Wednesday, 27 July 2011

India's burgeoning toll road sector

Indian site Business Today has an excellent article summarising many of the ins and outs of the toll road sector in India.  Some of the key points being:
- The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) estimates around 15% of revenue (US$68 million) per annum is lost due to pilferage at manual toll booths;
- The Ministry of Roads and Transport has proposed RFID (let's call it a form of DSRC) to resolve this, with rollout to START by May 2012 (why so slow? Is there an intention to have a nationwide interoperable network of clearing houses?)
- The rate of return for BOT PPP projects is estimated at around 14%;
- 80 PPPs have been commissioned in the past decade, with around 47,000km of additional road to be built under this model in the next few years;
- 170 toll plazas across India, of which 100 are government run by NHAI;
- An emerging market is the operation of tolling systems for BOT concessionaires (Egis being a partner in the first joint venture doing just that).

Clearly India is building new highways at a pace perhaps only rivalled by China, but the spread of tolling suggests that intercity road transport at least, is subject to the vagaries of pricing to recover infrastructure costs.  The biggest issue is, as it is in many countries, the issue of fraud and theft around manual toll booths.

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