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Top 5 predictions in tolling for 2023

What can we expect to see in the global tolling space in 2023? Here are five things which are likely going to happen:

  1. Further transition to MLFF/ORT tolling: While free flow tolling is nothing new, there are still many conventional toll plazas being operated globally. Given the benefits of MLFF systems (lower operational costs, no queuing etc.) we can expect to see further toll agencies transitioning to free flow tolling in 2023. Here are some examples: Croatia is about to issue a tender for an MLFF system; Hong Kong will introduce the “HKeToll” system at all government tolled tunnels by the end of 2023; we can expect to see further MLFF systems being put out to tender in France after the successful go-live of the first MLFF system on the A79 motorway; Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) is currently migrating from channelized tolled lanes to a brand-new free flow solution; the Dutch vehicle authority (RDW) has just awarded a contract to implement the first free flow tolling system in the Netherlands.

  2. Urban tolling will become smarter: Over the last years. the number of city governments using urban tolling or low emission zones to improve road traffic and air quality in their cities has significantly increased. While most of these systems are still based on simple tariff schemes (e.g. a user has to pay X EUR/day to enter the city center with a car), cities like London, Bogota or Valencia have started examining how these systems could become more intelligent in the future. For example, distance-based systems with variable tariff schemes would not just reduce the number of cars but also influence the route choice of road users, allowing traffic managers to implement a next-generation traffic management solution.

  3. Governments introducing road user charging for EVs: With an increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads, more and more governments realize that they have to find an alternative source of infrastructure funding to compensate for decreasing fuel tax income. Several states in the US and in Australia have already introduced some form of EV tax, which often is milage-based. Other countries have started to prepare some form of road user charge for EVs like Switzerland, with a project called "Ersatzabgabe" (replacement charge) or the UK where EVs will eventually leave the treasury with a £35bn gap in tax revenue. The UK Transport Committee has tasked the government to recommend an alternative road charging mechanism to replace fuel vehicle excise duty and recommends introducing a system of ‘dynamic tax charges’ based around a telematics system, which could best change drivers’ behavior and deliver wider policies on air quality, congestion, public transport and public health.

  4. Fleet and mobility services providers offering toll payment as a value-add service: In more and more countries, 3rd-party toll service providers become the primary “channel” through which tolls are collected. The main driver behind this trend is that road users are seeking an option to pay their toll electronically in multiple domains using a single tag/on-board unit and one payment account. In addition, vehicle ownership models are changing and therefore more vehicles will be operated by fleet operators looking for a universal way of paying tolls in different toll domains. The trend towards toll payment services opens up new business opportunities for fleet and mobility services providers. Some car manufacturers for example have already started to embed toll payment functions in their vehicles, several fleet telematics companies in Europe are offering toll payment as an optional feature and with an increasing number of urban tolling schemes, we can expect to see parking payment service providers and mobility-as-a-service vendors adding toll payment to their service portfolios.

  5. Growing number of GNSS tolling schemes: In the past we saw GNSS technology primarily being used for truck tolling schemes in Europe. With the benefits of this technology like the reduced need for roadside infrastructure (compliance checking only), quick and flexible extension of the tolled road network, plus cost savings when leveraging existing GNSS devices (smartphones, fleet telematics devices, tachographs etc.) this technology is being selected by an increasing number of toll agencies. 2023 will see the first GNSS based toll systems going live in Asia. Just recently the Indonesian Toll Road Authority has started trialing its new cashless toll payment system, using "Cantas", a smartphone app that calculates the distance traveled for the toll fee and which automatically deducts the driver's balance. The system is supposed to go live later this year and a very large number of users are expected. And in India the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is currently preparing a roadmap for India's free-flow tolling system based on GNSS technology.

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