India has a road network of over 5.2 million kms, the 2nd largest in the world. Between this the countries national highway carries about 40% of the traffic and due to a sharp increase in the GDP growth, it has become paramount to quickly enhance these highways. Accordingly, the central government has diploid P3 mode, which focuses on the quick and efficient development of these highways.
A few effective measures have been taken to drive this sector, mainly:
• Budgetary allocation of 126% y-o-y is highest across all infrastructure segments.
• Plans for over Rs 5 trillion investment in highways by 2019.
These initiatives of the government to improve the quality of highways between key cities and seamless connectivity across the length and breadth of the country has encouraged a large number of people to opt for road transport as an effective alternative to railways and airways. For instance the difference between air travel and road travel between Chennai and Bangalore is just 60-75 minutes and with skyrocketing airline prices, road travel is increasingly proving to be the most popular method of travel.
As the use of national highways increased the traffic piling up on the prompted NHAI (National Highway Association of India) to issue a GO (government order) making it mandatory for toll owners to introduce Electronic Tolling. And hence FasTag was introduced which was based on RFID technology and was successfully implemented to toll plazas across the country. But as a result of a quick and hasty implementation it left the system open to a great many challenges, which resulted in poor toll management, traffic pileups, delays and long cues to name a few.
As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. This prompted the NHAI to look into possible technology alternatives that could not only resolve the existing challenges but also co-exist/seamlessly integrate with the existing system. And in the month of September 2017 the NHAI floated an EOI (expression of interest) for alternative technology and received 33 submissions, out of which a creative Bluetooth based E-Toll system called Toll^ (Toll Power) stood out.
Toll^ is the brainchild and flagship product of AppRaam Labs Pvt Ltd and is a bluetooth based E-Tolling system which is both non-internet dependent and unobtrusive. This solution was also piloted between Madurai and Kanyakumari with encouraging results with the average time for transaction stood at an incredible 5-6 second, the system allows users to pass through the toll at 15kmph virtually making it such that the vehicles do not have to stop at any toll (once the system is installed). The mobile app once downloaded works in the back end and hence allowing user to continue using the mobile. Toll^ is less also capital intensive compared to the existing electronic toll collection system and guarantees toll concessionaires remittance of t+1 day.
AppRaam has made it incredibly easy for toll concessionaires and users to adopt this system, the toll Concessionaires only needs to power on the device and connect its validating controls like boom gate, ANPR, signal and AVCS (per transaction). The Toll^ system can also easily integrate with existing building infrastructure at the toll plazas, hence no new investment is required.
On the user side, once the app is downloaded the user needs to complete registration and the ID is activated within a record 6 hours (once the verification formalities are complete). The app also has trip-planning module, which helps user estimate the exact toll charges and load the same amount in the e-wallet. Toll^ has scalable options to accommodate features such as, E way bill, distance based tolling, traffic surveys and a whole lot more.
AppRaam Labs also plans to combine Toll^ with various amenities and make highway travel more comfortable.