New Delhi: The Government will introduce new technologies, including GPS-based toll collection systems, by March next year to replace existing highway toll plazas, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday. The move is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and charging motorists for the exact distance travelled on the highways.
"The government is looking at new technologies, including GPS-based toll systems to replace toll plazas in the country... we will start new GPS satellite-based toll collection across the country by March next year," he said.
Gadkari also said the road transport and highways ministry has conducted two pilot projects of automatic number plate recognition system (automatic number plate reader cameras) to enable automated toll collection without stopping the vehicles.
During 2018-19, the average waiting time for vehicles at toll plaza was 8 minutes. With the introduction of FASTags during 2020-21 and 2021-22, the average waiting time of the vehicles was reduced to 47 seconds. Although there is considerable improvement in waiting time at certain locations, especially near cities, in densely-populated towns, there are still some delays at toll plazas during peak hours.
Meanwhile, Gadkari said the government will bid out road projects worth Rs 1.5-2 lakh crore on the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model for highway projects of less than 1,000 kilometres length before the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect for the general elections next year.
The general elections are scheduled for April-May 2024.
"Going forward, we will favour Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) model mostly for highway construction," he said.
InvITs are instruments designed to pool money from investors and invest in assets that will provide cash flows over a period of time.