This year’s International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) Global Summit featured a lively debate on ‘Innovations & Technologies for Sustainable Mobility, Environment and Road Safety’. Also on the agenda was the future of GNSS-based road-pricing applications.
Satellite-based technologies such as EGNOS, and in the future Galileo, enable quick implementation of tolling schemes for large road networks without the need for costly roadside infrastructure, together with a broad range of new applications. More and more, toll-road operators around Europe are experiencing for themselves the EGNOS advantage.
Speaking at a special session on ‘The Age of Mobility’, European GNSS Agency (GSA) Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini, said: “With EGNOS already in 70% of the receivers on the market today, clearly GNSS receiver manufacturers believe in European satellite navigation services and applications. This is because, to put it simply, it delivers extra accuracy when you need it, at no cost.”
“In addition, it is important to note that receiver manufacturers have already enabled multiple constellation capability in their receivers, as more than 35% of models on the market already have Galileo,” he adds. “This is a remarkable achievement in light of future operational services.”
Calini emphasised the fact that EGNOS is free, saying “the European Union is targeting measurable macroeconomic benefits at the European level and these benefits extend to the road industry, as well as to other related mass market segments, like location based services, and thus to all citizens.”
A Real Difference
The accuracy and reliability of the signal provided by multiple GNSS – whether GPS, Glonass or Galileo – in combination with EGNOS in Europe, allow for greater efficiency in the use of resources. This increase in efficiency brings both economic and environmental benefits, including reductions in traffic congestion and road-side infrastructures.
“EGNOS increases your level of confidence in the GPS signal. In addition, Galileo will provide signal authentication,” said Calini “This means protection against spoofing attempts, a facilitated process for the legal use of GNSS positioning in regulated road applications and other payment-critical and liability-related applications.”
GNSS can be used to charge based on different criteria – time, distance, place, vehicle type, level of emissions – and can be adapted to evolving needs. Extensibility, high revenue potential, low transaction costs, improved traffic management and environmental performance are all on the table with GNSS and EGNOS.
GNSS has demonstrated that it can cohabitate with existing tolling technologies, such as DSRC, in order to enable applications and solutions for road users and service providers.
Interoperability High on the Agenda
Calini discussed both GNSS and DSRC technologies in the context of road tolling: “The main OBU [onboard unit] manufacturers are ready to meet the needs of the next generation of fully interoperable hybrid tolling systems. Solutions are already on the market to allow you to drive with the same OBU in different countries, using the two different technologies.”
These new hybrid OBUs are compliant with all currently defined standards under the planned European Electronic Toll Service (EETS). To move things forward, the EU-funded project “Regional EETS” is testing this concept in ‘regional’ tolling clusters that could grow, merge and eventually lead to a unified continent-wide system.
Nowhere have the strengths of GNSS and EGNOS technologies been more clearly demonstrated than in Slovakia, where operators used GNSS technologies to scale up their existing road-charging network by over 15,000 km within just three months, with full interoperability.
“Slovakia is just one of a number of very good examples where investment in GNSS provides a cost and time efficient approach to tolling, particularly on complex road networks in which thousands of road segments can be charged accurately and where extensions to the tolled network can be easily realized,” said Calini. “GNSS and EGNOS technologies will continue being a fundamental part of Europe’s future intelligent transport system, providing reliability, cost- and time efficiency, accuracy and new and fairer methods of road pricing.”
GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini
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