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China to launch unified ETC system

Updated: Nov 30,2014 10:00 AM     Xinhua

China will launch a national unified electronic toll collection (ETC) system in the next year to solve freeway congestion, save logistics cost and cut emission.

The national ETC network will be primarily completed by the end of 2015 based on a regional system that will cover 14 provinces by this year end, said Xu Chengguang, spokesman of the Ministry of Transport (MOT), noting it will top the world in terms of the total length of express highway.

The ministry expects no less than 25 percent of passenger cars will be equipped with transponders and all the toll station along major expressways will be covered with the system by that time.

China currently has 260 million vehicles, but only 13 million users pay toll fees via ETC system, data showed.

The system is expected to solve China’s prevalent traffic congestion in front of toll gates, especially during long holidays, where Chinese passengers used to skip rope in the highways-turned-parking lots to kill the seemingly endless waiting time.

“An ETC lane equals to five other lanes where tolls are collected manually as transit time is cut to three seconds from 14 seconds,” Wang Gang, director of the ETC center under the MOT, said, “It can ease traffic jam substantially.”

In addition, Wang said logistics cost will decline, estimating 87 percent of expenditures on toll station and 20 percent of service cost will be saved thanks to the system.

Around 20 percent of fuel will be saved and carbon dioxide emission will be cut by 50 percent compared with the traditional toll collection method, he added.