hear the phrase that we cannot escape technology and digitalisation. The
phrase’s purpose is usually to emphasize that new technologies impact all areas
of our business and private life; and that sooner or later each of us
But we can
take this sentence literally as well since motorways are so intertwined with digitalisation
nowadays that we cannot escape it even if we exceed the speed limit on the
Electronic toll collection
noticeable change for the average motorway user is most likely the
all-electronic tolling. In Slovenia, the days when the driver had to stop at
the counter, count their change and hand it to the employee before continuing
their motorway journey are gone.
applies to other European countries, although some places continue with the
previous practice for the time being. As an example, we can look to
neighbouring Italy, although digitalisation has come to the fore there as well,
which we will describe later.
Slovenia, motorway booths were first replaced with vignettes, which started in paper
form. The driver stopped at a petrol station or other purchasing place, bought
a sticker, and stuck it on their windshield. The vignette was valid for one
week, one month or a whole year, and even half a year for certain vehicle
year ago, the system was renovated, drivers said goodbye to the stickers and electronic
vignettes took over.
case, it is an electronic permit, which can be bought online as well, and it is
linked to the vehicle’s license plate number that is entered into the central
tolling system upon the purchase of the electronic vignette. Like the old, traditional
vignette stickers, electronic ones can also be purchased from certain sellers,
in Slovenia and nine foreign countries, as well.
payment, you can freely drive on Slovenian motorways, and special cameras read
the license plates in real-time and determine whether you have a valid
vignette. If you don’t, the employees of the Motorway Company in the Republic
of Slovenia (DARS) will send you an envelope to your home with a request to pay
the fine and the cost of purchasing a weekly vignette.
Along the motorway,
toll inspectors can also be found in certain places that inspect passing
vehicles. “Digitalisation of the toll collection system increases fluidity
and safety and reduces a vehicle’s consumption of fuel,” explained DARS.
DARS took care of collecting tolls from heavy vehicles, i.e., vehicles whose maximum permissible weight exceeds 3.5 tonnes, with the DarsGo unit. It is a physical device, which must be installed inside the vehicles. Drivers can obtain it directly from DARS service centres or authorized sellers, and they can also order it by mail.
communicate with gantries installed above sections of the motorway during a
journey. The data is forwarded to the central toll system, where the user of
the device is automatically charged a toll based on the distance driven.
drivers similarly use the Telepass system. “Classic” toll payments are
still available on motorways, which means that when entering the motorway, a
user takes a ticket from a machine, and upon exiting, settles the toll by
paying at the machine; in some places, there are employees in booths collecting
If a driver orders a Telepass device, they can pass by toll booths without stopping, as the barrier opens automatically with the help of communication between the booth and the device. Telepass also operates in France, Spain, and Portugal.
projects as support for the construction, maintenance, and management of motorways
In November, DARS organised the DARS Digital Day conference in Ljubljana, where digital projects that the company uses to maintain and manage the motorway network were presented. Among projects, we find everything from e-vignettes to the management of traffic lights in front of tunnels.
presented five control systems that are set up across Slovenia. They manage
weather stations, tunnel ventilation, and traffic lights as well as the surveillance
cameras set up through tunnels. They communicate via radio communications and
with users via SOS telephones, which are installed along motorways.
storm warning systems are also connected to the control systems. With the help
of sensors that detect the number, type, and speed of vehicles, DARS has
insight into the conditions on the motorways in real-time. This way, they can
quickly find out if a vehicle has driven into the opposite lane.
Cameras in tunnels are also equipped with special sensors that can
detect stopped vehicles and vehicles driving in the opposite direction, as well
as smoke and carbon monoxide.
introduction of digitalisation, motorway maintenance has also been modernized.
The maintainers thus keep a record of events in an electronic book. DARS is
also developing the “Maintainer” application, where it will be
possible to perform certain tasks, such as the report of a traffic accident
vehicles are equipped with GPS signal transmitters, so employees in the control
centres can quickly send them to where maintenance work is needed. The maintenance
worker can also be in constant communication with the control centre from their
special sensors are involved, with the help of which maintenance workers can
make better decisions while in the field. Stationary and mobile weather
stations make work easier, especially during the winter service.
The European C-Roads Platform
One of the most
visionary digital projects is the one developed by DARS within the framework of
the European C-Roads Platform, they explained on their presentation page.
Photo4 New technologies are being tested on motorways that will enable the
arrival of self-driving vehicles. Photo: Getty Images, iStock.
The C-Roads Platform is a joint initiative of European Member States and road operators for testing and implementing cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) services.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) use wireless communication
technologies to enable real-time communication between two or more vehicles,
and between vehicles and infrastructure.
enables much better coordination between road users and enables the creation of
safer and more efficient traffic flows. It is a technology that is key to
allowing the possible introduction of self-driving vehicles into traffic.
of C-ITS will start with less complex use cases. These will include messages
about traffic jams, hazardous locations, road works, and slow or stationary
vehicles, as well as weather information and speed advice to harmonise traffic.
All messages and warnings are transmitted directly into vehicles equipped with
this technology in a way that allows users to get informed, but not distracted.
article is part of joint project of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European
Studies and the Anton Korošec Institute (INAK) Following the path of
digitalization in Slovenia and Europe. This project receives funding from the
European Parliament. The information and views set out in this
article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official
opinion of the European Union institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European
Studies/ Anton Korošec Institute. Organizations mentioned above assume no
responsibility for facts or opinions expressed in this article or any
subsequent use of the information contained therein
The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Anton Korošec Institute. Organizations mentioned above assume no responsibility for facts or opinions expressed in this article or any subsequent use of the information contained therein