The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is rolling out automatic number plate recognition cameras at tollgates along the Plumtree-Mutare Highway as part of measures to reduce congestion at the tollgates.
The technology identifies and processes the vehicle tolling class, licensing status and tolling exemption status and will trigger the boom to open automatically for exempted vehicles and those on residential discounts.
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ZINARA technical director Moses Chigonyati confirmed this development, saying the technology was already in use at Norton tollgate and the rollout to other tollgates was already underway. He said:
We are introducing the basic short-range cameras at all the tollgates along the Plumtree-Mutare Highway which will recognise the number plate of an exempted car approaching the tollgate at a speed of 70km per hour.
The long-range cameras recognise cars that will be moving at a speed of 160km per hour so we settled for the short-range camera on the understanding that no motorist will approach a tollgate at a speed of 160km per hour.
Chigonyati said the major advantage of the ANPR system is that toll collectors will no longer go out of the booth to verify if a vehicle is exempted and this will reduce transacting time at the tollgate. He said:
The biggest advantage of this system is that toll collectors will no longer go out of the booth to physically verify if the vehicle is exempted or not and, they do not need to scan an exemption coupon physically on the document scanner. This is going to shorten the transacting time at the tollgate.
There was also the challenge of toll collectors scanning expired exemption coupons due to pressure, but this is going to be a thing of the past because the ANPR system is going to pick this automatically.
He said the system was also going to ease the processing of the ZINARA cards on the Plumtree-Mutare Highway because initially, collectors were inputting the number plates manually.