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GPS-Based Toll System to Replace FASTag

Context:

The government plans to start a GPS-based toll system in place of FASTag to ensure seamless payment and vehicle movement on national highways.

  • The move would end the role of toll plazas across the country.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How will a GPS-based tolling system work?
  2. About FASTag
  3. About RFID Technology

How will a GPS-based tolling system work?

  • Vehicles will be fitted with an electronic device that can track their movement.
  • Highways will be geo-fenced, creating virtual boundaries. The system will use GPS or radio frequency identification technologies.
  • The software will recognize when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area, and toll will be charged based on the distance travelled at the highway’s exit point.
  • As the system is based on sensors, there will be no need to stop at toll plazas.
  • Vehicles and users must be registered with the GPS toll system, linked to bank accounts that will be used to transfer toll payments.

About FASTag

  • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
  • It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner.
  • As per NHAI, FASTag has unlimited validity. 7.5% cashback offers were also provided to promote the use of FASTag.
  • Dedicated Lanes at some Toll plazas have been built for FASTag.
Advantages of Using FASTag
  • Digital transaction makes it easier to collect toll fees.
  • Congestion in Toll plazas will reduce.
  • Non-stop movement at the highways will reduce Fuel consumption and even pollution.
  • The Effort in Managing toll gates is reduced as the system is more automated.
  • There will also be reduced paper wastage (in the form of tokens/receipts)
  • This will be a unifying system as FASTags are not specific to the state or region and work all over India.
Problems with FASTag
  • Technical issues and glitches are possible which makes the system susceptible to false charges or other such issues.
  • All the toll booths are yet to be made FASTag compatible and this has not necessarily reduced the congestion issue yet.
  • The RFID technology is not failproof and can be misused by duplication or other “hacks”.
  • The FASTags sold by banks have to be recharged from the same bank, as they are not Bank Neutral (unless you buy it directly from NHAI).
About RFID Technology
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to communicate between two objects: a reader and a tag. RFID communication is the same as two-way radio communication in the sense that information is transmitted or received via a radio wave at a specific frequency.
  • Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader.

RFID applications apart from usage in Toll collection:

  • Self-checkins at Libraries / rental services as well as retail premises.
  • Livestock Management and pet identification.
  • Building Security – secure access controls, documentation and passports.
  • Airports – for baggage tracking and tracing/locating.
  • SMART home controls – systems to manage home/business energy consumption/production.
  • Seismic Sensing – such as locating gas lines and temperature sensing (geophysical).
  • Environmental – Energy, Ozone & Pollution measuring equipment.

-Source: Live Mint


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September 2022
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