India may have a new toll-collecting system soon: Here's what you need to know
After the implementation of RFID based toll collection system through FASTag across India, the central government is now mulling the idea of bringing another significant change in the country's highway toll collection process.The central government has been mulling the idea of replacing the conventional toll plazas with a camera-aided toll collection system that can read number plates on the vehicles. These cameras will be known as Automatic Number Plate Reader (ANPR) cameras.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) claims the main objective of setting up these cameras is to reduce the waiting time for vehicles at the toll plazas. Currently, around 97 per cent of toll collection across India is happening through FASTag, and people at the toll plazas still feel the congestion. Setting up the ANPR cameras would possibly reduce the congestion at the toll plazas, as MoRTH has hinted.
Before the central government implements the new toll collection system, here is all you need to know about it.
How ANPR works?
As MoRTH has revealed, all the toll plazas across the country will be removed from the national highways. Instead of the toll plazas, ANPR will be installed, which will read the number plate of the vehicle and deduct the toll amount from the vehicle owner's linked bank account. The system will equip the entry and exit points with ANPR cameras to capture the photo of vehicles' number plates. The last and final ANPR camera will signal the system to deduct the toll amount from the vehicle owner's linked bank account.
How efficient is ANPR?
While ANPR sounds promising to make the national highways smoother for vehicles, there are some doubts. The camera would be able to read the number plates of those vehicles only that came after 2019 and were registered by the cameras. This is because the government of India, in 2019, came up with the idea of requiring passenger vehicles to have OEM-fitted number plates, not aftermarket ones. The ANPR cameras can only read these company-fitted number plates. This leaves a large number of vehicles out of the ambit of the proposed toll collection system.
There are some other loopholes as well. The Automatic Number Plate Reader (ANPR) cameras could find reading challenging when the number plate exceeds the nine-digit registration number. In India, many vehicle owners tend to use names or other texts on the number plate, which makes the plate look clumsy and difficult to read for the ANPR.
Apart from that, on the trucks, the number plates are often hidden or soiled in a manner that makes reading them difficult even with bare eyes. ANPR could find reading this tough, making the toll collection for such vehicles extremely difficult. Also, under the ANPR, there is no provision to penalise vehicle owners who try to skip the toll plazas without paying the tax.