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Road charging interoperability pilot project

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No frontiers for road tolls

Paying road tolls in Europe can present difficulties, particularly for truck drivers on a tight schedule. Thanks to the work of the RCI project, vehicles will soon be able to use one charging unit throughout the continent.

Climate Change and Environment

Travelling through Europe on a well-maintained network of motorways can be a pleasure and is very efficient. However, different companies responsible for stretches of road have their own personal systems, albeit state-of-the-art, but not standardised. Unfortunately, toll stations punctuate the vehicle's progress causing delays. The EU is backing an interoperable service and a European electronic tolling service (EETS) has been defined by directive, 2004/52/EC. Technological constraints like satellite backing and mobile systems are outlined within the regulation. The EU-funded project RCI has completed research and performed successful trials for a unified toll system throughout European roads. In particular, project researchers investigated suitable architecture, software and hardware and equipment for end-users. Advantages for a seamless system are undeniable. For the driver, there will no longer be a need to have different sensor boxes. For the road company, economies of scale for big investments in electronic systems will no doubt apply. For Europe and operators, planning for updates and maintenance costs will reduce risks of installing new systems. Two sets of prototype onboard equipment were tested with two trucks over 5,000 kilometres on routes through Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The lorries moved without problem across toll systems. The sensor units adapted their 'functional behaviour' according to the rules that apply for each tolling scheme. The launch of the RCI trucks is a major milestone in advancing the definition of the EETS. This promises to fill the gap for a seamless interoperable road charging solution that will work anywhere in an expanding Europe.

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