Technological Changes in National Highways’ Operations

Much before the Government of India’s push for a digital India, the NHAI has a good history of technological absorption into its operations and administration.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous body created by a law of parliament of India to look after the development and maintenance of the major chunk of National Highways. It works under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). The NHAI has embarked on a mission to modernise the National Highway Network of India with a slew of measures including tech-based initiatives.

Let’s look into reasons that have been influencing the NHAI to go for digital transformation

  • Though National Highways constitute only 2% of roadways in India, but they facilitate a massive 40 % of trade. And that’s why the National Highway Network is referred as arterial Network of India. The volume of trade, without a doubt, is set to increase in the future. So, the NHAI has to gear up for such proportional changes, which is possible by adopting technology
  • The traffic on national highways is also rising day on day. To control the traffic and contain congestion, the NHAI has no other way other than embracing technology
  • When it comes to development and maintenance of Highways, the NHAI is facing acute shortage of resources and supporting systems. This situation is pushing the NHAI to go after modern technologies
  • Ranging from procurement to project execution, the NHAI has been facing numerous issues. To sort out all such issues, the NHAI is leveraging different technologies
  • Commuter-related issues are cropping up and for the same reason, the NHAI is leaving no stone unturned in exploring and exploiting different technologies to deal with problems

 Technology-driven changes in Highways sector till date

To address many of the progress-clogging issues, the NHAI has initiated many reforms and processes over the years. Many of the started initiatives are reaping positive results and are even encouraging the NHAI to experiment different processes.

One of the recent initiatives / systems launched by NHAI and MoRTH is:

FASTag

Also called as Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, FASTag Toll collection system has been changing the traffic dynamics since its inception. Truckers and commuters have been benefitting a lot with this system.

The GoI has mandated FASTags for every new vehicle purchased after November 2017 and it also directed the NHAI to develop a dedicated FASTag lane at every of its Toll Plaza. FASTags are Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, which when pasted on a vehicle’s windscreen makes that vehicle get detected at the FASTag-enabled Toll Plaza and process the Toll payment without human intervention, thus decongesting Toll Plazas. Using this system, the NHAI is able to fetch the traffic data pertaining to National Highways, which can be used for the future developmental works. This is one good example which showcases how NHAI is making use of technology.

There are a lot of examples of such kind that are shaping National Highways of India into greater places to travel.


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