Products for Toll Collection
Siemens offers not only high performance platforms for toll collection but also products for a diverse range of toll solutions and for different market configurations. One key constituent is the applications specially developed for toll-collection purposes.
Siemens has developed a high-performance platform for toll collection. It is used to generate products for very different markets and tolling purposes. A central component of this platform is our successful application software SENSUS. Among other things, our solution supports:
These modules can be integrated into the OBUs (On-Board Units) and back offices, in any combination. The interfaces with other system components are always configured in a service-oriented manner. By virtue of its flexible architecture, the platform can also be used to map infrastructure-based tolling applications.
Siemens’ On-Board Units are the result of precise coordination between hardware and software. Our OBU application can be parameterized to a large extent to provide simple conversion at any time (for example, we can easily switch from Thin to Fat Client).
GSM GRPS is used for communication between the OBU and the back office; however, this transmission technology can be easily changed if other media are preferred.
Optimized data-compression algorithms ensure the cost-effective operation of our solution in any system configuration (Thin or Fat Client). A specially developed update procedure guarantees contact with the OBUs.
Fat Client: Toll calculation in the vehicle unit
In this approach, the tolling system processes run autonomously in the OBU. In actual use, this means that the calculation of the toll amount takes place in the vehicle. The fee amounts are stored in the OBU until they can be transmitted via mobile network to the control center.
The disadvantage is: limited flexibility.
For example, new toll rates must be transmitted, with significant trouble, to all vehicle devices in the field. For cost reasons, the vehicle devices are usually only able to perform the originally requested functionality, which means that functionalities cannot be subsequently added.
Thin Client: Toll calculation in the control center
In this approach, toll fees are calculated in a control center. The vehicle device merely transmits the position information to the control center where the use of a toll road is determined and the appropriate fee is calculated.
Adjustments to the system parameters, for example an extension of the toll-road network or a fee change, can be carried out quickly and safely. If necessary, new system parameters can even be applied retroactively.
The higher data volume transmitted between vehicle device and control center is offset by intelligent data compression.
Optimizing on the basis of experience: Siemens is currently working on the development of toll modules for the mass market – and on the integration of tolling applications on GSM platforms.The Siemens products already in use are modular, and work in sync with our SENSUS platform. We also use these products for our own tests. All these projects are targeted to the upward integration of tolling applications.
Video Technology for Freeway Tolls
Siemens video technology has already been implemented successfully for city toll purposes. Some examples are:
The use of video technology for multi-lane, free-flow tolling applications is possible in principle; however, its performance still lags behind that of alternative tolling technologies (such as GNSS tolling and infrastructure tolling solutions).
Siemens also offers various RFID solutions. These are particularly suitable for applications in the area of automation and logistics. For tolling solutions, individual technical functionalities can be implemented cost-effectively using RFID technology.
Dynamic toll calculation
Over recent years, more and more so-called ‛HOT lanes’ (High Occupancy Toll) have been put into operation. This concept, which originated in English-speaking countries, is now being increasingly deployed in other countries.
On these sections of road, a toll is levied only on drivers who want to use the lane and are alone in their cars. The problem is that previous systems determined the toll fee either statically or on the basis of experience at certain periods during the day.
The Innovative Solution
For this purpose, Siemens has developed an innovative dynamic algorithm which enables the fee to be set so that road users are always assured an appropriate traffic quality.