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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Automatic Debiting Systems


A way for better managing traffic along the main European arteries is represented by introduction of road pricing, that is the use of automatic debiting systems for traffic management and flow improvement. The main objective of the project is to enhance the technical and functional capabilities of existing automatic debiting systems, and to assess their acceptability and effectiveness by the development of field trials.

Technical Approach

The afore-mentioned objectives will be achieved by performing some laboratory tests and field trials, in order to assess technical feasibility and public acceptance of the necessary innovation. Two different applications areas will characterise the project: the multilane issue and the multimodel exchange management; in the first one the activity aims at the development of a new system, while in the latter the task is related to the enhancement of the functionality and applicability of existing systems. Both areas are anyway dealing with Automatic Debiting Systems.

Both Application areas have some lackings, from the technical and functional viewpoints as well, that must be recovered before the implementation phase. A feasibility study will be undertaken during the first year, analysing technical and operating matters, according to the user needs, and aiming at the assessment of the best potential solution to be implemented. In both cases the activity will consider the requirements of the operators, according to which suitable solutions may be defined and tested.

The first application area will represent an answer to the growing need for the implementation of automatic debiting systems in which traffic is not restricted to a fixed lane before the communication link is established with each vehicle in turn. These are referred to as multilane systems. The need for a certain level of compatibility between the multilane system and the existing single lane systems, expressed by the operators, influenced the choice of the technology to be used; an existing technology, tested on the field, will be enhanced to meet the requirements and tested on the field on a certain number of vehicles' units. The communication link, i.e the message collision avoidance and the location of the on-board units, will be particularly analysed and tested, even if during the feasibility study all the aspects related to the implementation of such systems will be evaluated.

The second application area, on the other hand, will be devoted to the fleet and freight management at the multimodel interchange nodes, that may represent real bottlenecks for traffic, if it is not managed in an effective way. This management will be aided by the use of innovation but state of the art automatic debiting systems, so aiming at the integration of different ATT services. The Introduction of multimodel transport on a large scale puts forward the requirement for the further development of booking systems that can operate under real time conditions. Existing booking systems do not allow the fleet operator or the vehicle driver to modify the booking for ferry and/or rail transport at short notice. This returns in long waiting time, in order to cover uncertainties in arrival time at the terminal (e.g. due to congestion), or delays of the ferry service affecting the whole transportation chain. A remote booking system will be implemented, allowing the users to book in a remote way the space on-board he ferries. The users may access in service by using a suitable information system, allowing an interactive exchange of data on booking and on the service in general between them and the service provider; they will be then identified and guided to the ferry as they approach the harbour by the use of conventional automatic debiting systems, allowing their identification and transaction. Hazardous and perishable goods will be also considered as a key issue.

The prototype developed in accordance with the results of the feasibility study will be tested on the field along the corridor France-Italy-Greece, and in particular across the two borders. An evaluation tool to be defined will help to check the user acceptance of the systems.

Key Issues

improvement of traffic flow management through the use of automatic debiting systems;
investigation of the operators' requirements and users needs;
development of a multilane communication link for the message collision management;
definition of a common communication architecture and protocols;
establishment of an advanced multimodel information systems;
development of a remote booking systems for the space on-board the ferries allowing a better management of the multimodel interchange node between the road network and the ferry;
validation of the developed technical and functional solutions through field trials;

Expected Impact

The project is characterised by two different application areas, each one developing a value-added activity, whose benefits may affect the road operators and the users as well. The presence within the project of road and ferry operators representing three different countries is expected to produce a certain degree of consensus between them, at least at the functional level. The common task is the reduction of traffic congestion at bottlenecks like tunnels, intermodel exchange nodes and toll gates. The development of systems in accordance with the requirements expressed by all these operators will then be useful toward the European standardisation.

Contribution to Standardisation

Both the envisaged applications may be useful for providing recommendations for standardisation. The multilane issue will regard mainly with technological aspects of automatic debiting based on short range communication link; the suitable communication protocols at each OSI layer needed will be addressed. Recommendations coming out from this project, and particularly from this application area, will represent a feedback to the standardisation bodies. The multimodel area regards more the functional enhancement of existing systems, so the recommendations that may arise will regard the implementation strategies and the public acceptance.


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Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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Autostrade SpA
EU contribution
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Limite Campi Bisenzio Ferrovia
50100 Firenze

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Total cost
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Participants (6)