What makes toll roads management Unique?
The Addis-Adama Expressway (AAE) is located at the Import-Export corridor of Ethiopia which is the busiest corridor in the country. More high capacity routes will be established along busiest and critical socio-economic corridors by the asset developer, Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA). The Ethiopian Toll Roads Enterprise (ETRE), as asset manager, is mainly mandated to operate and maintain toll roads. Currently, ETRE provides 24/7 toll road service on AAE to more than 20,000 road users daily. Tolling for road service is a new phenomenon ETRE is introducing to Ethiopia. While a reasonable stability is achieved given the circumstances, ETRE is still on a steep learning curve.
Toll road management includes toll transaction management, traffic management, road asset management, environmental management and corporate governance aspects. These management front shave operational and maintenance works at the core. There are underlying looming risks due to traffic flow increase, growing maintenance need of engineering and technology components, and slimmer down-time tolerance to traffic accident /incident management. Hence, ETRE’s learning curve must supersede the growing traffic and entailed risks.
Road users pay for a value added (safe, reliable and efficient mobility) road service. Evidently our customers have high expectations of ETRE. Our customer service must qualify the standards listed in our Customers’ Charter. Every single day new scenarios occur as we operate in a dynamic environment. Changing traffic behavior, changing traffic incidents,changing technological and engineering maintenance needs, and changing weather conditions make the toll road management equation complex.Traffic management, especially on expressways, where relative high speed is permitted increases the accident risk factor significantly. Add the aggressive drivers’ behavior to that, it is multiplied and life is at stake. So, ETRE is expected to provide a forgiving driving environment with “to err is human, to forgive is road” paradigm. It is a moving target – we must stay vigilant 24/7. We need to migrate to new technology solutions that fit the dynamic traffic management demand. How can we migrate without affecting the normal traffic flow? That needs seamless planning and execution. So the daunting task of managing growing O&M risks and customers’ expectations in a nonstop operational environment makes managing toll roads unique and exciting.
ETRE is also responsible to ensure the business viability of developing and managing expressways and high capacity highways as toll roads to cover significant share of investment. Growing revenue generation with alternative business development to widen the revenue base and efficient expenditures using value engineering to our core recurrent expenses for efficiency qualify for business viability.