In what comes as a huge sigh of relief for commuters and road transport carriers across the country, the Govt. of India has announced that it is planning to remove all physical toll booths on highways within a year. As part of the promise of a “Toll naka mukt Bharat”, toll money collection will move to GPS imaging (on vehicles) based technology. We see it as a very smart move, considering the amount of time wasted, the sheer volume of fuel burnt and resultant carbon emissions from spending countless hours at toll plazas across the length and breadth of India’s freight corridors.
Interestingly, we have been monitoring fuel consumption data for one of the largest fleet operators under the PPP model in Maharashtra. The requirement came in as a request to build an argument to the state government that the contracted cost per kilometer was not in sync with the real-world mileage of the vehicles contracted. The problem stemmed from the fact that the state govt in its tender had set the contracted cost per kilometer for buses like the 12-meter stage coaches as a direct function of the mileage. The tenders were considering the fuel efficiency of all such vehicles to be in the range of 4.1 – 4.3 kmpl. And that’s where operators were bleeding.
For starters, we analysed fuel consumption data from the Pune-Bengaluru corridor, one of the busiest freight corridors in the country, having a total of 17 toll nakas. A significant population of buses and trucks operating along the corridor are integrated with the Intangles Digital Twin Platform with systems tracking vehicle wise geospatial and fuel consumption data with high resolutions.
A customised data model was developed to track vehicles queueing around toll plazas. Machine learning algorithms such as clustering were used to process geospatial data for stationary vehicles along the Pune-Bengaluru route. Multiple classes of halts including tolls, rest stops, service centres and depots were isolated. Each of these classes had characteristic features such as speed profile, distance between unique geo-coordinates and distribution of simultaneous stoppages within them. These features were used to train the model to drill down on stoppages representative of vehicles queueing at tolls. Geo-coordinates of toll plazas along the Golden Quadrilateral were sourced from open source utilities on the web. Stoppages characteristic of toll booths identified by the clustering algorithm were tracked in the vicinity of geo-coordinates for said toll plazas. Dynamic fuel consumption aggregates at these stoppages were calculated using fuel injection rates sampled from the Engine Management System of vehicles under analysis.
Here are some mind boggling stats that we came across:
1.75 to 2.5% of fuel is being burnt only at toll plazas. For every individual bus this translates to hundreds of litres of fuel wasted every month.
12 meter coaches with 180 to 230 HP diesel engines consume 140 liters Of
diesel per month at toll plazas. This maps to 2% of expected monthly fuel
consumption. The same also translates into 375 kg of Carbon Emissions per
vehicle per month.
Ashok Leyland 1812 12 M
The numbers got us so intrigued that we analysed data for certain categories of trucks as well. Here’s what we found:
Light Duty Trucks (6 tons and above) consume 75 litres of diesel per month at
toll plazas. This maps to 2.3 % of monthly fuel consumption. The same also
translates into 200 kg of Carbon Emissions per vehicle per month.
Volvo Eicher Light Duty Truck
If the government makes GPS monitoring for vehicles mandatory, it will sound the death knell for all toll booths. The numbers are overwhelmingly in favour!