Akhilesh Srivastava – Modernising Highways in India
Akhilesh Srivastava, Chief General Manager (CGM) at the National Highways Authority of India, is in-charge of various projects initiated by the Government of India for the development of national highways and other road infrastructure. These projects are part of the Central government’s bid to modernise the highways sector. CGM Akhilesh Srivastava and his team at the NHAI are helping the government realise its vision through the integration of advanced technology in highway operations.
Some of the projects being helmed by CGM Akhilesh Srivastava include Wayside Amenities (WSA), Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), drones and remote-sensing for highway projects, and more.
WSA was conceptualised for improving and increasing the number of amenities on national highways and providing a safe halting point for motorists. The project comprises of three subprojects – Highway Nest, Highway Nest (Mini), and Highway Village. The Nest is being built on various national highway Toll plazas and provides basic amenities such as eateries and fuel station.
The Nest (Mini) is similar to Nest, only smaller, and has already been built on many Toll booths in the country. It provides limited facilities, including eateries and restrooms. The largest of them all is the Village, which sprawls over 5 acres of land. The Village acts as a highway port and provides advanced amenities and safety for passengers.
Another important project spearheaded by Srivastava, ETC is a system that allows commuters to pay Toll fees electronically. It uses speed cameras, RFID, and vehicle detection in a dedicated lane to identify passing vehicles, generate invoice, and debit the Toll amount. It is already installed in around 383 Toll plazas on separate lanes.
The ETC system is enabled by another unique payment technology – FASTag. It is an RFID-encoded sticker that is linked to the user’s bank account and affixed to the vehicle’s windscreen. The mechanism detects the RFID code in FASTag and deducts the fee. The FASTag is a downloadable and rechargeable sticker, much like a SIM card, and has been downloaded by more than 2 million users as of yet.
One of CGM Srivastava’s most advanced project yet, the ATMS, or Traffic Incident Management System (TIMS), is a management system that uses a string of equipment to monitor highways from a centralised database. The equipment include cameras, speed sensors, and more, installed at key locations on highways and their Toll plazas.
The devices extract data and relay it to a regional or NHAI command centre. In case of emergencies, the system can send distress signals to authorities and request deployment of facilities such as ambulance, police patrol vehicles, tow-away trucks, cranes, and others.
Recently, the NHAI initiated the installation of a new network of surveillance systems that consist of low-latency and high-resolution IP cameras in over 10 Toll plazas, and intends to complete it by the end of 2018. The government’s highway agency also is considering the use of drones and LiDARs for the ATMS in the near future, as it has already begun using them for monitoring the construction of highway projects.
Besides these, CGM Akhilesh Srivastava has also initiated several other projects for overhauling Indian highways, including GPS Tolling, which is a satellite-based Toll deduction system that will charge the user for the distance travelled and eliminate the need for Toll infrastructure.
Outside of Highways, Srivastava has also worked on many other successful projects, such as the new techno-legal portal for cyber arbitration, conciliation, and mediation – Online Dispute Resolution. The first-of-its-kind system was launched recently and is fully operable. With these projects and more, the NHAI CGM plays a pivotal role in building the highways of tomorrow and revamping India’s arterial trade network.
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