Section4 ITS deployment progress in Japan

ETC(Electronic Toll Collection System) - Global standard ETC started

- Objectives and features of Japanese ETC
ETC services started in Japan, with the following aims: to alleviate traffic congestion near toll gates; to enhance convenience of drivers by eliminating the need to handle cash; and to reduce management cost. The ETC system in Japan will handle complicated toll systems in which different amounts are charged according to the type of vehicle and distance traveled. Furthermore, one on-board equipment can be used on numerous toll roads managed by different administrative bodies.
When ETC was developed, the following were agreed: (1) specifications to be unified to make the system available to users nationwide and compatible for transactions on all toll roads in Japan; (2) a 5.8GHz-band active system to be adopted as a DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) system to ensure precise interactive communication between the vehicles and roadway units; (3) the "two-piece" method using an on-board equipment and a IC card to be adopted, to cope with future functional development and to allow multi-purpose use of IC cards; and (4) IC cards that incorporate devices such as a CPU to be used, to allow mutual verification with other terminal equipment and coding of recorded data for high security.

Mechanism of ETC

Example of ETC in operation

On-board equipment and IC card

Effects of ETC deployment
Increase in ETC coverage will improve the processing capacity of toll gates and eliminate manned toll booths, reducing costs. By the end of fiscal 2002, it is estimated that the number of vehicles fitted with on-board ETC equipment will exceed four million, which is half of all vehicles passing through toll gates each day. Using the cost saved by this, four highway public corporations are planning to install the ETC system at about 900 toll gates which are expected to benefit greatly from it.
This number accounts for approximately 70 percent of all toll gates in Japan, meaning that most of the congestion-prone toll gates will be covered by the ETC system. It has been calculated that this will allow about 80 percent of total traffic on toll roads to move without stopping. In future, all toll gate booths will be fitted with a card reader capable of reading the electrically transmitted information of the IC card inserted in the on-board equipment, enabling every vehicle fitted with ETC on-board equipment to use all toll gates in the country.

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