Satellite-Based Tolling on Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway

India is gearing up to introduce a revolutionary technology of Satellite-Based Tolling that will transform the way tolls are collected on highways. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based toll collection system will allow vehicles to travel seamlessly without stopping at toll plazas, and pay only for the distance they cover on the road. The pilot project of this technology will be implemented on the 10-lane Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway, which is one of the busiest highways in the country.

How does Satellite-Based Tolling work?

The GNSS-based toll collection system uses satellite positioning to track the location and movement of vehicles on the highway. It then calculates the toll fee based on the length of the highway traversed by the vehicle. The fee is deducted from the linked bank account of the vehicle owner through a secure electronic payment system. The system also captures the photo of the vehicle’s registration plate for verification purposes.

What are the benefits?

The GNSS-based toll collection system offers several advantages over the existing radio frequency identification (RFID) based Fastag system, which was made mandatory in January 2021. The Fastag system requires vehicles to pass through dedicated lanes at toll plazas, where sensors read the tags and deduct the fee. However, this can cause delays and congestion at peak hours, as not all vehicles have Fastags or sufficient balance in their accounts.

The GNSS-based system eliminates the need for physical infrastructure at toll plazas, such as sensors, barriers, booths and staff. This reduces operational and maintenance costs, as well as environmental impact. The system also ensures that vehicles pay only for the actual distance they use on the highway, rather than a fixed fee for each toll plaza. This makes it more economical and fair for commuters, especially those who travel short distances.

When will it start?

The Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced in February 2024 that the government has appointed a consultant to provide advisory services on the implementation of the GNSS-based toll collection system. He said that the pilot project will be conducted on roads including the Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway in Karnataka. He also said that the new technology will start replacing the Fastag-based system within the next six months.

The Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway is a 117-km long access-controlled highway that connects two major cities in Karnataka. It was inaugurated in December 2023 and has reduced the travel time between Mysuru and Bengaluru from four hours to 90 minutes. The expressway has eight toll plazas, where vehicles currently pay a total of Rs 250 for a one-way trip using Fastags.

The introduction of satellite-based tolling on this expressway will be a game-changer for road travel in India, as it will offer a smooth, hassle-free and cost-effective experience for commuters.

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