The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is on a mission to integrate innovation and technology in the public sector to solve the challenges in highway infrastructure. The Centre’s autonomous agency is set to solve issues such as inadequate road infrastructure on national highways. To this end, the NHAI is constructing a cluster project to address severe issues in the roads and highways sector.
The National Highways Authority of India, under the leadership of CGM Akhilesh Srivastava, is implementing the GoI’s ambitious project Wayside Amenities (WSAs) to provide convenience and comfort to motorists while overhauling and modernising infrastructure. The WSAs is being constructed under three substructures – Highway Nest (Mini), Highway Village and Highway Nest.
The NHAI is facilitating amenities in the form of hygienic restaurants, food courts, 24X7 fuel stations, dhabas, spacious parking lots, hygienic restrooms, kiosks for sundry items, medical aid booths, helipads and more. The NHAI is fusing sophisticated technology in its Sukhad Yatra application, which further complements the GoI’s Digital India initiative.
The highway-utility mobile application is a standalone guide for highway users which is designed and developed by the ComVision (India) Pvt Ltd. The application has built-in GPS system to track location-specific information on the Wayside Amenities near highways. Sukhad Yatra has seven utility features such as Nearby, Toll Plaza(s), Toll Plaza Enroute, Buy FASTag, Know Your Highway, Report An Issue, Report Summary, NearBy, and Rate Us.
Sukhad Yatra allows users to take the highway issues directly to the concerned authorities without any interference. Therefore, commuters can register their complaints or grievances, which are stored in the centralised database and are processed immediately for redressal. Not limited to that, the application also allows users to track and monitor the status of their complaint within the application.
The NHAI, in order to ease and regulate Toll payments, has introduced Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) on all the Toll plazas in the country. The ETC model allows commuters to make their Toll invoice electronically. The NHAI’s ETC model eliminates the traffic congestion at Toll gates, minimises the time taken to pay Tolls, and saves fuel.
The Buy FASTag feature of the application enables users to buy FASTag – Radio Frequency Identification sticker/tag which further helps users to do digital Toll payments. The NHAI also is planning to develop a tolling system based on GPS, which will make Toll payments more transparent and eliminate the need for Toll plaza infrastructure.
The Centre’s autonomous highways wing also is bringing into action Emergency Traffic Management System (ETIMS) on the National Highways to provide emergency facilities in the vicinity of the incident within 15 minutes of intimation. The NHAI also set up an emergency helpline number – 1033 – for the comfort of the highway users.
To enhance the commuter experience, deliver high-end emergency facilities, easing Toll payments and highway amenities the NHAI is amalgamating IT in its projects. Also, the NHAI’s projects are intersected to provide more convenience to the highway users. The Centre’s autonomous agency also is planning to use technology to track, monitor and maintain the national highways.