Leena Nandan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, assures that most of the toll plazas on the National Highways have been connected in the last one year and that the payment solutions, including payment though mobile, are being given the final touch. The roll-out, she promises, can happen in the next six months.
How effective did you find TrafficInfraTech Expo with various technologies displayed at it?
It was a tremendous under-one-roof exposition where so many different players, ideas of innovations and technology solutions were bought together. The companies that exhibited at the Expo are dealing with road safety issues, enforcement issues, and tolling issues among others. So there were tremendous opportunities for all of us to learn and be aware of the developments all over the world.
Can these technologies be used by the MoRTH in the near future to develop highways or other projects?
Definitely. In fact, the ministry has brought about a great focus on road safety, and we are trying to mitigate the impact of engineering drawbacks by identifying black spots. Till now, 700 black spots have been identified all over the country. And many of the rectification measures would include technology solutions such as those displayed at the Expo.
Does the Ministry feel there is no way forward without technology in today’s times?
The ministry is fully aware of the importance of technology, its best use and how we can adapt & adopt the technology. I will particularly speak about e-tolling. Today India is the power house of ITS solutions all over the world. And we have tried to use the IT wisdom and systems in our country by bringing in integration among so many stakeholders. So, there are the toll-plaza operators, concessionaires, banks, the payment getaways, consumers and of course, the vehicles/automobiles whether they are buses, trucks or cars. All of them are equipped with the right kind of tag that will enable them to use the ETC lane. Putting all this together has been done to make the ETC objective of the government a reality for the country.
When can we expect actual implementation?
We have been working very actively towards this. So, there would definitely be a new roll-out all over the country in the next six months.