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Road user charging piloted in Eindhoven

Posted: 01 Jul 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPS? driving system? network? mobile?

To address the worsening traffic congestion in Eindhoven, Netherlands, NXP and IBM Corp. have jointly developed a system whereby users are charged for road use based on road type, time of day and environmental factors. The information is displayed on a device called the On Board Unit. Drivers are thus educated on the best and most inexpensive routes and times to drive throughout the city.

Erik van Merrienboer, alderman for traffic for the city of Eindhoven, showed how easy it is to install the On Board Unit by installing a prototype in the first test car. The trial, which is being conducted in close consultation with the regional government, has fifty NXP and IBM employees driving with the On Board unit for six months. Using a secure Website, participants can see what route they have taken, what it cost and whether or not their choice of route has reduced their driving expenses.

During the second phase of the test, drivers will travel outside of rush hours or use a cheaper route on the commute from home to work. A competitive aspect is introduced by rewarding those employees who change their driving habits most effectively. The trial is intended to demonstrate the practical application of the technique and to make employees aware that changing their driving habits will lead to considerable decreases in driving expenses in the future.

How it works
NXP's ATOP chip, armed with a GPS receiver, tracks the vehicles location wireless communication. Using the mobile GPRS network, it continually feeds the car's location to an IBM back-office system running in an IBM cloud computing platform. The IBM back-office system calculates the exact route driven including distances traveled on each road type and within predefined zones, and then determines the cost of the journey using a rules engine borrowed from the Telecommunications industry. IBM has leveraged its worldwide experience in Road User Charging and Smart Traffic Systems in developing the solution which has largely been modeled on the best proven solutions from other industries.

The system is easy to install. It guarantees that cars only operate based on the kilometer price unit because the chip is continually wirelessly linked to a unique device on the front windshield, which cannot be removed. The system meets all current European standards.

Solution for a global problem
Cities everywhere are battling with stressed transportation networks, and the problem keeps worsening as the number of mega-citiesthose with more than five million peoplekeeps increasing. To counter this challenge, governments around the world are investing in new, smarter transportation systems. These systems will help cities manage congestion, improve urban environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness. Similar systems have been implemented in Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, London and other cities around the world by IBM.

Beter Bereikbaar Zuidoost-Brabant (A More Accessible Southeast Brabant), the Eindhoven Regional Partnership Alliance, the Ministry of Traffic and Communication and the Province of North Brabant are subsidizing various projects testing the interface between business and government. The partners are aiming to increase collaboration between companies, governments and educational and research institutions.

The results of the pilot will be available at the end of this year.

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