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Monday , 29 November 2021

ETC System Integrators – Roles and Challenges

Sudipto Chakravarty, President, Association of Toll and Traffic System Integrators of India (ATTSII)

The System Integrators have played a pivotal role in implementing the ETC program at the grass root level of toll lanes and plazas by timely deployment of all resources and technology, states Sudipto Chakravarty, President, Association of Toll and Traffic System Integrators of India (ATTSII)

The journey of ETC started in 2011-12 when NHAI decided to upgrade the traditional tolling systems into RFID based tolling in India. It was with this idea that IHMCL was incorporated. The latter came up with dedicated ETC lane solution on some plazas as pilots. This learning propelled the concept to more dedicated lane plazas wherein one lane on each side of the toll plazas was dedicated for ETC Transactions incorporating RFID so that users could experience electronic payment and enjoy hassle-free passage through such lanes.

In 2015, as the penetration increased, Indian Highway Management Company Limited-HMCL- decided to make more toll lanes RFID enabled and came up with a new plan to make all lanes capable of Hybrid-ETC, wherein users had the option for cash payment or electronic payment in any lane.

In 2019, the Government decided to go cashless, leaving a single lane for cash at each plaza, with the rider that cash payment amount would be twice the toll amount payable.

In 2020, IHMCL also identified the problems of delay in the transactions at some of the toll plazas on account of glitches in data transfer and then came up with ICD 2.5 which all SI’s had to implement mandatorily.

All the stakeholders under the leadership of IHMCL/NHAI performed the tasks that were given to them to make this system cashless. As a result, about 85%-90% traffic has been converted to RFID as on date.

It is very important to highlight at this juncture that all these years, regular software and hardware upgrades were required and all ETC System Integrators (SI’s) dedicatedly played a prominent role for implementation of this high-tech solution and are therefore important stakeholders of the ecosystem.

The SI’s have played a pivotal role in implementing this program at the grass root level of toll lanes and plazas by timely deployment of all resources and technology with unflinching devotion and are committed to continue to do so on a regular basis as the system keeps evolving with time.

It is therefore imperative to consider that in order to sustain this program, there is a need for constant upgradation and deployment of proper resources and technology. As a natural corollary thereof, this entails a large investment by all of the stakeholders including the SI’s on continuous basis. It is again highlighted that these SI’s, being the first and last mile connection of this entire solution, are the backbone of this process.

Over 35 system integrators deploying 4000+ employees PAN India are working day and night relentlessly so that the entire ETC program including all regular upgrades progresses glitch-free and in a time-bound manner. It is thus obvious that the Toll System SIs of India have been playing a stellar role in this process and are truly the backbone of the system and therefore their efforts need to be recognized and remunerated.

We, the SI’s, reiterate that we would leave no stone unturned in making this a success story like no other, and in the shortest possible time.

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