The ETC System for HGV on Motorways in Germany: First Lessons After System Opening

The ETC System for HGV on Motorways in Germany: First Lessons After System Opening


G Fremont, G Charpentier, COFIROUTE, FR



The Federal Republic of Germany has decided the introduction of a new road charging system for the use of its 12.000 km of motorways by heavy goods vehicles over 12 tons. The current system (the Eurovignette) will be replaced in August 2003 by an automatic system, which will take into account the number of km travelled and the class of the vehicle.

After an international call for tender, the Ministry of Transport has awarded the contract for the design, development and operation over 12 years to the TOLL COLLECT consortium which is made of DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Telekom and COFIROUTE. The contract entered officially in force on the 20th September 2002.

A law was voted on 5 April 2002 by the German parliament to authorise the toll collection on the 12.000 km motorway network; the toll collection can be conceded to the private sector; the toll revenues will be 'mainly allocated to the maintenance of the road network'.

The project is entrusted to a single operator who will supply, install and operate the new system during the next 12 years. All toll revenues will be paid over directly to the Federal Government and the operator will be paid a fee by the Government.

The introduction of the system will need neither to reduce vehicle speeds nor to build infrastructure such as toll gates. Users who want to use the automatic system will have to install in their vehicles an On Board Unit (OBU) which consists of the following modules:

* GPS receiver for vehicle location,
* Digital map of the motorway network,
* GSM/GPRS for transmission of toll transactions to the Accounting Centre,
* DSRC (microwave and infrared) for enforcement and toll payment in other countries.

Other users (non frequent users) will be required to make a 'reservation' before entering on the toll motorway. The reservation can be made either by telephone, via the Internet or on kiosks, which will be installed in many service areas and commercial centres. Payment is carried out there by cash, credit card, or by bank and petrol company cards.

About 1.400.000 HGV are concerned, of which approximately 1?2 are foreigners. It is expected that 500.000 HGV will be equipped with an OBU after one year of operation.

To avoid fraud, 4 types of enforcement methods will be introduced:

* automatic checks by video processing,
* stationary checks with automatic pre-selection,
* flying checks by vehicles in the traffic,
* operator checks at carriers offices.

The 'Toll Collect' system shall be in operation by the end of August 2003.

According to the German ministry requirements and to the future European guideline, the German ETC system will be interoperable with the CEN compliant DSRC based ETC systems which have been or will be implemented on European motorways; this is made possible through the DSRC interface of the OBU and the CESARE 2 / CARD-ME 4 data transaction protocols.

It must be clarified that the international call for tender did not specify the technology to be used, but only the need for interoperability with DSRC.

This paper will present the motivations for the road infrastructure financing through users charging, the description of the main features of the project after its completion; in addition it will provide the first experience gained a few weeks after opening and the perspectives for implementation in other European countries.


Association for European Transport