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Old 26th September 2015, 06:03   #1
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Default Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

The Indian highway system has developed by leaps.

I know many of us here would have difficulty in accepting this statement. However as an long time driver on Indian roads I have seen changes occurring in our highway system and can attest to this fact.
NH1 connecting Delhi to Amritsar or NH8 to Jaipur are two immediate examples. I remember times when both used to be single carriageway roads compared to today's dual carriageways with three lanes in each direction. Golden quadrilateral was just a dream two decades back. Mumbai Pune / Ahmedabad Vadodra /....list goes on.

Yes we have come a long way. And yes we have a long way to go.

Toll highways have given a entry to private sector. Though not always good but this was an innovative approach away from state PWD departments only doing everything. Another factor which had hindered growth of highways, and still raises it's head from time to time, is that roads and policing are actually state subject and not centre in our federal constitution.

Along with highway growth has also come quantum leap is traffic volumes.

We digress.

In some cases poor quality construction is to be blamed for deteriorated Road surfaces. But mostly the roads, especially highways, deteriorate due to over loaded vehicles plying on them. All along roads and highway have had designed axle load as a factor and this will continue. You cannot over design such things to take care of overloading to any extent.

The lax policing gets into equation here.

On paper there are many rules to overcome / prevent this menace. But who will implement?

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 26th September 2015 at 08:20. Reason: Tag fixed
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Old 26th September 2015, 06:28   #2
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Default re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

Since the time toll highways were being conceptualized lots of models and frameworks were innovated on how state, center agencies will work and lot many are still to be resolved or even thought of by state and central authorities. Creation of NHAI was a crucial step. Mundane things like jurisdictions are still not solved and that is why we do not have dedicated highway police force till date.

Restricting discussion to national highways topics that needed sorting out were:
Who will collect toll. State or center?
Who will tender the project
Who will ensure quality
How will revenues be shared
How disputes would be handled
Length of contract
.................. end less...........

One of the topics that had been doing rounds at various levels is what should be toll charging for over load. Simple?

Trust, rightly or wrongly, babudom to think and keep on thinking. One of the principle objection against higher toll charges for overload was by doing this we will legitimize over loading?

There were reasons and supporting precedents built for and against and discussion continued. I became aware of this subject some times in 2001/2002 when I was discussing safety on highways with government functionaries at a public forum.

We quoted examples of what we saw being done in Europe and US. Automated toll. Single touch toll card system. and so on...

It has taken all of 14 plus years....
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Old 26th September 2015, 07:03   #3
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Default re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

Yesterday we had a lovely drive from Delhi to Indore. Almost all of 900 kilometers were divided carriageway. We paid toll at many points - hopefully fast tag system will get implemented soon - at rate of slightly excess of one rupee per kilometer. Ten hours including nice lassi and makhan daal lunch some where between Chittorgarh and Neemuch.

This excludes one hour we spent at toll collection center before Chittorgarh.

This particular toll center caught my attention as it had implemented weight based toll collection recently. Fortunately we had some connection with the toll lessee operator so we got a guided tour and could see and discuss the operations closely.

Weigh bridge accepts multiple axle trucks and trailers at a go. I was curious how this detects number of axles to work out the load per axle rather than gross weight for charging. I was explained that there are load cells that can do this. Though I was not fully able to understand the principle.
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How would this be calculated? The car guy was in a hurry while the truck was still being weighed. So the read out should be four plus two = six axles?
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Typical system of lifting one axle to show compliance. The old worn out wheels on the front most axle do not touch the ground. Only for show. Lax policing is reflected here. See no bulge on the tyre at left? I could not go down enough to take picture of axle not touching the road.
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Though lifting axle is legitimate need of long distance truckers when running without load. As this would save wear of tyres when not needed. This happens all over the world with on board wheel lifting mechanisms.
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However the newer type weigh bridge answers this.
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It weighs each axle as the vehicle passes over it and operator get accumulated weight of all axles.
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The toll is charged based on load plus number of axles. The penalty for higher load is explained later.
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Young smiling server room guy who answered lots of questions with confidence and knowledge.
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Inside server room CCTV console. The recording is achieved for record purposes. Forgot to ask till how long. This includes CCTV footage from inside all toll booths and also the server room itself. The left and bottom is us looking at CCTV monitor.
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Last edited by sudev : 26th September 2015 at 07:23.
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Old 26th September 2015, 07:21   #4
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Default re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

The attached picture shows the toll rates for overloading.

Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles-new-doc_1.jpg

So if a truck with three axle (excluding the front wheels) has loading of say 25 tons. And has all wheels working he would pay a toll of Rs330 but if he is driving with one set of wheels lifted (previous post) then he would be charged Rs1220 as per row for truck with two rear axles with load between 20~30 tons.

When implemented on all toll booths the dis-incentive of paying much higher toll will deter over loaded driving. Resulting in safety of all on and around highways. Plus it will protect the highway surface from deterioration and improve safety and pleasure of highway users.

Many of the toll operations are leased (tendered) out to third parties on yearly basis. The lessee operator has disincentive to install equipment at his cost and implement axle weight based toll. The highways with high traffic density can implement and recover costs during one year but they may or may not get the next years lease. Though from neutral angle this should not be the case as next year he should have advantage of having equipment cost as zero and should be virtually impossible to be beaten in tender by a newer operator. But for low traffic highways this may not be a solution.

Another thing that come out of this is that actual the toll operators do not have any long term interest in even maintaining environment around. The retired police officer who was one of the managers at the booth shared his experience of planting tees and generally keeping thing tidy during his prior stint with another company which had long duration toll operations rights.

We also got insight how locals (read the implications) get tough with operators and how constant coordination with law agencies needs to be maintained.

Comments.

Last edited by Samurai : 28th September 2015 at 19:32. Reason: edited the pic
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Old 26th September 2015, 14:03   #5
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Default re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

Excellent piece. Curious to know why only that section had this type of toll collection. I have never seen this in the south.
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Old 26th September 2015, 15:17   #6
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Excellent insight indeed, and an innovative way to both discourage overloading and also charge them higher for the extra damage they cause.

Can you please also explain how the overloaded vehicles damage the roads? Let's say a truck supposed to carry 15 tonnes is carrying 18 tonnes. There could be another heavier truck allowed to carry 20 tonnes but carrying 18 tonnes instead. Will the oberloaded truck cause more damage to the road surface?

How about a 7 seater vehicle crammed with 10 people?
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Old 26th September 2015, 16:05   #7
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Default Re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

Very informative thread. The idea sounds indeed fantastic since the only thing we understand in this country is money. Paying more toll across the journey will surely deter the transporters from overloading. Also if they still do it then the extra toll collected can be used towards maintaining the road. They can probably try this model across the Delhi-Bombay route which is one of the busiest routes for commercial traffic and also quite well developed in terms of infrastructure.
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Old 26th September 2015, 16:41   #8
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Default Re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

All this is fine. In UP everybody knows that Sand and Gravel trucks are overloaded by at least 300%. Most highways are in a bad state in the directions this happens, and nobody has the guts to question the mafiosi! They openly flout boards of their owners.
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Old 26th September 2015, 17:58   #9
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First : why overloaded vehicles damage the roads?

The road cross section and surface is designed for a particular load per surface area. Similar to all construction designs. When vehicle is passed for a loading it is based on maximum load per axle that will get transmitted to roads. If the vehicle needs to carry extra load either number of axles has to increase or number of tyres has to increase. Or both so that load is spread over larger area. In commercial vehicles it is easier and cheaper to increase number of axles than tyres.

If the load per unit area is higher than allowed them road surface breaks down leading to potholes or spread of bitumen. We see that as wavy surface of road.

Two why only this section has this type of toll.

Well the NHAI allowed this only recently and so only two or three tolls across the country have implemented this. Expect more to come.

Yes stone, coal and mineral trucks are over loaded three to four times allowed! With this hopefully in years to come things can improve. But remember citizens also have to force and demand this.

Typical badly damaged roads in karnataka, madhya pradesh, rajasthan etc. shown heavy damage to roads where police turns blind eye to over loading. Political and other "persuasion" play their part.

That is why I started the thread with perspective of over two decades in seeing comparative improvement in our highways. Let's keep the longer term vision.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th September 2015 at 18:35. Reason: Back to back posts merged. Please edit your post within the 30-min window to add content to your post.
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Old 26th September 2015, 18:15   #10
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It surely is a novel idea and I hope it is implemented across the country. That actually might make the roads better and safer.

Imagine if this were applied to the city toll booths where if I drive in a Nano, I pay a fraction of what I would pay in an SUV!
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Old 26th September 2015, 20:27   #11
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@honeybee the idea is for good carriage vehicles. Nano could try and go through motorcycle lane which is free. All the three wheel auto guys do.
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Old 27th September 2015, 11:56   #12
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Default Re: Protecting highways using toll : How weight-based toll works for large vehicles

Why is the weight of front axe not measured here. It is a known fact that any truck loaded to gross weight has the front axle overloaded, and rear pair carrying less than sanctioned load. The design of trucks is such that if all axles were loaded to correct authorised weight, the truck will oversteer on turns.

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Old 27th September 2015, 12:58   #13
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I did not say front axle is not weighed. It is. I only mentioned rear three to two axle for ease of understanding. You can lift one of the front axles but not front axle!!
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Old 27th September 2015, 13:35   #14
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@sudev, was just thinking if all tolls were linked to vehicle weight. Standard toll slabs where upto certain kgs you pay x, above that you pay x+ something. If the weight crosses the maximum permissible, toll is x * many times by way of fines.
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Old 27th September 2015, 14:22   #15
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Very novel idea and loved to see it properly implemented. I've a question though. Will toll operators have to pay for the infrastructure like scales etc? Or if their contact expires, will they be compensated for the scales' cost? Or the next operator buy the infra from the previous?

Also, even cars should come under this rule, once people see advantage of ditching large SUVs, for greener vehicles, it'll do the environment also some good.
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