Electronic Road Pricing for traffic congestion Essay
Electronic Road Pricing for traffic congestion
One of the most problems today is the traffic congestion that we experience in the large city. We feel that it is a headache during our journey and it gave us a lot of negative effects. Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queuing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction between vehicles slows the speed of the traffic stream, this results in some congestion. As demand approaches the capacity of a road (or of the intersections along the road), extreme traffic congestion sets in. When vehicles are fully stopped for periods of time, this is colloquially known as a traffic jam or traffic snarl-up. Traffic congestion can lead to drivers becoming frustrated and engaging in road rage. If you live in a large city or any area where there are lots of commuters on the road, then you are probably familiar with the effects of traffic congestion. What you may not realize is the extent of the effects heavy traffic congestion can have.
This gridlock can have a tremendous impact on your personal life, career, your future and even your safety. Finding a solution to traffic congestion could mean a vast improvement in the quality of life in your area. One example of a large city is the city of Manila, this city listed in the journal as the 75th most densely population urban center with 14,400 people per square kilometer in a total land area of 1,437 square kilometers. If the population increase also the number of cars increases. The city is notorious for its traffic mess, especially since traffic laws are all but ignored, and a clean driving record is a bribe away. Getting stuck on Manila’s roads is one very unpleasant experience. During rush hour, traffic in the main thoroughfares in Manila slows to a crawl, and an accident can cause gridlock for hours. Because of this traffic the drivers, commuters and other people that is belong to the traffic experiencing a negative effect and there are the following: Traffic congestion has a number of negative effects:
Wasting time of motorists and passengers (“opportunity cost”). As a non-productive activity for most people, congestion reduces regional economic health. Delays, which may result in late arrival for employment, meetings, and education, resulting in lost business, disciplinary action or other personal losses. Wasted fuel increasing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions owing to increased idling, acceleration and braking. Wear and tear on vehicles as a result of idling in traffic and frequent acceleration and braking, leading to more frequent repairs and replacements. Emergencies: blocked traffic may interfere with the passage of emergency vehicles traveling to their destinations where they are urgently needed.
Manual paying of toll is also a cause of traffic and wasting time for the motorist and passengers. . The following is the negative effect of manual paying of roads toll
1. Wasting time for the motorist
It is wasting time because the motorist stops to pay their toll manually at the toll booth.
2. Cause of traffic
Sometimes the number of vehicles increases that’s why it will be the cause of traffic.
3. Errors because of the toll collector
The collector experiences some error in accepting the toll from the motorists. One good example is when they paid with the big amount of money then the collectors do not have enough money to change it.
Because of the traffic, motorist and passengers suffer their times and the air is polluted, the solution now is here, it can help to minimize traffic.
Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is an electronic system of road pricing. It uses a dedicated short-range radio communication system to deduct ERP charges from smart-cards inserted in the in-vehicle units of vehicles each time they pass a pricing point when the system is in operation. The pay-when-you-use principle helps make motorist more aware of the true cost of driving. This way, road usage can be optimized. The ERP system has three major groups of components.
The first centered on the IU and the stored-value smart-card. While the IU was produced specifically for the ERP system, the smart-cards were marketed by a consortium of local banks for multiple uses. Different IUs were produced for different classes of vehicles, with each type distinguished by different colors. The second group of components comprises those installed at the on-site ERP gantries.
These include the antennae, the vehicle detectors and the enforcement camera system. All these are linked to a controller at each of the site. Data collected is transmitted back to the Control Centre continuously through leased telephone lines. The third group of components is at the Control Centre, and includes various servers, monitoring systems as well as a master-clock to ensure that the timing at all the ERP gantries is synchronized. All the financial transactions are processed here, before being sent to the banks for settlement. In addition, violation images are processed at the Control Centre, and letters are printed and sent out from here to all the offenders.
What are the purposes of Electronic Road Pricing?
Aim is to charge vehicles for the use of the road at times and at places of congestion For congestion management
Not for raising revenue
Every entry or pass under a control point is automatically charged a fee The implementation of electronic road pricing system will be one of the solutions to motorist who had to deal with the inconvenience of slowing down vehicle and winding down windows when paying tolls. It is so convenient and efficient motorist is not required to slowdown when the passing the ERP gantries. The Electronic road pricing system to be installed for the congested area can reduce the traffic and thus easing overall traffic congestion. Replacing the existing toll collection system to more advance technology, the ERP system, is another way to advancement of a country. What is Electronic road pricing?
Electronic road pricing system (ERP) is simply an electronic system of road pricing. It is designed to automate our current road pricing system with no more paper coupons or enforcement officer at gantries. The system is a dedicated short – range radio communication system. The ERP consist of four main components: 1. The In – Vehicle Unit (IU)
2. The Cash card
3. ERP gantries or control points
4 .The central computer system
The IU is an electronic device installed in the vehicle that communicates with the gantry point equipment and accepts a cash card for payment of ERP charges. Each unique number is tied to the registration number of the vehicle to which it is attached. The cash card is a stored value of ERP payment. It is called the smart card is reusable and can topped up.
It is easy and convenient to use. The scheme consists of ERP gantries located at all roads. They are also located along the expressways and arterial roads with heavy traffic to discourage usage during peak hours. The gantry system is actually a system of sensors on 2 gantries, one in front of the other. Cameras are also attached to the gantries to capture the rear license plate numbers of vehicles.
There are different IUs for different classes of vehicles i.e. for cars, taxis, light good vehicles, heavy good vehicles, buses, motorcycles and exempted vehicles such as fire engines, ambulances and police cars. This is essential because the ERP charges are different for classes. The IUs are color coded so that illegal switching of IUs between different classes of vehicles will e discourage. Data is transferred from the local controller to central computer. The central computer system is the control room monitors the traffic network and equipment. There it records all ERP transactions, faults in the equipment and digital image of violating vehicles. The functional requirements of electronic road pricing system are: 1. It should be multi – lane system with no booths
2. There would be no manual payment.
3. There would be no need to slowdown at ERP gantry points.
4. There is a possibility that more than one vehicle passing simultaneously under the entry point. 5. Vehicle could travel at speed of more than limited speed.
The ERP system is designed to be simple and easy to understand. The IU is capable of doing self – diagnostics on itself and on the cash card when the card is first inserted. There are a number of icons that appear on the LCD display to show errors. When the cash card balance is low, there will be a low balance indicator icon on the LCD display. Furthermore, when the IU with a low cash card goes under an ERP point, there would be continuous long beep to remind the driver to top up his card before the next journey.
Violations of the ERP system
A massive campaign needs to be implemented prior to the implementation of ERP to teach motorists how to use the system and avoid violations. There are three types of violations; 1. There is mainly no IU
2. No cash card
3. Insufficient balance in the cash card
To ensure the system can run smoothly and efficiently, service and information must be provided to the public in the beginning. In addition to the ERP hotlines, brochures, exhibitions, radio and television talk show. Strong marketing campaign is essential to explain the benefits and costs, the financial, efficiency equity effects of ERP. Achievement of ERP
The ERP rates are to be such that there is neither congestion nor underutilization of the roads. Hence, we are aiming to operate the roads within arrange of speeds at the upper end of the traffic level of services. In addition, ERP would be an effective mean to mange future congestion and maintain average road speed during peak hours by diverting private vehicles trips to public transportation or non – peak travel time under various pricing and traffic growth scenarios. Main Objective of ERP
Toll is collected before entering the zone. Charges will be levied on a per–pass basis and can vary according to time and congestion levels. With ERP, motorists will be aware of the true cost of driving. With this system of charging, a motorist will be encouraged to choose whether to drive, when and where to drive. He may choose a different route, destination, time of travel or decide to use public transport. By doing this, it will reduced traffic congestions. Benefits of ERP
The transport operation benefits relate to reduced vehicular traffic, particularly during congested periods, reduced travel times, and increased public transport use and higher car and taxi occupancy. The environmental benefits involve reduced vehicle emissions and reduced exposure to traffic noise inside the charging zone. However, the environmental conditions of other areas may witness some deterioration due to the overall redistribution of traffic. ERP therefore can assist in the overall improvement to the environment, but is not the sole solution to the complex issue of air quality and noise abatement. If ERP is to be used to meet environmental objectives, further studies will need to be conducted to define the parameters, benchmarks and related implementation details.
How does ERP works?
1. When the motorist inserts a cash card into the IU, it checks the health of the IU and cash card. If everything is in order, there will be a short beeping sound and the cash balance of the cash card will be shown on the backlit LCD display of the IU for few seconds. A green light emitting diode (LED) will light up on the IU and remain lit until the cash card is removed. If the system is not working when the cash card is inserted into the IU. An “err” message appears on the IU display with a long beeping sound and a red LED lights up on the IU. In such cases, one or more of the small icons may also be shown on the display; to indicate the type of e.g. Cash card error, and low Cash card balance. Another indication of faulty system is a blank display. 2. At the ERP control point, the first gantry recognizes the presence of an IU and its class and instructs it to debit the cash card with appropriate amount.
This amount is determined from table of prevailing charges for the various classes of vehicle loaded into the outstation by the central computer. Between the first and second from gantries, the IU debits this amount from the cash card. If the debiting is successful, the second gantry queries the IU and then gets such confirmation. The driver hears a short beat and sees the new cash card balance on the IU display.
3. If the IU is unable to deduct because of an error in the system or there is no cash card (or n invalid card) or insufficient balance in the cash card to meet the amount, the driver hears a long beep sees a red LED on the IU and “err” appears on the IU display with an error, the driver may also hear the long beep and see a blank display on the IU.
4. Meanwhile, the vehicle presents detector detects the passage of a vehicle.
The antenna at the gantries, the vehicle presents detector and the IU together with the logic in the local controller decide whether a complete successful transaction has been made.
5. If not, there has been a violation or an error. The cameras are instructed to take a photograph of the rear license plate of the offending vehicle.
6. Violations are committed by vehicles that have no IU, no cash card or an insufficient balance in the cash card to meet the cost of the passing under the ERP gantry. Errors occur when there is a faulty IU, no power to the IU from the vehicle battery, faulty cash card and partial communications between the IU and the antenna.
7. When a photograph is taken, attaches information on why it was taken so that technical errors and violations are differentiated. Errors do not result in prosecution of the motorist.
8. The information from the outstation on successful transaction, violation and error records and the photograph are sent periodically by telephone lines to the control center. Another control center monitors the state of all outstation equipment.
Publication of Electronic Road Pricing
Implementation of ERP will not be possible without a general public consensus on the objectives and principles of the proposal. There will likely be public resistance to ERP arising from suspicion about the government’s motive, the reluctance to accept new initiatives and road users’ resentment about the imposition of new charges.
A well-planned and executed public consultation programmed to demonstrate how ERP works and to allow public input into the development of system objectives can promote awareness of the ERP system as a measure to relieve traffic congestion and develop understanding in the community for its possible introduction.
It is recommended that a public consultation programmed be initiated to increase public understanding of the traffic congestion problem and to encourage public discussion of possible use of restraint measures and alternative solutions including ERP. The public should be consulted specifically on the acceptable traffic speeds.
IU Fitting Program
There were two major program launched prior to the start of the ERP. The first was the installation of IUs on the 680,000 eligible vehicles while the second was on publicity, to get motorists and motorcyclists aware and ready for the ERP system. The IU fitting program took 10 months, starting from September 1997. The 680,000 vehicles that were potential users of the ERP system were grouped into batches, and owners of each batch were invited to have IUs fitted at one of the 200 authorized IU fitting centers.
This was spread out over the 10-month period, so that there will be no last-minute rush to fit IUs. To encourage vehicle owners to keep to the schedule, the IUs were given away at no cost to them if they had their IU fitted during the allocated time period. Otherwise, a charge of S$150 was payable. The fitting of IUs onto vehicles was not compulsory – it was left very much to the individual to decide. Nevertheless, at the end of the IU fitting program, about 98% of the registered vehicles were fitted with IUs.
Publicity was another important aspect and this started even before the start of the IU fitting program and was in place for more than a year, all the way up to and beyond the launch date of the ERP system. All vehicle owners were sent brochures, detailing the ERP system, how it works and the differences between that and the then working ALS/RPS. Advertisements were also placed in the print media as well as on television to drum up awareness of the new road pricing system. An important awareness and confidence building program was the test phase – all the ERP gantries were switched on and working.
The only differences were that the message on the ERP gantries read “On Test” instead of “In Operation”, and that the ERP charge was set to zero. This allowed motorists to test their IUs and to experience the ERP charging process. One of the differences between the ERP and the then ALS/RPS pointed out in the publicity program was that, unlike the latter, the ERP system imposes a charge each time a vehicles passes through the control point. In the ALS/RPS schemes, the fee payable was a daily charge that allowed the vehicle to make unlimited number of passing for that day. Conclusion
(Electronic) Toll Collection may become an increasing important instrument within the big bundle of measures for regional demand and traffic management. The ERP system provides a targeted solution for congestion pricing by allowing the authorities to pin-point specific congested spots and vary the congestion charge according to prevailing traffic conditions. Therefore, the charges can either increase or decrease according to the demand of usage of the priced-road or expressway, which is reviewed quarterly. By pricing congested stretches, ERP system helps to moderate and spread out vehicle usage for optimal usage of the road network by encouraging motorists to consider alternatives.
These would include using other routes to arrive at their destinations, travelling during the off-peak periods, switching to public transport or car-pooling. The ERP system has been effective in managing traffic congestion and resulted in traffic speeds remaining within the optimal speed range. However, the ERP system cannot operate in silo and has to work in tandem with vehicle ownership control measures, increasing and optimizing road capacity, as well as encouraging motorists to shift to public transport to maintain a smooth-flowing road network. As congestion becomes increasingly pervasive, it would not be practical to continue erecting physical gantries to address the congestion problem. In addition, the ERP charges imposed at discrete gantry points also lead to undesirable consequences e.g. congestion spills over to nearby minor roads in residential areas, thus leading to localized congestion.
This would be a more equitable and economically efficient system than the current point charging system where motorists are charged based on the number of gantries they drive through rather than distance travelled on a congested road. Furthermore, motorists who join a congested road after the gantry points are not charged even though they also contribute to the congestion of the road. It can help to minimize traffic, this is the way to help motorist to avoid wasting time. They can arrive on time on their business and the other things. It can also help to reduce air pollution to avoid the negative effects of human health and also in our environment.
Electronic Road Pricing