Free traffic-toll collection system with protection of personal data - including passenger monitoring system
Background & Objectives
Other electronic toll collection systems take advantage of vehicle-to-roadside communication technologies to perform an electronic monetary transaction between a vehicle passing through a toll station and the toll agency. Most of those technological components are based on GPS or infrared communication and have been tested and demonstrated but open up different problems:
- tracking the vehicle owner and thereby the question of personal data protection,
- the systems do not offer an entirely accurate and timely location determination.
According to the European traffic policy and recommendations on personal data protection there is a need for such a technological solution, which will insure greater protection of personal data while simultaneously considering the principle of actual road usage, prevention of forgery and fraud, undisturbed toll collection, low costs of toll collection, etc. The system also offers the possibility of changing the classic road taxes payment (flexible tariff policy) for payment according to the actual use (monthly, annually, pre-payment).
The project was established to develop an innovative toll collection system using EGNOS-based Global Navigation Satellite System and Cellular Networks (GNSS/CN) using intelligent vehicle device and program modules which will ensure greater personal data protection, guarantee fair charging of the distance travelled and prevent avoidance of toll payments at the open toll collection systems.
During the process of development the aim was to solve the problems of existing toll collecting systems. Users were provided with an OBU that captures the location of the vehicle and detects crossings of predefined toll stations, defined by using dynamically loaded maps. Data concerning entry into tolls, the loading of maps and user data was communicated from the OBU to the CC using GPRS. Charging the usersâ€™ accounts, along with account management and the processing of passenger statistics, was performed within the CC. The software, activity sequence and use case diagrams was designed using the UML 2.0 standard. The result was the specification of a very well defined and modular system. The consortium decided to build the CC software on a Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 platform using Microsoft eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0, and focused on the problem of building this concept and not on other technical issues which were not among the project objectives. Data encryption was implemented using library rsaeuro 1.04.
Within the project there were five main objectives to develop the following:
- Prototype of the control centre (CC);
- Prototype of the toll meter or the onboard unit (OBU);
- Protected communication between the CC and OBU;
- A system that can charge tolls in relation to the number of bus passengers;
- An electronic map of the virtual toll stations.
Work performed & results
Building the Galileo electronic tolling system demanded the design of an electronic map model, an OBU with all of the peripheral devices, a control centre and communication between the CC and OBU devices. An electronic map represented a set of all the toll stations with coordinates for the entire tolling region. Since all OBU units do not need all the data at once the electronic map was split into fragments called cells, which were organised as a tree structure. In this model a cell is a rectangle aligned with meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude. Each cell has the exact position given by vertices coordinates. A cell contains all the toll stations that are at least partially covered by the cellâ€™s rectangle. A cell represents the smallest part of an electronic map that can be loaded in the OBUâ€™s memory. The onboard unit is a universal device that is not tied to a vehicle, vehicle category or driver. It contains a smart card reader for user personalisation. When considering the number of passengers on a bus for fair charging, a piece of equipment for passenger counting was added â€“ IRMA. The system was plugged directly into the vehicleâ€™s OBU. The OBU is constantly calculating the GNSS position of the vehicle. Every second the OBU calculates the positions and creates a list of received positions â€“ the trace. The second activity is processing each item of the trace, following the FIFO rule. If the item is inside any of the tolling stations, the OBU sends a description of the crossing event to the CC, which contains the account number, the category of the vehicle, the ID of the tolling station, the exact date/time of detection and (in the case of vehicle of commercial use) the number of passengers. The OBU never sends data which compromises privacy to the CC, such as current or previous positions of the vehicle, the driving direction, etc. The control centre consists of a highly efficient server and programming equipment. Its basic role is to process the demands from OBU, i.e. confirmation of the cells or charging the toll. The CC sends segments of the electronic map to the OBU. Every time the OBU determines a toll station has been crossed it sends a demand to the CC to charge for the toll. The CC then calculates the toll, subtracts it from the userâ€™s account and sends the information about this event back to the OBU. Throughout the system software, the CC is the one actually responsible for charging tolls and subtracting it from usersâ€™ accounts.