Use business and functional requirements to guide technology selection for a road pricing program and understand that the technology selected initially evolves over time.
Experience from road pricing programs in Europe and Asia
- Use business and functional requirements to guide technology selection. Several pricing programs realized benefits by following a requirements-based approach to program development and systems design. Countries that had business, functional, and technical requirements at the core of their procurement processes tended to be more successful in engaging public and private partners and achieving program objectives.
Germany: The Germans chose GPS-based technologies to meet their business requirements of an easily expandable and scalable priced roadway network. The functional requirement that on-board units (OBUs) be managed remotely with downloadable roadway location networks and tariff schedules drove the technology selection.
Czech Republic: The Czech Republic opted to prioritize the implementation schedule as a critical consideration. As a consequence, the Czechs chose an off-the-shelf DSRC/radio-frequency identification system, which was rapidly deployable. Relatively high unit costs and a long-term contract constraint have given the Czechs a reason to explore alternative technologies as they plan to expand the pricing system to new roadways.
Singapore, The Netherlands: Addressing privacy protection and the perception of privacy was a key consideration in Singapore and in the plans for The Netherlands. In Singapore, privacy concerns were mitigated by a requirement for OBUs to accept a stored-value smart card as the payment mechanism. Since the prepaid smart card is portable and does not hold any personal data, an individual’s privacy is protected. Similarly, the Dutch system planners plan to require a trusted element as a feature for privacy protection.
- Understand that the initial technology applications often evolve after implementation, particularly with the experience of full-scale operations.
Sweden: Stockholm migrated from a dual-payment system, which employed both transponders and a video toll collection system, to one that relies solely on ANPR (automated number plate recognition). The dual-payment methods, used during the demonstration phase, were costly to operate, but the Swedish tax law also required that the Stockholm congestion tax system capture photos of all license plates. After the demonstration period, when the system was permanently reopened, the transponders were phased out in favor of an ANPR-based system, and also allowing the conversion to a monthly billing statement rather than requiring users to pay per trip.
Singapore, London: Singapore migrated from a paper permit to a transponder-based system and is now exploring GPS technologies. London is also reviewing its ANPR-based charging techniques to find ways to reduce the operational costs of the system.
- Beware that requirements that add complexity to the collection system also have significant impacts on costs.
Singapore: A fundamental decision in Singapore was to require an OBU (on-board unit) in every vehicle, which greatly simplified technology requirements and kept the ongoing operating costs low.
Germany: While only 10 percent of transactions in the German system are manual, they account for over one-third of the total operating costs.
Stockholm: The Lidingö Rule in Stockholm, which exempts certain vehicles from the congestion tax, added substantively to the systems development and processing requirements to handle the complexity of the decision algorithms required to check for exempted through-traffic movements. The increased complexity has added significantly to capital and ongoing operating costs.
- Anticipate challenges in achieving interoperability of road pricing systems among countries.
European Union: Interoperability of road pricing systems among European Union member states has been a challenge. The European Union has adopted Directive 2004/52/EC, which outlines requirements for member countries to adopt interoperable standards (i.e., EETS) for electronic tolling that allow a vehicle to pay road-user fees anywhere in the European Union via one contract and with one OBU. However, technical, administrative, and legal hurdles have made advancing interoperability time consuming and challenging. The European Parliament and European Union Council approved the directive in 2004, and five years later in 2009, a decision on the EETS definition.
While interoperability may be viewed as a technological concern, it interfaces with a full range of business, administrative, financial, and legal issues. Establishing standards is a critical first step, but ultimately interoperability will require multi-disciplinary approaches. Existing systems with large sunk costs in proprietary applications and equipment heighten the challenge of transition.
Road pricing programs implemented in Europe and Asia offer important lessons on the use of market-based approaches to address traffic congestion and improve mobility. European experience shows that the business and functional requirements serve to guide technology selection; the technology selected initially may not meet requirements over time; increasing system complexity increases costs; and achieving interoperability of road pricing systems among counties remains a challenge to overcome.
Author: Robert Arnold, Vance C. Smith, John Q. Doan, Rodney N. Barry, Jayme L. Blakesley, Patrick T. DeCorla-Souza, Mark F. Muriello, Gummada N. Murthy, Patty K. Rubstello, Nick A. Thompson
Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Source Date: 12/01/2010URL: http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl10030/pl10030.pdf
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