Ministry of Transport, the leading institution of state administration of transport and communications, whose mission it is to improve and implement the state policy of Latvia in the ﬁelds of transport and communications, to maintain and develop an effective, safe, competitive, environmentally friendly and ﬂexible transport system and create a liberalized and harmonious legal and economic environment of the communications sector.
Roads and means of transport make a crucial contribution to the economic development and growth, bringing important social beneﬁts with it. Poorly maintained roads constrain mobility, signiﬁcantly add to vehicle operating costs, increase accident rates and the costs associated with them. Seeking for an automated go-to solution, the Ministry of Transport decided to introduce the Road User Charge - a payment for using the main state and regional Latvian roads to facilitate their maintenance and development, as well as to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles. However, after an in-depth examination they noticed that the toll is often not paid according to the vehicle’s gross weight. Moreover, if the Latvian border could be crossed within 3 hours of driving, both domestic and international drivers predominantly chose not to purchase the toll at all. Thus, in 2016, around 30% of the planned (> 4M EUR) revenue from the Road User Charge wasn’t collected and couldn’t be applied to improve the road environment.
With that in mind, The Ministry of Transport decided to deploy a long-term, cost-effective smart toll enforcement system, combining high quality transportation sensors and a customized FITS TOLL system connected to various registers in order to automatically scan the traffic ﬂow (collecting data regarding the vehicle’s type, time, location, country) and verify if the owner of the passing vehicle has purchased the Road User Charge and Insurance and has passed the Vehicle Safety Inspection, or performed other transportation-related check-ups that the client has indicated in advance.
Within the set time frame of 4 months and owing to a close collaboration of all stakeholders, a fully automated and integrated toll enforcement system has been installed. Today, the Ministry of Transport is able to gather valuable traffic ﬂow information and facilitate the vehicle veriﬁcation process. It has been established that within 2 months the total sum of violation protocols drawn up regarding the Road User Charge has surpassed the investments allocated to the implementation of FITS TOLL. Everything being fully automated means less human intervention in administrative processes and lesser overall costs, but most importantly – the Ministry of Transport can claim full transparency and instant information regarding the overall traffic ﬂow situation so that calculated and adjusted road improvements can be made.
Thanks to advanced technologies, we have accessed valuable data and gained information transparency regarding vehicles on our roads. Today, as the system is fully automated, we have diminished human involvement in the administrative tolling process, and are now able to focus on strategically more important tasks - how to further improve the road environment and maintenance so that every road user feels safe while driving.