Operations & Management Services

The road toll concept has been very much in place since the 17th century. Initially toll tax was collected on the entrance to the major cities. The revenue generated from these collection facilities formed an important part of the government inflows.

In the current times toll roads are found globally. With networks of roads connecting cities, for operation and maintenance of the same, the need for toll collection is ever growing. However the way they function may differ from project to project. Some roads are privately owned and operated where as some are government owned and operated by private contractors. The whole concept of collecting the road toll is to facilitate the construction and maintenance costs of the road. In the modern day and age the technology has revolutionized the conventional cash payment to SMART Cards, Prepaid Cards, Credit Cards and Free Flow payment methods. The toll collection method exists in 2 different ways, categorized as Open Loop and Closed Loop.

The Open Loop refers to a scenario where a toll collection facility is deployed on the road and every vehicle passing through the facility is bound to pay the toll as per pre-defined tariffs. This does not take into account the distance travelled or actual utilization of the road. If you go through the facility, you have to pay the toll. Normally these kinds of establishments are deployed at the entrance routes to the cities. The revenue generated through this facility is utilized for maintenance of the road facility and any development works required for the same. It would be safe to say that National Highways (not motorways) are normally operated under this category around the globe.

On the other hand the Closed Loop collection is performed where the toll is charged for utilizing a certain section of the road. In this scenario the road in enclosed between two facilities namely entry point and exit point. The toll rate is predefined for the section of the road. The road user is issued an identification document that states the entry point. This document needs to be submitted at the exit point where the toll is charged. Motorways around the world are an example where these systems are in place.

Without a toll management information system, the control, validation and reconciliation of traffic and money collected on the road becomes very difficult. It is also important to address the requirements on all management levels, as without any aids, management will not be able to accurately forecast and plan strategies. It is important to note that the goals of a toll operator must not only include short-time benefits (i.e. making money), but in order to provide both the road users and the personnel convenience, it is necessary to have a system in place that can satisfy all or most needs of all people involved. It is important to invest in a proven system as a modern organization deals with a variety of external stakeholders that act as sources and recipients of information.

Management information systems, decision support systems, and executive support systems deal with different, though overlapping, informational needs of management. All these parts must be integrated as part of the same system portfolio and should be utilised according to their capabilities.