Brussels. 2 April. This week, the Road Charging Interoperability (RCI) project launched a 5000-km long, first of its kind, tour of two trucks demonstrating true interoperable road charging while seamlessly crossing six different European countries.
The EC co-funds the RCI project to demonstrate and validate how RCI interoperable prototypes seamlessly and without user intervention adapt functional behaviour when crossing borders according to the rules that apply for the German (Toll Collect), Swiss (LSVA), French (TIS-PL), Spanish (VIA-T), Italian (TELEPASS) and Austrian (ASFINAG) tolling schemes.
Interoperability of road charging allows its users to drive anywhere in Europe and be rewarded or charged according to specific rules that are defined by the toll charger (road toll operators or Member State) by subscribing to a single service contract and equipping their vehicles with a single onboard unit instead of separate box for each environment. Through Directive 2004/52, interoperability has become a high priority for the EC.
The RCI truck demonstration of 2 different prototypes on the network of 6 of the major existing toll operators in Europe is (1) demonstrating functional interoperability within and across existing microwave- and satellite-based tolling systems, (2) that is based on open specifications that allow for competitive products that can be manufactured for a European market and (3) showing the feasibility of a technical architecture that can help establish an open market for the provisioning of the interoperable service.
The launch of the RCI trucks is a new European milestone. The functional validation of the RCI prototypes based on an open technical architecture will help European stakeholders, including industry, operators, service providers and public authorities and the EC in advancing the definition of a European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS).
In France, agreements could be made between French Toll Operators and the RCI project (facilitated by RCI partners Cofiroute and ASFA) that make it possible, for the time of the demonstrations, that RCI transactions occur in an operational environment and are subject to real billing in TIS-PL environment. The RCI demonstration therefore clearly shows how RCI is demonstrating the technical implementation in support of a European contractual (role) model that operators and Member States agreed in the CESARE III project.
Johannes Springer, one of the co-chairs of the RCI Steering Committee and representing Toll Collect, said “This is the first demonstration ever of interoperable prototypes that are based on an open architecture and that are capable of working at the functional level in all the different charging environments in Europe”. Philippe Lassauce, the other co-chair of the RCI Steering Committee and representing ASFA supplemented “During the demonstrations in France, these prototypes carry out transactions in an operational environment that are subject to real billing showing a first technical implementation that is built upon the CESARE III model and that considers the related roles, responsibilities and contractual aspects for the actors when operating an interoperable European road charging service.”
For more information, please contact ERTICO – ITS Europe Project & Development Manager and RCI project Coordinator Oene Kerstjens.
The RCI project will report here on the Truck Demonstration Tour.