WHY DO WE NEED TOLL ROADS?

As the experience of many countries of the world shows, the increase in the well-being of citizens is often accompanied by an increase in the number of cars. Our country is no exception. For example, last year the number of registered vehicles in Kazakhstan exceeded 5 million units. For comparison: in the US, there are about 80 cars per 100 inhabitants, and on the average for European countries this figure is about 50 cars. We can say that Kazakhstan has average level of motorization. Although among the CIS countries on this indicator Kazakhstan is on third place after the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

Accordingly, along with the increase in the number of vehicles, the issues of maintaining quality and safety of roads are of primary importance. That is why one of the important areas of the Intelligent Transport System is introduction of toll highways. Of course, when any tools and services of the state were free previously and then become paid, it causes a lot of questions from citizens. It was the case with the introduction of the road toll on «Astana-Schuchinsk» road, where drivers of cars pay about 200 KZT, trucks – up to five thousand KZT. And what if you try to figure out what advantages drivers and passengers obtain thanks to the 200 KZT they paid?

Paid highways exist in more than 30 countries. In total, there are about 25 million km of roads in the world, of which about 150 thousand km are toll roads. They are in Europe, South Korea, Japan, the USA, Russia and other countries.

In France, there is one of the most progressive systems of toll roads among European countries. The fare for these routes varies from about 17 to 39 euros, depending on road length. In general, there are no standard payment schemes for road maintenance around the world. In some countries, there are unlimited subscriptions for a day, a week, a month or a year with a fixed value.

In some countries it is necessary to pay only for the use of certain infrastructure elements – bridges, tunnels and other complex facilities. For example, in Germany there are free highways, but travel through national parks and reserves is paid. The average fare for such zones is 8 euros.

One of the important directions of the Intelligent transport system is the introduction of toll highways. For today, there is only one such route in Kazakhstan. It is the “Astana-Shchuchinsk” highway. The traffic intensity of vehicles on it averages up to 7 thousand cars per day.

It is a highway of the highest technical category; there are no intersections with other roads at the same level, which guarantees a safe trip for drivers. Toll roads provide comfortable travel and shorten the travel time, as well as fuel consumption.

These routes are more favorable for a long trip, because they save people’s time. They always have a good road surface; they are constantly cleaned of snow in the winter; employees monitor the traffic. For example, traffic intensity on «Astana – Schuchinsk» highway averages to 7 thousand cars per day.

Another important advantage of implementing such a system is self-repayment of roads. All fees from car owners are used for maintenance of the road, thus removing the burden from the republican budget. There are more traffic lanes here, which are much wider than those on ordinary roads.

The system provides new jobs, which is also a positive aspect. For the convenience of drivers, collection points are provided for collection of funds, and the work on development of a mobile application is being done, as well as the work on the use of RFID marks for non-contact money write-off while driving. In addition, video cameras, weather sensors and special placards will be installed in order to inform drivers. Such sensors will transmit weather data and recommendations for drivers to stick to speed limits to the information boards automatically.

This year, works are conducted on introducing payment on «Astana-Temirtau», «Almaty-Kapshagay» and «Almaty-Khorgos» sections with a total length of 469 km. The system designing on 13 road sections with a total length of 5,500 km is also being finalized. In general, it is planned to introduce payment for 16 road sections by 2020.

As we see, the advantages of toll roads are unquestionably greater. Car owners will be able to go on a journey or on a business trip, enjoying safe and comfortable driving on high-quality roads.

Katerina Zunzyak


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