The satellite-based ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) system that was supposed to be debut this year will instead be launched in 2023, according to the LTA (Land Transport Authority).
Satellite-based ERP aims to charge motorists according to the distances they drive. This differs from the current cordon-based scheme, which levies tolls on motorists who enter certain areas at certain times of day.
ERP was first introduced in 1998, and the infrastructure is reaching the end of its operational life, says LTA.
Satellite-based ERP, which will allow distance-based charging, will do away with the need for bulky gantries.
It can also incorporate value-added services such as traffic information. While the technology and system have been replaced and upgraded, the way congestion pricing is being levied today will not change.
FIRST ON-BOARD UNIT IS FREE
The next-generation ERP system will use a new on-board unit (OBU) instead of the current in-vehicle unit (IU).
The first OBU will be installed free of charge for existing Singapore-registered vehicles. The installation exercise will commence in the second-half of 2021, and will take place over 18 months.
Apart from providing information on ERP charging locations and rates, the OBU will provide additional information such as real-time road traffic updates, and locations of nearby School Zones and Silver Zones.
NO DISTANCE-BASED CHARGING – YET
LTA says that the current cordon- and point-based congestion pricing framework will remain when the satellite-based ERP system arrives in mid-2023.
ERP rates will continue to be reviewed based on traffic speeds and congestion levels. And ERP charging locations will also be clearly indicated, just like now, but with smaller and slimmer gantries.
ON-BOARD UNIT: NO LONGER A SINGLE-PIECE SYSTEM FOR CARS
As seen in LTA photos, the On-Board Unit is comprised of three components: a touchscreen display, an antenna and a processing unit. It is possible to install the latter beneath the dashboard.
The new OBU is designed to be compatible with existing systems, including ERP charges and parking.
Motorists can continue to use their CEPAS cards (NETS FlashPay and EZ-Link cards), or credit or debit cards to make payment.
Like all Global Network Satellite Systems, GPS and payment systems, satellite-based ERP will collect data from users.
However, the LTA says it will only used anonymised or aggregated data for traffic management and transport planning purposes. Vehicle-specific data will only be used for payment, charges and enforcement, such as non-payment of ERP charges.
To prevent unauthorised access and improper use of the data, there will be robust security and strict safeguards in place, including penalties under the Public Service (Governance) Act.
LTA will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the OBU installation timeline and will provide the motor vehicle industry and motorists with sufficient notice for a smooth transition.
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