Chile to extend its highway electronic toll system

The measure will make traffic speed in the collection areas five times faster on roads connecting the capital with the Panamericana highway and the beaches of the Pacific.

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The central zone of Chile will have an integrated network of electronic tolls in its inter-provincial highways, according to the Ministry of Public Works (MOP).

At least 12,000 vehicles pass daily through the urban road network in Santiago, composed of six lines totaling 180 kilometers or 112 miles, five of which have a free flow collection system.

Thanks to the agreement between the authorities and the concessionaires, drivers will be able to activate their electronic toll device, known as Televía or simply “tag”, in order to travel expeditiously to and from the north and south along the Panamericana highway, and the Pacific Ocean coast to places such as Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.

Traffic will be recorded in the intercity highways in two ways; the well-known non-stop way and the new “stop and go” way, implemented in mixed tracks where cars drive at a reduced speed so that an antenna installed on a porch receives the electronic signal.

In the second case, if the user has the “tag” enabled, the barrier will lift automatically. Otherwise, it will remain closed and the driver will have to pay the toll in a traditional booth, the MOP explained.

It is estimated that the implementation of the service will improve travel times during normal periods. A manual toll for instance, serves 250 users per hour. In contrast, the free flow system allows 1,250 vehicles to pass during this same time.

The initiative, which will be fully operational before the end of President Sebastián Piñera’s government in 2014, will make traffic in the toll plazas more dynamic, especially on the busiest days such as holiday eves and long weekends.

Chile has an innovative concessionary system which has allowed for the modernization and strengthening of the wider road network in Chile, which is over 80 thousand kilometers (50 thousand miles) across the country.

According to figures of the Asociación de Concesionarios de Obras de Infraestructura Pública  (Association of Concessionaries of Public Works), in Santiago roads only, already US$ 2,500 million has been invested since 2001. This model has been diversified into other sectors such as airports.