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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New system to collect toll next March

KUALA LUMPUR: A pilot project to ensure smooth traffic flow along tolled highways is expected to be implemented in March next year.

Under the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) electronic toll collection system, the toll charges will be deducted electronically as vehicles bearing transponders pass the tollbooths.

However, the area where the project is to be implemented has yet to be determined.

A committee comprising officials from the Works Ministry, Malaysia Highway Authority (MHA), toll concessionaires and Rangkaian Segar, the operator of the Touch ’n Go electronic payment system and SmartTAG, have been meeting since May last year to work out the finer details.

In a paper presented at a recent seminar on intelligent transport system in road network operations, MHA’s Ismail Md Salleh said the MLFF was expected to reduce congestion at toll plazas, be environmentally friendly and increase road safety.

The system is extensively used in Australia, United States, Chile and Canada.

Some of the advantages include improved traffic flow, reduction in travel time, savings on fuel and cutting down vehicle wear and tear.

Ismail said for the successful implementation of MLFF, certain changes had to be made to the present system.

He said the existing legal framework was not suitable for MLFF implementation because it was not efficient in handling toll violators.

“There is a need to establish a comprehensive legislative framework and infrastructure for the enforcement of violations,” he added.

He said the move from the existing electronic toll collection system to MLFF also required new investment from the toll concessionaires for infrastructure development.

Ismail said only 35% of total toll collection was electronic collection and efforts should be made to increase this.

The first electronic toll collection was implemented in 1995 and as of today, a total of 1,459km of expressways are equipped with a single electronic toll collection (ETC) system.

“With the adoption of a single ETC system, Malaysia has achieved nationwide interoperability for the existing 18 toll concession companies. It is ahead of many countries in this,” Ismail added.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said there had been several discussions between the various concessionaires and agencies on the implementation of MLFF.


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