“Service: Integrated Transport Management System
Domain: Surface Transport, India
Area: Toll collection for using road network
Activity: Travel within country
India is a subcontinent with large road networks. Government is presently working to expand and upgrade the roadways in a big way. This move is welcome however it also needs to address various related challenges upfront at the planning stage itself. Here we are trying to address some key issues faced by road users who primarily travel on holiday or pilgrimage.
Though there are many experts who can pin point the challenges in the road infrastructure, here we are highlighting a few along with the possible suggestions to make the everyday users’ life better.
Top 5 challenges to end users:
- Frequent cash payments of various denominations leading to shortage of smaller currency
- Lack of single payment facility
- Unable to validate whether the toll collection booths are legitimate or fake
- Long waiting times leading to higher fuel consumption and frustration
- Multiple helpline numbers cause confusion as there is no single mechanism to handle road emergency
Some of the other challenges that can be addressed simultaneously are
- No feedback mechanism
- No single channel to address tolls spread across multiple regions
- Lack of verification mechanism to address legitimacy, security& authenticity concerns
- No clarity in terms of start and closure of the toll roads
- Paper wastage due to issue of paper based permits, receipts, certificates, etc.
- Details of the use of the funds, duration of collection of fee, responsible stakeholders, etc. are not easily available
- Checking of cargo vehicles by RTA at entry/exit points of provinces blocks the roads and increases travel time
- Updates on road conditions, changes in fees, change of helpline numbers, etc.
Top 5 requirements of end users:
- Simple, robust, easy to use, fast and handy system preferably mobile based as it is widely in use
- Support multiple languages for greater penetration and ease of usage
- Secure payment mechanism supporting multiple channels
- Reduce waiting time & resultant frustration when people cut lines to get ahead
- Value add in terms of ascertain authenticity of toll booths, traffic updates, complaint & feedback mechanism directed to right point of contacts and helpline numbers to reach out in case of different type of emergencies
The solution is for developing a mechanism which brings together disparate agencies under one environment by providing a seamless and single window service which is simple, fast, secure and easy to use.
Top 5 benefits that can accrue through it would be
- Reduced fuel consumption leading to higher savings and reduced crude oil imports saving precious foreign exchange
- Reduced greenhouse emissions and lower carbon footprint
- Brings together vehicles, road users, payments and security under a single system thus creating an ecosystem which all the other stakeholders can take benefit from to come up innovative solutions to address existing or future challenges
- Empowering users to choose from multiple channels to pay for the road fee as convenient to them including pre-paying thus reducing waiting time at toll booths
- Reduced paper wastage leading to lower deforestation
Indirect associated benefits, which are often ignored, are
- A nationwide integrated transport network as envisioned under the Digital India movement
- Linked to all RTA of all provinces thus tracking the status of vehicles, avoiding duplication, status of various vehicle certificates
- When linked to Homeland Security, this can track suspicious persons escaping the area of crime and direct nearest patrol for interception
- Can be linked to existing Payment Gateways to leverage the infrastructure available for online payments via web or mobile channels
- A mobile based app can help sync with Google maps to accurately track the vehicle and provide real time requisite updates
- Since bar code readers are already existing, an electronic or printable copy of a single page can quickly scan to confirm the pre-payment and reduce waiting times
- Having the system catering to regional languages will help cover all provinces to make the investment viable and increase the penetration
By creating an information technology based environment can open plethora of opportunities for all stakeholders to come up with new or improved services which addresses current and future needs in a quick and simple manner.
The points noted here would immensely benefit regular road users like transport and logistic companies. All stakeholders putting their weight behind such an initiative would make life better for all.
A service can only become great when the elements of planning, design, infrastructure, implementation, training, operation and maintenance are done in time and with right quality.” – Soumitri Murthinty – Maharashtra, India