Mahesh Dandawate, Managing Director, Samarth Softech Solutions Pvt Ltd talks about the future directions in tolling and traffic studies in the country.
Toll collection is increasingly going electronic. Automated parking systems too are being widely used. What changes do you see in these sectors in the near future?
ETC lane / RFID based tolling system will be used at almost every toll plaza in India in the near future. ETC tolling systems have been recommended in a report by the Apex Committee constituted by the Government of India under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilkeni.
Toll collection systems based on GPS technology will be implemented in the near future. The free-flow system can manage several lanes, electronically collecting tolls from vehicles as they pass beneath an overhead gantry. This system is currently being used in countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile and Israel.
In a free-flow system, there are no lane dividers and therefore no automatic barrier gates. When vehicles pass through a gantry, data gets exchanged between tags installed on vehicles and readers installed on gantry. This exchange happens simultaneously on all lanes at once. Vehicles don?t even have to slow down. If a vehicle does not have a valid tag, the system records the transaction as a violation, recognises its licence plate automatically, and the toll is collected later or appropriate action will be taken against violation.
What is the scope for advanced traffic studies in the country right now?
Traffic studies are the initial step of any road project, whether it is improvement of existing roads or construction of new roads. The intensity of traffic flow at any given section of the road forms the basis for determining its spatial and structural design requirements. These studies are the base for deciding many components such as roadway width, layer composition etc in a highway design and to assess potential toll revenue from traffic. The collection of traffic data thus assumes utmost significance in the development of any road project.
If we consider just National Highways, there is a huge scope in the field of advanced traffic studies. Length of National Highways has increased to more than 58,000km. More than 8000km length has been identified by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for four-laning.
For implementation of these projects, advanced and most accurate traffic study will be a very important factor.
What different kinds of traffic studies do you conduct? Which sectors and companies do you service in this field?
We conduct different kinds of traffic studies. We finalise methodology and technology to be used after studying brief description of the projects. In addition to traditional manual traffic counts, we conduct traffic counts using ATCC (Automatic Traffic Counters cum Classifiers) for results without human errors, electronic handheld terminals for quick and more accurate results, videographic traffic counts that are most accurate; cross verification of data is also possible for clients if this methodology is adopted.
We provide traffic study solutions to various govt / semi-govt organisations as well as leading road infrastructure companies for their existing as well as upcoming projects. We have been short-listed by Government of Maharashtra and Government of India for conducting traffic studies.
What is the USP (unique selling point) of your dimmers and control drives?
We have developed a system which captures and scans video recorded from site. The system also counts and classifies vehicles in different categories. It analyses and provides numerical traffic data in tabular format along with thumbnails for each vehicle passing through camera.
This technology is very reliable and counts vehicles with an accuracy of 99% and classifies vehicles with an accuracy of more than 95%.
We have also manufactured portable AVCC (Automatic Vehicles Counter cum Classifier) which counts and classifies vehicles with more than 90% accuracy.