Toll road

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A toll road (or tollway, turnpike, toll highway or an express toll route) is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll (a fee) for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds. The building or facility in which a toll is collected may be called a toll booth, toll house, toll plaza, toll station, toll bar or toll gate. This building is usually found on either side of a bridge and at exits.


Road tolling concepts

Road tolls were levied traditionally for a specific access (e.g. city) or for a specific infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges). These concepts were widely used until the last century. However, the evolution in technology made it possible to implement road tolling policies based on different concepts. The different charging concepts are designed to suit different requirements regarding purpose of the charge, charging policy, the network to the charge, tariff class differentiation etc.:[1]

Time Based Charges and Access Fees: In a time-based charging regime, a road user has to pay for a given period of time in which he may use the associated infrastructure. For the practically identical access fees, the user pays for the access to a restricted zone for a period or several days.

Motorway and other Infrastructure Tolling: The term tolling is used for charging a well-defined special and comparatively costly infrastructure, like a bridge, a tunnel, a mountain pass, a motorway concession or the whole motorway network of a country. Classically a toll is due when a vehicle passes a tolling station, be it a manual barrier-controlled toll plaza or a free-flow multi-lane station.

Kilometre or Area Charging: In a kilometre or area charging system concept, vehicles are charged per total distance driven in a defined area.


Three systems of toll roads exist: open (with mainline barrier toll plazas); closed (with entry/exit tolls) and all-electronic toll collection (no toll booths, only electronic toll collection gantries at entrances and exits, or at strategic locations on the mainline of the road).

On an open toll system, all vehicles stop at various locations along the highway to pay a toll. While this may save money from the lack of need to construct tolls at every exit, it can cause traffic congestion, and drivers may be able to avoid tolls (shunpiking) by exiting and re-entering the highway.

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