In 2004, the EU adopted a directive on the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) – EETS Directive 2004/52. Toll4Europe is now providing a toll system to deliver this ambition. In addition to saving time for transport companies, Toll4Europe's toll system will offer a range of smart value-added services throughout all of Europe. The services will be phased in successively.
Truck drivers moving throughout Europe are subject to many, differing toll systems – different in terms of technical standards – in a total of 28 countries.
This diversity is what led the EU to adopt the EETS Directive and, in 2009, to define the characteristics of the planned new European electronic tolling service and its technical components.
The EETS is aimed at linking two main technologies, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC), at making all tolling systems interoperable with a single on-board unit (OBU) standard.
Toll4Europe is a joint venture of T-Systems, Daimler and DKV Euro Service. Its aim is to be able to serve all of Europe with a single on-board unit and one EETS platform. Toll4Europe is currently taking the EETS toll system, tailored to different national requirements in each case, through certification procedures in Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Austria. Later, Italy and Central and Eastern European countries will follow. T-Systems, a pioneer in the area of satellite-based toll systems, brings years of experience in route-based toll collection systems to the effort. Daimler is considered a quality and technology leader in the automotive sector and, as a truck manufacturer, has again and again brought innovations to high-tech transport vehicles. DKV Euro Service has special expertise in the area of toll and payment processing and in customer service.
One of the providers of the Europe-wide tolling system is Toll4Europe. This company, a joint venture comprising of T-Systems, Daimler and DKV Euro Service, is offering a convincing, reliable and interoperable technology that will greatly simplify tolling collection in Europe. Toll4Europe's combination of competencies is unique in the EETS market. T-Systems, considered a pioneer in the area of satellite-based tolling systems, brings years of experience in route-based and use-dependent toll collection systems to the effort. DKV Euro Service brings the leadership skills and know-how it has gained in years of experience, in over 40 countries, with toll and payment processing and related customer service. Daimler, a quality and technology leader, is driving the relevant trends and setting standards for smart applications in the automobile and truck construction sectors.
For many years, T-Systems has been operating the TollCollect system in Germany. In addition, since 2016, with the introduction of the satellite-based system in Belgium, it has also been proving the operability of a GNSS-based nationwide toll collection system that is able to cover all roads and conforms to high-quality standards. In connection with the Toll4Europe, T-Systems is expanding classic DSRC technology to its portfolio. Ultimately, the toll collection technology used is not the decisive factor. "The real challenge is to provide a toll system for all of Europe while, at the same time, managing the enormous complexity involved – complexity with respect to data, interfaces, invoicing procedures and so, the entire IT infrastructure. While we do have unified standards, they are open to interpretations. Every country has its own different interfaces to its own invoicing systems and other downstream IT services. Toll domains differ in the way they classify the toll – in some areas, it is treated like a fee, while in others it is handled like a tax. Some toll domains offer options for reselling, while others do not. Differences are also seen in invoice layouts and in enforcement. To link all of this together in an intelligent, state-of-the-art way takes a great deal of experience and a wide range of competencies as a systems integrator and IT-systems operator. At the same time, we of course have to understand our customers' requirements, and we have to provide customer service that adequately meets those needs," explains Mirka Dworschak, managing director of Toll4Europe.
Ok with both DSRC and GNSS
Toll4Europe's smart EETS solution reflects the experience it has gained in these various different worlds of tolling. Its EETS platform is modular, and thus can handle all of the requirements specified by the EU – such DSRC versions 2009 and 2015, which are specified in CEN Standard 12813 and are important with regard to enforcement.
In its EETS platform, Toll4Europe integrates toll and vehicle services, and employs interface technologies that automate – and thus considerably simplify – integration of third-party systems.
"Thanks to Toll4Europe's service, companies can quickly and efficiently offer the EETS service as part of their own portfolios. And Toll4Europe relieves them of the extensive certification overhead involved and frees them from having to maintain costly direct relationships with toll chargers," Mirka Dworschak adds. Technologically, this is achieved via web-based service interfaces similar to those now offered by all providers of Internet or cloud-based services. In addition, Toll4Europe plans to supplement its toll service with value-added services on varying levels of service sophistication.
OBU updates using mobile communications
The Toll4Europe solution can be employed right away and anywhere, since it has been designed and developed in keeping with the latest requirements. This applies both to support for satellite-based toll collection in countries such as Germany and Belgium, as well as to full interoperability with various different DSRC standards such as CEN/ETSI (in France, Spain, Portugal and Austria) and UNI (Italy). A newly developed DSRC combined module makes this possible. "Trucks will need to have only one OBU on bord, and that one OBU will cover the different toll systems in Europe," Mirka Dworschak also emphasizes. If new toll domains are added in the coming years, they will be activated "over the air." As a result, OBUs will always stay up-to-date. It will be possible to update them at any time with additional functions, registration data or additional toll-domain activations.
"Toll4Europe's great fortes include its long experience with satellite-based toll operations and with secure management of large data volumes. As a leading EETS provider, we provide a reliable, interoperable technology that has already proven itself – with over ten years of error-free and interruption-free operations – in Germany and Belgium. Anyone who trusts our solution can thus quickly switch to EETS and get an absolutely reliable toll service for the future," Mirka Dworschak notes.
Companies nowadays need a much broader and more exact database in order to address customers successfully across all sales and communications channels. Big data is becoming a key competitive advantage.