“In the future, tolls will be collected in free-flowing traffic, relying on vehicle-generated data and smartphones with cellular connectivity for charging as well as account management. Also, road-user charging based on vehicle miles travelled will gradually replace traditional collection of fuel taxes. To drive these key trends globally, a new generation of smart technology solutions is needed – and Kapsch TrafficCom is at the forefront of providing them,” says Justin Hamilton, tolling expert at Kapsch TrafficCom.
One of the key trends observed all around, for example, is the migration from manual toll collection technologies to multi-lane free-flow (MLFF) that secures flowing traffic and improves road user convenience and experience.
Looking a little farther into the future, we also see smartphones being used to support location-based toll collection – a trend that may well enable road-user charging in the short- to mid-term.
The question for toll chargers and service providers – both from the public and private sector – is how to prepare their technology environment to support these new trends?
Technology transformation is key to success
To support the transition to next-generation tolling, providers will need a range of transformative technology solutions. These include:
1. Solutions that support the transition to MLFF
The transition from manual plaza tolling clearly requires significant changes to both physical infrastructure and operations processes. Barriers and payment booths are replaced with gantry or pole-mounted cameras and sensors, while collection itself moves to the back office. Recognising the need for technologies that can reliably classify vehicles in challenging highway conditions, and at speed, Kapsch TrafficCom has created a range of MLFF solutions that support accurate, reliable vehicle classification and license-plate reading. These include high-performance field products such as transceivers and readers, as well as smart video and sensor products.
Just as importantly, Kapsch TrafficCom has long experience in helping clients around the world manage the complex transition from manual tolling to MLFF.
2. Geo-location capabilities that map user location to create high-quality toll charging data
To enable mid- and longer-term tolling innovations – such as the use of cellular or vehicle data for toll and road-user charging – advanced geo-location capabilities are needed. To support this, Kapsch TrafficCom has developed a proprietary Geo Location Platform, which converts vehicle location data into verified and rated toll charging data. This technology matches the coordinates of vehicles to the real world. It also adapts to the constantly changing road network to ensure that tolling systems always have accurate data.
Finally, the Geo Location Platform can process data from any source – allowing the solution to work with data from on-board units, smartphones, telematics units, connected vehicles, or any other source that provides verifiable location data. The platform also effectively matches location data into the toll context for highways, A-roads, or even city road networks and ‘as a service’ delivery ensures that maps are always up to date and accurate.
3. Robust, accurate, cost-effective enforcement solutions
With geo location data decoupling charging from enforcement, robust enforcement solutions are needed to ensure that mobile/cellular phones or other data sources are used correctly. To support this, Kapsch TrafficCom provides cost-effective, pole-mounted enforcement units with a small footprint and a low total cost of ownership. The enforcement unit incorporates machine-learning capabilities to reduce hardware footprint and cost. Our pole-mounted solutions also simplify maintenance, with no need to close lanes or otherwise disrupt traffic flow.
4. Mobile-first technologies that enhance the end-user experience
Now that nearly everyone carries a smartphone, the right app has the potential to dramatically improve road users’ tolling experience. To enable this, Kapsch TrafficCom has developed the Uproad app, which allows users to set up and manage their account, calculate tolls for their journey before they set out, and pay their tolls quickly and easily without leaving the App.
Enable the future of tolling with Kapsch TrafficCom
For more information about Kapsch TrafficCom tolling solutions and services, and how they can help your organisation to maximise efficiency through automation and deliver more convenient, value-added customer experiences, visit Tolling Transformation (kapsch.net)!