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EghtesadOnline: Human-staffed toll booths are to be replaced with a cashless electronic toll system on four major freeways on the eve of Norouz, the Iranian New Year and a major holiday season.

The move is part of a project of the Ministry of Roads. If it produces the desired results, the automated toll system will be implemented throughout the country.

A deputy with Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, Khodadad Moqbeli, told ISNA the Tehran-Saveh, Tehran-Qom, Qazvin-Rasht, and Qazvin-Zanjan highways will be equipped with the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system.

Similar projects have been tested on several freeways over the past few years, Moqbeli said. ETC will speed up toll collection on roads, according to Financial Tribune.



How it Works

Vehicles will be identified with the help of two technologies. Car owners can purchase special labels and install them on their vehicles, which can be easily detected by the monitoring devices in the ETC system.

In addition, Moqbeli says, the new system is also envisaged to identify vehicles at the gate through license plate recognition cameras.

The same monitoring system used by traffic police for detecting traffic violators via surveillance cameras can be used for implementing ETC. The number plate of vehicles will be recorded by the cameras.

Data gathered by cameras and the number plates can be paired with the car owners identity using the Traffic Police database.

Different vehicles (cars, vans, cabs, trucks) have different toll rates, making it necessary to distinguish the type of vehicle passing through the toll area. Data gathered via cameras can be used for determining each vehicle category and type.

Drivers are required to sign up on a smartphone application (which will be launched soon) in advance and charge their account. The toll amount will be deducted from the account when drivers pass through the toll point.

The system can also be used to detect cars that evade paying the toll, which is a traffic violation. Drivers who refuse to pay the meager toll fee will be fined as they are now with the old system. 

Moqbeli says currently around 20% of the vehicles crossing through toll points cheat the toll booths and are fined.

Implementing the ETC will help eliminate the long queues of vehicles in toll lines, and help slightly reduce travel time.

Norway is the world's pioneer in the application of this technology. ETC was first introduced in Bergen, in 1986, operating together with traditional toll booths.

While, implementation of the ETC can make collecting toll easier for state authorities, the plan introduced in Iran does not include any incentives to encourage people for using the services. 

Independent observers have pointed out that installing a mobile app, charging it before hitting the road and other steps travelers are required to take for using the ETC are time consuming and will certainly discourage users.


Iran Automated Toll System electronic toll system toll booths cashless