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Germany

Germany Launches Truck Toll System

A new state-of-the-art toll system for trucks using Germany's overcrowded Autobahn or highway network will be go into effect on Jan. 1, 2005 after getting the final green light from the Federal Transport Department on Wednesday. The system, which was developed by the Toll Collect consortium comprising telecommunication giant Deutsche Telekom, auto maker DaimlerChrysler and French motorway operator Cofiroute along side the federal government, was originally scheduled to launch in early 2003, but a series of serious technical glitches sidelined the project forcing it to be delayed for more than a year. After going back to the drawing board and paying a heavy penalty to the government for loss of potential income, the Toll Collect group is now convinced it will be fully operational at the start of the new year. The system works on the basis of a complex communication system which relies on satellites to track trucks via on-board units installed in the vehicles. Infrared detection devices set up along the nation’s highways read the license plates of the trucks and check whether they have been registered with a database. Police also carry out regular spot controls of the vehicles.

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