Austrian ITS and tolling giant KapschTrafficCom has been awarded the contract to implement a nationwide tolling network in Bulgaria for trucks over 3.5 tons, including system’s technical configuration and provision of full technical support.
Kapsch’s Bulgarian contract also extends to the introduction of an electronic ‘vignette’ for passenger cars. Vignettes are a form of transponder used in several European countries for road pricing in addition to the compulsory road tax. In Bulgaria, vignettes are required for use on all roads outside of built-up areas. The project will run for 19 months and comprise the delivery and setup of 500 terminals for registering and issuing electronic vignettes, 100 enforcement vehicles, 100 weigh-in-motion (WIM) facilities, and 100 tolling gantries in addition to a data center and back-office system. Kapsch has seven months in which to complete the infrastructure.
Over the course of a lengthy evaluation and tendering process, Kapsch fulfilled 100% of the technical criteria awarded for the contract, and also proved to be the lowest-priced bidder with a project volume of just under 75m (US$88.8m). Bulgaria is the sixth European country in which Kapsch has been given responsibility for implementing a nationwide toll collection system, following deployments in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, and Belarus.
For the Bulgarian contract, Kapsch will implement the company’s proprietary, satellite-supported vehicle identification and toll collection system. The system makes use of onboard tracking devices (OBUs), which employ GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) satellite positioning technology to determine the position of the trucks and automatically collect the tolls. In regions with large, open expanses or an especially extensive network of toll roads, using GNSS-based tolling positioning makes both technical and commercial sense.
The advantage of this solution lies in its flexibility, which allows tolls to be calculated on the basis of distance driven, vehicle weight, road category, time of day, and the current traffic situation. In Bulgaria, tolls will be collected on all Class I, II and III roads, which equates to all the country’s paved roads, encompassing 9,950-11,200 miles (16,000-18,000km), or approximately 80% of the road network.
“Bulgaria is a key market for us in an extremely promising regional environment,” according to André Laux, COO of Kapsch TrafficCom. “We are quite pleased to be able to commence implementation after a very time-intensive bidding phase.”