Malaysia trials free-flow toll collection

Malaysia is running highway trials of a Japanese electronic toll collection (ETC) system, enabling drivers to pay without having to stop at toll gates.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is running the trial with support from the Malaysian government, which is considering upgrading its existing ETC system to a multi-lane free flow (MLFF) type in order to ease traffic congestion. This is the first overseas application of technology based on current Japanese ETC standards.

The trial will run till the end of this year at the Penchala toll plaza of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway near Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.

MHI is providing a roadside communication system and vehicle on-board units (OBUs). Through the demonstration, MHI aims to prove the reliability of its ETC technology, the new system's compatibility with currently operated ETC cards, and its functionality in mixed operation with the existing system. At the same time, the company hopes to demonstrate its technological capability to introduce the MLFF operation – which allows a free flow of multi-lane traffic without requiring vehicles to slow down for toll collecting - into Malaysia.

The system uses active-type dedicated short-range communication (Active DSRC). Considering the needs of export markets, MHI's OBU is battery-powered and accepts contactless chip cards for prepayment. When adopted, the system, which can collect tolls from about 2,000 vehicles per hour, will contribute significantly to easing traffic congestion.

Malaysia is one of the most extensively highway-networked countries in Southeast Asia. MHI, in addition to seeking to win a contract to upgrade that country's existing system, looks to leverage its trial operation in Malaysia to become increasingly proactive in marketing its ETC system as a "global standard" to various countries and regions now considering ETC system deployment.

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