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38 I N T E R N AT I O N A L P E R S P E C T I V E S O N R O A D P R I C I N G therefore be considered initially rather than at the end of try. Our ETC system uses an active dedicated short-range a project. The implementation of one application, ETC, communications (DSRC) system to carry out each trans- has resulted in a paradigm shift in the toll industry. action. We have found DSRC to be well suited to our Standards and regulations can also significantly needs given its expandability, high reliability, wide com- affect the implementation of technology. Standards may munication area, and efficient use of limited frequency also interact with jurisdiction, since the jurisdictional resources. preference is dependent on each area's historical level ETC can be used at approximately 1,200 toll plazas and nature of investment. throughout Japan. The number of installed OBUs exceeded 1.6 million by the end of October 2003, and 700,000 vehicles use ETC each day. ETC users account ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION IN JAPAN: for approximately 11% of the total traffic volume. ETC A WIDE VARIETY OF TOLLING APPLICATIONS service is scheduled to be available on almost all expressways by the end of this fiscal year. Kuniaki Nakamura and Nihon Doro Kodan Thanks to the capability provided by ETC, Japan is in the midst of experimenting with a variety of road pricing Expressways extend throughout Japan, and all are schemes, including environmental road pricing, special tolled. While the tolls have been helpful in generating pricing for long-distance use, and special pricing for spe- revenue, Japan's ongoing problems with traffic conges- cific sections. Peak-period pricing and continuous-use tion and environmental degradation have prompted discounts are under consideration. These road pricing greater attention to the technologies that can help turn schemes are expected to ease traffic congestion on simple tolls into tools for demand management. ETC is expressways as well as ordinary highways and to pro- a key factor in making congestion-based road pricing mote the use of expressways. We expect that with further feasible. popularization and widespread use of ETC in Japan, The ETC system in Japan uses an onboard unit (OBU) increasingly effective road pricing strategies will be and an integrated circuit card. Although Japan's express- developed and tested in the coming years and that road ways are operated by many public organizations, the pricing will become more prevalent throughout the same OBU can be used on all the expressways in the coun- country.