The global evolution of tolling – 4 key trends
“Tolling approaches and technologies are evolving extremely rapidly to support the needs of agencies, independent tolling providers, and – of course – road users themselves. In this blog, we look at four key trends that are shaping the future of tolling – from rapid adoption of Multi-Lane Free-Flow (MLFF) schemes, to use of cellular and vehicle data – and explain how tolling providers can future proof their technology environments and organizations,” says Nathalie Leboucher, Head of Sales Western Europe, Middle East, Africa, Kapsch TrafficCom .
Due to local geographical, legislative, and cultural factors, a wide range of tolling technologies have been adopted worldwide. DSRC* and GNSS**, for example, are dominant in Europe (with GNSS used for nationwide heavy-goods vehicle tolling). At the same time, video tolling is widespread in the USA and the UK and in a growing number of other countries around the world. And different variants of DSRC and RFID*** proliferate across China, the USA, the Middle East, and India.
But in spite of the variety and diversity of tolling technologies currently in use globally, 4 key industry trends are emerging to shape the future of tolling. Although these are being adopted at different rates and to different degrees in different countries and regions, they will ultimately come together to create more sustainable, effective tolling schemes that deliver greater convenience and value for road users.
As one of the world wide’s leaders for tolling, we see 4 key trends that are set to shape the evolution in this industry in the coming years:
1) Transition to Multi Lane Free Flow (MLFF) tolling
Many countries around the world are transitioning from plaza tolling to MLFF schemes. This technology, of course, isn’t new, and many countries across the world already have comparatively mature MLFF tolling schemes. However, MLFF adoption is accelerating rapidly, particularly in the light-vehicle and all-vehicle tolling space in countries like France, China, and the United States – which are critical countries from a tolling technology perspective. A number of other countries, including Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, and Japan, are also at various stages of their MLFF adoption journeys, either for heavy goods vehicles, or for all-vehicle applications.
2) Use of in-vehicle and smartphone connectivity for tolling applications
Today, smartphones are already widely used as account management tools via apps linked to onboard units or RFID stickers. In the mid to long-term, however, smartphones will also play a role in toll declarations, drawing on geolocation data and connectivity to support accurate, convenient toll charging. Although this kind of scheme will not be implemented overnight, pilot projects are already underway in Poland and Indonesia.
3) The outsourcing of tolling services to private-sector partners
Increasingly, delivery of tolling services, including toll charging, is being outsourced to trusted third parties in the private sector, both in Europe and in the US. According to Kapsch TrafficCom research, for example, EETS providers were responsible for collecting around 20% of tolls from heavy goods vehicles in Europe in 2019 (largely because of early adoption in France and Belgium). By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to around 54%, largely due to the opening up of new major territories (including Germany and Italy. Meanwhile in the USA, just 2% of light vehicle tolls were collected by non-government organizations in 2019, with the figure expected to rise to around 18% by 2025.
4) Replacement of fuel taxes with distance-based pricing (also known as Road User Charging, or Vehicle Miles Travelled)
In many countries, agencies and authorities are experiencing a dramatic reduction in fuel tax revenues as vehicle engines become more efficient and the number of electric vehicles increases. This is negatively impacting economic recovery in the wake of the COVID pandemic, while also reducing funding for much needed infrastructure projects. For these reasons, many countries are looking at distance-based charging as a potential solution. For example, high-level political discussions about distance-based charging are already taking place in Norway, The Netherlands and in the UK. Meanwhile, the USA is by far most advanced country in terms of distance-based pricing innovation, with multiple public trials already underway. The US State of Utah also recently enacted permanent legislation to enable road users to be charged by the miles they travel, and Australia and New Zealand are now considering similar approaches.
Adapting to the future of tolling: how Kapsch can help
At Kapsch TrafficCom, we are constantly innovating our solutions and capabilities to support agencies, authorities, and tolling partners as new technologies and business models are adopted.
In particular, we provide accurate, flexible tolling solutions that help tolling chargers and other services providers to maintain the KPIs previously delivered by government tolling providers. Additionally, we can provide the foundational technologies and roadside infrastructure to support the transition from plazas and other legacy approaches to next-generation MLFF tolling solutions, and have many references of successful MLFF projects delivered worldwide.
To ensure that agencies and providers can future proof their businesses, we have created a full-featured geolocation platform that can ingest data from both smartphones and vehicles. This ensures that these data sources can be used for tolling declarations – as well as customer account management and communications – when the time is right.
Together, Kapsch solutions and capabilities also support distance-based charging and a range of other innovations, including dynamic pricing that reflects fluctuating traffic conditions on the network. All this means that agencies and providers can adopt new business and changing models as required in the future.
Get in touch to find out more
If you found this blog useful, we hope you’ll watch the full webinar recording “Transformations in Tolling”
You can also read more about the 7 top benefits of next-generation road tolling here
To find out more about Kapsch’s vision for the future of tolling, or to discover how our solutions and capabilities can help your organization prepare and thrive as tolling continues to evolve globally, please contact us today or on +43 50 811 0 or at
 The earliest adopters of MLFF include Singapore and, to a lesser degree, Australia
* Dedicated Short-Range Communication (915 MHz, CEN 5.8 GHz, WAVE/G5 5.9 GHz, ISO 18000-63)
** Global Navigation Satellite Systems