations. One wonders whether the frequent U-turns on pricing are only encouraging further protests and therefore making it impossible for anything but marginal increases in future…
4 April 2017
Bestpass partners with Tollsmart to provide toll calculations for fleets across North America
Toll management service provider Bestpass has announced a new partnership with Tollsmart, which will enable Bestpass customers and fleets to calculate the complete cost of tolls in advance of their trip.The calculated cost takes into account any discounts provided by tag issuers. This partnership could represent the beginnings of a more integrated approach to tolling payments, as is already the case across Europe (where the number and cost of tolls is much higher of course).
3 April 2017
Belgium’s Viapass generates over €600 million in first year of operation
The Belgium GNSS-based per km toll for vehicles over 3.5t was introduced on 1 April 2016 and has announced revenues of €648 million in the first full year of operation. While the figures certainly represent a significant sum, the 3 regions who are in receipt of the tolls (Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels Region) had expected total revenues in excess of €800 million. According to Viapass, 46% of tolls were paid by Belgium registered vehicles, with the other 54% coming from foreign registered trucks. Dutch, Polish and Romanian trucks were the next 3 largest contributors. To date over 700,000 OBUs have been issued via the two current service providers; Satellic and Axxes. Eurotoll, Total and Telepass are all planning to extend their EETS services to Belgium in the near future.
27 March 2017
Eurotoll announce extension of EETS services
Following similar announcements from Total, DKV/Daimler, Eurowag, Telepass and Axxes, Eurotoll have announced a service extension of their Tribox EETs device. The GNSS powered OBU will soon cover Belgium and Germany, in addition to the existing DSRC domains of France, Spain, Portugal and Austria. This brings Eurotoll’s services closer in line with the competition and represents another significant move in Europe’s HGV tolling market. Eurotoll’s Tribox OBU is also another example of a once planned Ecotaxe device now driving the EETS market. See our recent blog here for a full examination of the EETS market…
22 March 2017
Telepass looks to underpin OBU market share through deal with Europcar
Europcar Italy and Telepass have signed an exclusive agreement, which will see the Italian toll service provider deliver DSRC OBUs to Europcar fleet and individual customers. The partnership is an extension of Telepass’ fleet services offering and will allow customers to rent a Telepass device for €3.50 per day. The deal in itself is not particularly innovative or surprising, the value lies in its ability to boost the market share of Telepass as other OBU providers begin to enter the Italian market. Expect to see other such agreements between OBU/tag providers and large fleet operators over the coming months.
21 March 2017
Russia’s state roads operator Avtodor plans to introduce interoperable DSRC tag
Following years of inoperability across its various tolling concessions, Russia’s state agency, Avtodor, has announced that a fully interoperable DSRC tag will be available by May. The announcement follows two years of negotiations, which included France’s concessions operator Vinci, which is responsible for several tollways around Moscow and St Petersburg. Russia has had several tolling concessions for many years, mostly surrounding the two largest cities. Kapsch will provide the DSRC units. While the move heralds interoperability among DSRC tolled roads, the move has no relevance to the nationwide GNSS-based scheme for HGVs, Platon, which will continue to operate entirely independently.
18 March 2017
Croatia to introduce significant increase in toll cost to offset roads deficit
In order to address the fiscal problems posed by an indebted roads sector, the Croatian government has announced a 5% increase in the cost of toll fees, with further increases planned for the near future. Croatia is one of the few EU Member States without a dedicated nationwide HGV tolling scheme, however it does have a mature network of tolled roads featuring a mixture of electronic (DSRC) and manual payments, supplied by France’s G.E.A.
17 March 2017
Number of foreign vehicles registered for Platon continues to decrease ahead of toll hike
For the second month in a row, the number of foreign listed vehicles registered under the Russian national tolling programme, Platon, has declined, although the number of domestic vehicles has increased. On 15 April, the per km fee is scheduled to increase to RUB 3.06, from RUB 1.53 today, bringing the fee in line with the initial pricing structure first set out prior to the launch of the programme in November 2015.
Total revenue = 21,908,852,000 RUB (€351,635,672)
Number of OBUs issued = 604,271
Percentage of general fleet registered = 81%
Number of vehicles registered = 802,219
Number of Russian vehicles registered = 679,386
Number of foreign vehicles registered = 122,833
Number of carriers registered = 274,991
Number of route cards issued = 12 million
16 March 2017
DKV nearing launch of own-brand OBU for Italy
DKVs planned launch of an on-board-unit (OBU) for use across the Italian tolled network has moved one step closer following successful testing with Aiscat, the Italian Association of Motorways and Tunnels. DKV is one of several providers seeking to gain access to the Italian network, hitherto dominated by domestic issuer Telepass, and plans to launch the OBU in the second half of 2017. See our recent blog on the growth of EETS services for more information.
15 March 2017
Policymakers in Manila considering introduction of road pricing to fight chronic congestion
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is reported to be exploring the potential introduction of a Singapore-style congestion charge in order to reduce rampant traffic in the Philippine’s capital. Tracing a similar line to that of Jakarta, which is currently putting together a second tender for its own (likely) DSRC system, Manila has met with officials from Singapore and is using the city-state’s system as a blueprint. Singapore is in the process of replacing its existing DSRC system with GNSS, due to launch in 2020.
13 March 2017
Bulgarian government expecting €300 million tolling revenue per annum
Although it has yet to select an operator and announce an official launch date, Bulgaria remains set to become the next European country to begin GNSS based tolling for heavy goods vehicles (>3.5t). Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Lilyana Pavlova has stated that she has targeted revenues of 600 million Lev (€307 million) in the first full year of operation and up to 1 billion (€511 million) once the system matures. Originally announced in April 2016, the tender for the proposed GNSS road charging network has been delayed by a series of legal challenges, although Minister Pavlova remains confident the system will come into operation in 2018. See past news for more information…
8 March 2017
Slovenia’s Motorway Company reveals map of planned DSRC tolling network
The planned network will consist of 126 fixed gantries and 15 additional surveillance stations. It will encompass the major transit routes across the country, including the major ring road around the capital Ljubljana (see map below), and levy a distance based fee on all vehicles above 3.5 tonnes. A consortium of Q-Free and Telekom Slovenije were awarded the €90 million, 10 year operating contract in September last year following a closely fought tender which also included Kapsch, Autostrade and Slovakia’s SkyToll.
7 March 2017
EETS: The Ecotaxe’s greatest legacy
In 2004 the European Commission launched the EETS directive. It was hoped this would lead to pan-European tolling through single device and contract. 13 years later, the failed French Ecotaxe has arguably had a more lasting impact on EETS than the directive itself. Read the full blog here…
2 March 2017
Network expansion likely to accompany new Czech 10-year operational tender
The Czech government are examining several potential options for expanding the existing HGV tolling network from January 2020 onwards, the date on which the new 10 year operational contract will begin. Kapsch TrafficCom are currently fulfilling a 3 year extension to their original 10 year operational contact, which expired at the end of 2016. A fresh tender is likely to be launched this year, with the new contract set to begin on 1 January 2020. At this time, it is likely that the existing 1,400km network could be expanded by up to an additional 900km. The Czech HGV toll, MytoCZ, generates approximately €360 million per annum and has seen healthy growth over the last few years. The network currently uses 5.8 DSRC technology, but is expected to invite proposals for a GNSS based scheme when the tender is issued.
1 March 2017
Four bids said to be in the running for new German LKW MAUT contract
With Toll Collect’s existing operational contract coming to an end, the German federal government has opened a tender process for a new 12 year contact, which contains a option for a further 3 at the end. Initially five bids were received from the following companies:
- Autostrade, who successfully bid for the failed French Ecotaxe
- Skytoll, the operator of Slovakia’s GNSS tolling network
- Toll Collect (T-Systems, Daimler), the incumbent
- AGES, operator of the Eurovignette
- IBM/Continental/Abertis, a new consortium formed for the purpose of the bid
AGES were said to have been eliminated from the competition last month, leaving four bids in the running. As we asserted in the article, it would be a surprise if the incumbent, Toll Collect, were not successful.
28 February 2017
Fuel card issuer Eurowag completes registration to become sixth official EETS provider
Fast growing Czech based fuel card provider Eurowag has become the sixth company registered to provide EETS services across Europe. The licence will allow Eurowag to issue a single on-board-unit across multiple toll domains once certification of the device and back office link has been granted in each applicable country. Eurowag becomes the second fuel card provider to be granted an EETS license after France’s Total. It is unlikely to be the last. DKV has already announced plans to launch its own EETS service in partnership with T-Systems & Daimler – likely based on the Satellic device currency in use in Belgium. The other five registered providers are AGES, Axxes, Eurotoll, Telepass and Total.
27 February 2017
Jakarta to hold second ERP tender as complaints over choice of DSRC hinder first process
Despite hundreds of companies expressing interest in the original tender, which was launched late last year, Jakarta will now hold a second following a complaint on the grounds of unfair business competition. As we reported on 9 January (see below), the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) argued that the decision to welcome proposals for a DSRC 5.8 based system only represented a monopolistic practice, violating Law No.5/1999. A new tender is now likely to take place later this year, which may welcome bids from other technology and systems suppliers.
26 February 2017
Road pricing in Metro Vancouver appears to be on the table once more
The idea of road pricing in Metro Vancouver is far from new. Transport operator TransLink has long been in favour of the idea, with CEO, Kevin Desmond, on record suggesting that a form of dynamic pricing should be looked at. The influential Mayor’s Council of Metro Vancouver has also ben a strong supporter of dynamic road pricing for many years, beginning various political initiatives and focus groups. Now, with the formation of a new sub-group, formed to define terms of reference, road pricing may have progressed one step further.
22 February 2017
Number of foreign registered vehicles falls for the first time as revenues continue steady growth
Latest operating figures for Russia’s nationwide HGV toll, Platon:
Total revenue = 20,646,134,000 (€337,633,654)
Number of OBUs issued = 597,301
Percentage of general fleet registered = 80%
Number of vehicles registered = 798,892
Number of Russian vehicles registered = 674,518
Number of foreign vehicles registered = 124,374
Number of carriers registered = 273,824
Number of route cards issued = 11.7 million
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.
15 February 2017
Telepass to launch GNSS device and extend coverage to Germany & Belgium
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.
10 February 2017
Ukraine to begin construction on new tolling concession in 2018 as nationwide HGV scheme appears delayed
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.
7 February 2017
Ghana becomes latest African country to introduce electronic tolling
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).
For more information on Russia’s HGV toll see our blog here
31 January 2017
Increasing number of truckers using GPS jammers to avoid Belgian Viapass toll
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.
26 January 2017
North Carolina toll road selected as test site for autonomous vehicles
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 ruledthat 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.