Pakistan now joins the list of growing countries where RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) based electronic toll collection is in use. For now it has been introduced on Peshawar – Islamabad M1 and Islamabad – Lahore M2 Motorways. This technology allows the vehicles to pass through toll booths without stopping and toll amount is automatically deducted from the money account on record.
Here is how the system works. An RFID tag (transponder) is now available free-of-cost to motorists using Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar toll plazas. This tag is attached to a carâ€™s wind shield.
News appearing to this effect in Dawn of November 7, 2007 says:
â€œThose who want to secure the RFID tag will be required to submit full particulars about their person, details of bank account and some other information. The NHA (National Highway Authority) staff posted at the plazas for selling of the tag will register all such details in their system.â€
On toll plazas, RFID Readers with antennas have been installed. When a vehicle approaches a toll plaza, the RFID Reader Antenna communicates wirelessly with the RFID tag located in the vehicle wind shield. At highway speeds (in excess of 100 kmph), the system identifies the car and charges the correct amount of toll to the bank account on record. The system which is installed in Pakistan, a vehicle will still have to stop at a booth but no human transaction between the vehicle occupants and toll booth operator is needed. I believe it is definitely a step in positive direction. It will reduce waiting lines at toll booths and save fuel.
Following is another excerpt from the original news that appears in Dawn of November 7, 2007.
â€œA very interesting feature of the new system is that the required amount would be electronically deducted from the bank account of the motorist. The e-toll will also have a fast tracking system installed which will detect wrong information givers. As such, in case there is no amount in the account of the person concerned the NHA electronic system will recognize it and signal stop by flashing the red light and the bar would not be lifted.â€
It appears in the news that after initial deployment at Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar toll plazas, the system will be extended to all toll plazas located on the motorways M1, M2 and M3.
The electronic toll system in Pakistan has been introduced by NHA (National Highway Authority) in collaboration with NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority).
Update: July 7, 2008:
This news update appears on July 7, 2008 in Jang. It shows 10210 vehicles have so far registered for the RFID tagged E-toll system on Pakistan Motorway Network.