Vitronic develops gantry-less, free-flow tolling system


Best known for its PoliScan laser-based, multi-lane speed and red-light enforcement systems, German machine vision specialist Vitronic has developed a technology for free-flow toll collection and enforcement that does not rely on overhead gantry infrastructure.

In contrast to traditional gantry-mounted overhead sensors, Vitronic’s new system uses an optical identification and classification method installed at the side of the road in a special variant of its iconic City Design Housing. It contains the complete sensor array and processing technology, including vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication based on EETS-compatible (European Electronic Toll Service) DSRC (dedicated short range communication) or on RFID (radio frequency identification) in an easy-to-install and easy-to-service vandalism-proof housing.

The new patent-pending toll collection method delivers high-resolution images for front and rear ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and the classification of vehicles based on size, type and axle count. The camera-based technology also allows the automatic reading of additional vehicle markings, such as hazardous goods stickers or labels on trucks and trailers. All sensor data is automatically analyzed at the site and compiled into complete passage reports that can be verified against existing tolling accounts or processed for billing. For this, the new system is compatible with Vitronics’s Tollchecker 4 back office toll enforcement software.

For easy installment and service, the new system is integrated in Vitronic’s City Design Housing. The housing comes preconfigured and can be quickly set-up at the road-side with minimal groundwork, reducing the need for lane or road closures or the expensive foundations required for heavy overhead gantry systems. Additional features include an electronic two-way locking system, video surveillance vandalism protection, and a 4G-ready wireless connection.

Vitronic’s new roadside system uses a similar optical identification and classification technology to that installed in its existing gantry-mounted Tollchecker Multi-Lane Free-Flow (MLFF) system. The flexibility and performance levels of the Tollchecker technology have been successfully proven in many toll applications around the world. Companies such as Germany’s TollCollect, Australian road operator Queensland Motorways, and France’s Ecomouv, all have extensive tolling networks using the Tollchecker system.

“With the new system, toll operators can simply procure the desired identification and classification functionality that best fits their tolling scheme, rather than worry about technology integration,” said Matthias Prick, head of tolling sales at Vitronic. “At the same time, the system lowers the capital expenditure associated with gantries, as well as the operating costs, thanks to many features that facilitate service and maintenance. The new development complements our gantry-based tolling portfolio with a solution especially suited for toll roads with fewer lanes. This portfolio extension gives operators the choice between the system types that is most economic for them.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).