RCI project reveals technology to easy pan-European driving.

The ERTICO – ITS Europe coordinated Road Charging Interoperability (RCI) project demonstrates this week in London advanced new technology aimed at making it easier for drivers to use Europe’s roads.

RCI is a European research and development project, part-funded by the European Commission, which has developed prototype equipment capable of meeting the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) requirements.

Two vehicles, equipped with RCI equipment, will be driven around central London during the week before Christmas to test how EETS units might perform in London where the London Congestion Charge Scheme, the largest urban charging scheme in Europe, is in operation.

In early 2008 RCI will formally demonstrate the prototype charging equipment in a demo tour through six countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland).

Electronic charging systems may use several technologies and are either based on microwave short-range communication or on satellite-based location combined with cellular radio communication.

Road user charging can be a sensitive issue, but is a policy widely implemented throughout Europe.  In 2004 the European Commission passed the Interoperability Directive which requires Member States to ensure that road users will be able to pay their road tolls and road usage charges seamlessly and electronically using a single piece of equipment.  The directive envisages the EETS – when fully implemented. EETS users will pay a single bill for road usage charges generated using a single on-board unit.

Oene Kerstjens, ERTICO – ITS Europe Project Manager says that “this is the first time that genuinely interoperable equipment, capable of working in all the different charging environments and suitable for use in the European Electronic Toll Service, will be demonstrated in an urban landscape. RCI is helping to make road charging more efficient and easier to use.  Although London is not part of the project, our partners are very keen to demonstrate interoperability in London.”

For more information, please contact ERTICO – ITS Europe Project Manager Oene Kerstjens or visit the RCI website.

DATED: 11th December 2007