Using Ethereum Blockchain Technology for Road Toll Collection on Highways

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Abstract
In recent decades, blockchain has emerged as one of the popular technologies in recently and it has the ability to make a revolution in the intelligent transportation system. Moreover, the use of vehicular networks and electric vehicles with blockchain are making their way in the public transport. Intelligent vehicles do communication with each other through Internet. Data sharing is important as it encourages more collaboration among the involved participants. So, in order to do secure data sharing in vehicular networks, we require a decentralized mechanism which is scalable and secured. Our work focuses on the smart road toll collection system for vehicular networks. Previously, the collection of road toll is done either manually or by using tools like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) which is being used in many countries for the automated toll collection. In this paper, we are using blockchain technology for automated toll collection in the intelligent transportation system. It is a secure and more reliable technology than the previous tools and technologies. With the use of blockchain, we can implement a intelligent and decentralized mechanism for collection of the toll's fee. We have developed a model which uses smart contracts in blockchain for the payment of toll fee. Also, our work focuses on the better distribution of traffic on highways by diverting the traffic on highways with lower traffic. Moreover, blockchain also keep the transactions track for every vehicle that passes from the toll.
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Using Ethereum Blockchain Technology for
Road Toll Collection on Highways
This work is submitted as major assignment for the fulfilment of the graduate course, “Research
Methodology in Information Technology (RMIT) - Spring 2019” to Dr. Nadeem Javaid
(www.njavaid.com).
(In future, ONLY Corresponding author can submit this work as partial or full in any conference or
journal.)
Hasnain Tanveer, Nadeem Javaid
Department of Computer Science,
COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
* Correspondence: nadeemjavaidqau@gmail.com, www.njavaid.com
Abstract—In recent decades, blockchain has emerged as one
of the popular technologies in recently and it has the ability
to make a revolution in the intelligent transportation system.
Moreover, the use of vehicular networks and electric vehicles
with blockchain are making their way in the public transport.
Intelligent vehicles do communication with each other through
Internet. Data sharing is important as it encourages more
collaboration among the involved participants. So, in order to
do secure data sharing in vehicular networks, we require a
decentralized mechanism which is scalable and secured. Our
work focuses on the smart road toll collection system for vehicular
networks. Previously, the collection of road toll is done either
manually or by using tools like Radio Frequency Identification
(RFID) which is being used in many countries for the automated
toll collection. In this paper, we are using blockchain technology
for automated toll collection in the intelligent transportation
system. It is a secure and more reliable technology than the
previous tools and technologies. With the use of blockchain, we
can implement a intelligent and decentralized mechanism for
collection of the toll’s fee. We have developed a model which
uses smart contracts in blockchain for the payment of toll fee.
Also, our work focuses on the better distribution of traffic on
highways by diverting the traffic on highways with lower traffic.
Moreover, blockchain also keep the transactions track for every
vehicle that passes from the toll.
Index Terms—Internet of Vehicles; Iinternet of things; Intelli-
gent Transport System; Smart City; Blockchain; Incentive Mech-
anism; Fleet Management System; Gas Consumption; Privacy;
Security; Decentralized Storage.
I. INTRODUCTION
Bitcoin is the first blockchain based digital cryptocurrency
was published in 2008 [1]. As the popularity of bitcoin has
increased rapidly in recent years, there have been a lot of
development in it and research on the blockchain technology is
also growing quickly. Recently, a rapid development has been
seen in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and blockchain technol-
ogy by which a large amount of traffic which is handled. Also,
the vehicles are more autonomous than before and they have
various computing devices installed in them [2], [3]. On the
highways, there are now greater number of vehicles than in
the past [2]. So, manually managing the traffic on toll plazas
is no longer easy now. Therefore, the transportation authorities
which are using centralized management systems are required
to make these systems more secure and scalable due to the in-
crease in traffic. Moreover, significant challenges will be faced
by the traditional centralized management systems due to the
extreme traffic on highways. That is why, decentralization
is required for a more secure and computationally powerful
system.
In a decentralized approach, blockchain technology is
proved helpful for solving trust issues. Smart contracts have
been implemented in [4] which is one of the major con-
tributions of blockchain technology. This application is for
distributed computing and relies on the blockchain platform.
Vehicles that are being manufactured today are more efficient
and they contain more advanced electronic control units and a
communication network which interconnects them with each
other. These latest vehicles can also be locked or unlocked
remotely and can park themselves autonomously. Moreover,
these vehicles can auto-drive and it is just a matter of time
until there are a huge number of autonomous vehicles on the
highways. We need security for the vehicles as they contain
mini computing devices and safety protocols can be created
for the vehicles. Ad-hoc networks are used for vehicle com-
munication in intelligent transportation system. These include
cellular network and dedicated short range communication
[5]. They do not guarantee the data transmission in a secure
way. A secure blockchain technology for intelligent vehicles
communication is proposed in [6]. The data which is being
generated by each of the vehicle is stored and verified using
blockchain. Moreover, a concept of the intelligent vehicle trust
point is introduced in [7] which creates a trusted environment
among the vehicles in a network while maintaining the privacy.
There is a vehicle to vehicle communication which is peer to
peer and provides a trusted and secure environment for data
communication between the vehicles [7].
In the above-mentioned works [2], [3], [4], [6], [7],
blockchain technology is used for decentralization of data in
the intelligent transportation systems. However, no solution
has mentioned smart road toll collection using blockchain
technology. Collection of tolls by a toll plaza is an important
aspect to be considered when we talk about any transporta-
tion system. For automated toll collection, Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) technology [8] is implemented in many
countries. Using this technology, a driver has to top up the
card inside a vehicle using his debit or credit card and later
cards also deduct service charges of between 2-3% depending
upon the issuing companies. However, there is no secured
mechanism for toll collection. So, our work focuses on the
implementation of blockchain technology using the smart
contracts to track the transactions of every vehicle which is
passing from the toll. Using the traditional centralized system,
having smart toll system is very expensive and computationally
demanding.
A. Motivation
A secure blockchain technology is proposed in [9] for
communication of intelligent vehicles which is used to keep
the record of data and its verification using blockchain. In
order to exchange the data, blockchain technology is a public
ledger which is completely distributed. The details of every
transaction is contained in the blockchain [1]. The works
in [10] and [11] have discussed the use of a centralized
sever for collection, calculation and storing the values of trust
regarding each vehicle in the network. The centralized server
is considered to be a completely trustable entity and cannot be
maliciously attacked. A mechanism considering the reputation
and privacy issues is mentioned in [12] where the tasks
regarding aggregation, behavior evaluation and reputation are
performed collectively on every vehicle. For preserving the
privacy of vehicle, the adoption of a partially blind signature
takes place. In order to manage the data in a decentralized way,
blockchain is being given a lot of attention. The work in [13]
focuses on the decentralized storage of data using encryption
along with blockchain techniques in order to handle client’s
fraudulent behavior. In the proposed system, the information
related to files is stored in the blockchain and fair judgments
is provided for search and storage.
B. Problem Statement
Ad-hoc networks are used for vehicle communication in
the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) and it does guarantee a
secured transmission of the data [14]. The vehicle communi-
cation protocols are based on standard information technology
and cellular security mechanisms. These are not suitable for
applications of ITS as they are not up-to-date. Collection of
tolls by a toll plaza is an important aspect to be considered
when we talk about any transportation system. For automated
collection of tolls, RFID technology has been implemented in
many countries. Using this technology, a driver has to top up
the card inside a vehicle using his debit or credit card and later
cards also deduct service charges of between 2-3% depending
upon the issuing companies.
II. RE LATE D WORK
At present, the use of blockchain in various fields for decen-
tralization of data is increasing. By incorporating blockchain
technology in different applications, we can make sure that the
data is secured and its privacy is maintained properlycannot
be compromised easily. An adaptive aggressive scheme is
used and compared with another zero intelligence plus [16]
technique. Another example of implementation of blockchain
for developing trust is with low range wide area networks
mentioned in [17]. Blockchain is used for an open and
decentralized system while providing a mechanism for verifi-
cation of transactions within the network. In [17], blockchain
has been introduced in the network servers. A blockchain
based consensus scheme for the verification of authenticity
of channel state information in device to device cellular
networks has been proposed in [18]. For network optimization
in service-oriented applications, user access control is focused
in the paper. An algorithm has been developed in order to
improve the spectral efficiency and reduce the convergence
time. Moreover, convolutional neural networks are also used
for the prediction of channel state information. To tackle
the communication issues for sharing vehicular data among
intelligent vehicles, blockchain has been used by the authors
in [19]. The challenges related to validation, authentication
and trust have been kept in focus by the authors and a
new algorithm in blockchain have been introduced. Moreover,
a concept of intelligent vehicle trust point has also been
introduced in which the trustworthiness of each vehicle is
calculated. Moreover, a decentralized management system for
vehicular networks has been proposed in [20] which is based
on blockchain. There is rating mechanism which generates
and give rating to every vehicle in the network based on the
credible messages they have sent. Also, each vehicle has a trust
value showing its credibility which is aggregated in the road
side unit. A distributed consensus mechanism is used by each
road side unit. A consistent and reliable database is maintained
by all the road side units working together. For the delivery
of innovative services in fifth generation networks, one of the
promising approaches is multi domain networking.
In the paper [21], the authors have discussed the use of
blockchain for offering decentralized applications which can
provide potential solutions for the multi domain services in
standard development organizations. The experiments per-
formed were based on proof of concept implementation. The
authors in [24] have discussed the use of blockchain with
respect to managing scalable access of Internet of Things
(IoT). They also used proof of concept architecture for the
implementation of access management system for IoT. The
credentials for accessing the resources are stored in the
blockchain globally.
Technique Problems
Addressed
Contribution Simulation
Environment
Limitation Work Focus
LoRa and
LoRaWAN [17]
Wide area networks
face security and
trust issues while
having low network
coverage
Quality and uninter-
rupted services are
provided and using
blockchain for en-
hancing the commu-
nication
Not
mentioned.
An
architectural
design is
proposed in
the paper
No guarantee of the trust
of network operators
Internet
of things,
LoRaWAN
Blockchain consen-
sus scheme [18]
Verification of user
access control in CSI
and optimization of
cellular network and
secured user access
control
CSI authenticity of
every user in the net-
work and securing
the data intensive ap-
plications
Matlab Slow among wireless
users and optimization is
required
Device
to device
networks,
User access
control
Local dynamic
blockchain [19]
No guarantee of
secured transmission
of data in ITS and
its applications are
not up to date
Solved issues
regarding
authentication,
trust and validation
using blockchain in
ITS and handling
large number of
messages
Pygame
python
library
Incentive based mecha-
nism
Intelligent ve-
hicles
Network coding [27] Tackled the storage
bloating using net-
work coding
Framework for
network coding
based distributed
storage and
analysis done
based on storage
room, bandwidth,
consensus speed and
scalability
Not
mentioned
Securing of the com-
putational resources and
data inconsistency need
to be discussed.
Network
coding,
Distributed
storage
5G 25 Discussion of
feasibility aspects
of deploying
blockchain based
5G decentralized
applications
Using blockchain
and 5G to create
decentralized
applications for
multi administrative
domain services
Not
mentioned
Not mentioned Blockchain
and 5G based
decentralized
applications
DACs and IoT [28] High deployment
costs in IoT
and information
exchange in E-
business models
Proposed an E-
business architecture
for IoT to do trading
and proposed IoT
coin
Ethereum
smart contract
and solidity
There is no mechanism
for paid data and the se-
curity of DACs is not
considered in the pro-
posed architecture
IoT
Green Proof of
Collaboration (PoC)
[29]
In collaborative edge
devices, there is dis-
trust of data sharing
and server vulnera-
bility due to high la-
tency
Used blockchain
to ensure the
trust among the
edge devices and
proposed and
express transaction
for network
efficiency and big
data sharing in the
network utilizing the
network resources
efficiently
RaspberryPi 2 The aspect of designing
the proposed model in a
green and efficient man-
ner is not discussed
Consensus
mechanism
Technique Problems
Addressed
Contribution Simulation
Environment
Limitation Work Focus
Merkle Root [30] Deployment of
blockchain in
Internet of vehicles
Data security
and management
regarding internet of
vehicles
Matlab Lack in network perfor-
mance
Internet of ve-
hicles
Smart pay and smart
share [31]
Network structure,
privacy and security
of vehicular
network improved
and worked on
computational
capacity issues
Operations are dis-
tributed and manage-
ment of service con-
tent is done. More-
over, secured asset
and data sharing is
provided
No
simulations
were
performed
Costs incurred in the ve-
hicular network and its
management
Vehicular net-
work
Hyperledger fabric
[32]
Breaking the data
barriers and develop-
ing trust among mo-
bile network opera-
tors
Blockchain based
artificially intelligent
network operations
and smart contracts
for data permissions
Hyperledger
fabric
and smart
contracts
The system is platform
independent and any
blockchain using smart
contracts will support it
Data sharing
Bootstrapping [11] Resource sharing in
the IoT devices
and server
failure requires
a decentralized
solution
Using blockchain in
IoT for managing ac-
cess control and re-
sources
Eclipse
Wakamaa and
Leshan
For a single manage-
ment hub, the system
does not perform well
Access
management
in IoT
Etherium and solid-
ity [33]
A mechanism is re-
quired for sharing
of research data and
forcing the terms and
conditions of pub-
lished research
Using smart
contracts and
blockchain for
managing and
sharing research data
and enforcing the
rights for its reuse
Etherium and
solidity
System is recording
participation from
researchers only but
not from publishers and
repositories.
Research data
sharing
Decentralized energy
trading [34]
A system which is
based on blockchain
for efficient and ef-
fective in terms of
energy trading
Using blockchain to
provide an energy
trading system which
is more secure and
cost effective
Not
mentioned
Security issues not con-
sidered
Energy trad-
ing
Digital Access Rules
[25]
Patient interoperabil-
ity in healthcare or-
ganizations
Optimizing interop-
erability of clinical
health records and
limiting the use and
access of patient data
Not
mentioned
Scaling of blockchain as
data is increased and its
privacy and security
Blockchain
for healthcare
PoW scheme [35] A hybrid architec-
ture is required for
smart city network
which uses both cen-
tralized and decen-
tralized mechanisms
Blockchain and
software defined
network hybrid
technique is
proposed.
It is more secure and
reliable for creating a
sustainable network
in smart city
Public
Ethereum
blockchain
Need to make edge
nodes more efficient
and there is no caching
technique
Smart city
network
Technique Problems
Addressed
Contribution Simulation
Environment
Limitation Work Focus
Joint PoW and PoS
[20]
Malicious vehicle
and evaluation
of vehicles
trustworthiness
in the network
Using blockchain
with vehicular
network for trust
management. PoW
and PoS mechanism
for vehicular trust
database
Matlab Privacy preservation of
the vehicles in the sys-
tem is not considered
Vehicular net-
work
SURVIVOR [36] Management of
electric vehicles
energy requirement
and power
fluctuations
Blockchain based
software defined
network enabled
system and dynamic
network policies.
Managed energy
trading between
electric vehicles and
charging stations
using blockchain
Not
mentioned
Decreased network la-
tency
Electric
vehicles
energy
trading
Non dominated sort-
ing genetic algorithm
[37]
Problem of demand
and supply of
electricity to hybrid
electric vehicle, their
waiting time and
driving speed
Consortium
blockchain based
optimal scheduling
algorithm for
charging scenarios
and management of
electricity requests
by electric vehicles.
Non dominated sort-
ing genetic algorithm
for optimization
Not
mentioned
Limited service range Electric vehi-
cle charging
PoWaP [38] Decentralized
crowdsensing
platform
Crowdsensing
system for gathering
traffic information,
blockchain
technology
and incentive
mechanism and
PoWaP consensus
mechanism
Blockchain
simulator
written by
authors
System scalability and
security aspects are not
considered
Crowdsensing
for traffic
information
PoW and PoS [39] Vehicular networks
demand a
decentralized trust
system
Blockchain based
trust management
system for vehicles
and banning
malicious vehicles
for a temporary time
period
OMNeT++
with
crypto++
library
Not Specified 5G vehicular
ad-hoc
networks
Furthermore, blockchain is incorporated in healthcare
records facilitating the patient drive interoperability in [25].
There is discussion of high-level framework which has been
provided by the blockchain implementation so that a patient
can securely interact with the healthcare organizations. One
of the practical limitations discussed by the authors is the
implementation of scalable blockchain in order to facilitate
clinic’s transactional records. Moreover, introducing incentives
in the system will allow the providers and patients to shift
towards the patient centric interoperability.
In the paper [27], the authors have proposed a framework
to resolve the bloating problem by using a distributed storage
system based on network coding and blockchain. They have
considered the viewpoints of storage, space, bandwidth and
scalability of the system. In [29], the authors have developed
a blockchain framework for the sharing of big in collaborative
edges. The challenges that arise due to different properties
of edge computing are considered in detail. A new green
consensus mechanism has been deployed in the edges which
is called proof of collaboration. Whereas in the paper [30], the
authors have studied the use of blockchain and its integration
with internet of vehicles. The aspects of data security and
its management regarding internet of vehicles are considered
in paper but the performance of the system lacked behind
for network optimization. In [31], the authors have proposed
an architecture for vehicular networks which is based on the
blockchain and studied communication among vehicles. They
have discussed the network structure and the privacy and
security of vehicles in it. The techniques discussed in this
paper are smart pay and smart share.
A data sharing framework is proposed in [32] which is based
on blockchain and smart contracts. It is used for enhancing the
security and access control for artificially intelligent network
operations. Hyperledger Fabric is being used in the proposed
system. In [33], the authors have proposed a method for
sharing the research data. It is overseen by authors of the
respective published research that how the related data is
being re-used and accessed. Smart contracts are employed
in the system for recording the data and enforcing the rules
and regulations under which the published research data is
being used. The system is not recording participation of
publishers and repositories. For the smart city network the
authors have proposed a hybrid architecture in [35] which
uses both blockchain and software defined networking. They
have also discussed the challenges for creating a sustainable
network architecture for a smart city. Moreover, a proof of
work scheme in introduced which is based on Argon2 and it
is used for a secure distributed network in the smart city. In
[20], the authors have used blockchain with vehicular networks
to develop a trust management system which is decentralized.
Moreover, Joint proof of work and proof of stake mechanisms
are used for trust management values and addition of the block.
In [36], the authors have proposed a system model based on
software defined networks which works as edge as a service
platform. This system is following open flow protocol to create
network policies which are dynamic and distributed. The
service platform provides many utility functions for the trading
of energy between electric vehicles and charging stations in
an environment using vehicle to grid and software defined
network. Moreover, a blockchain consensus mechanism is
proposed to secure the energy transactions which are taking
place in a distributed environment. The network latency of the
presented nodes is decreased in the system. In [37], the authors
have used a consortium blockchain and an optimal charging
scheduling algorithm is proposed for the charging of hybrid
electric vehicles. Moreover, electricity requests of the electric
vehicles and supply are managed. Mobile charging vehicles
optimization model is introduced which is based on scheduling
algorithm and blockchain. The drawback of the system is the
limited service range for mobile charging vehicles. In [38], the
authors have proposed a crowdsensing system for information
gathering which is related to traffic. Moreover, they have
also incentivized the system using blockchain technology and
deployed roadside beacons for collecting vehicle’s data. The
issue of scalability still remain unsolved. In [39], a blockchain
based trust management system is proposed by the authors.
Whenever a video regarding an event is uploaded by the
vehicle, it will also upload the condition tag which is then used
for information broadcasting. Moreover, proof of work and
proof of stake mechanisms are also used in the system while
eliminating the malicious broadcasted information. Malicious
vehicles are banned temporarily while maintaining the privacy
and a centralized blockchain authentication mechanism is
introduced in the system. In [40], a security-based model for
remote attestation using blockchain for privacy preserving is
introduced. It is a first work in remote attestation model and
its basic architecture. Credible authentication of every user’s
identity is focused using blockchain. Moreover, a vehicle to
everything scenario is presented in the paper. The proposed
model satisfies the requirements of security as it is decentral-
ized.
Table I shows the techniques of the papers mentioned in
related work.
III. PROP OS ED SY ST EM MO DE L
Fig. 1 presents the model of our system. In an ITS, one of
the important aspects is collection of road toll. To implement
automated toll collection, RFID is being used in many
countries. Each vehicle has a RFID device which is installed
in the vehicle when it is purchased. The identification is
linked to the central database of the regulatory authority.
The driver has to top up a cash card and the use it after
inserting it into the device present in the vehicle. When
a driver top ups the card, he has to pay additional fees
to the issuing authorities of the credit or debit card he
is using. We need to cut off the intermediate additional
fees which the driver pays to credit or debit companies.
When a vehicle is passed from a toll plaza, the amount is
automatically deducted using ethereum blockchain. Road
side units are responsible for sharing vehicle data to the
transport authority. For all the vehicles passing from the toll
plaza, the blockchain system will keep track record of all
the transactions. The driver will make deposit to his personal
account inside a smart contract. The account of driver is
automatically debited whenever the vehicle passes from a
toll plaza on the highway. This works very much like a cash
system, however it is without a credit or debit card. Moreover,
the user can check the toll fee at any time using the smart
contract. Fig. 2 shows a simple mechanism of a smart contract-
based transaction to collect the toll by transportation authority.
Fig. 1: Proposed system model for smart road toll using
blockchain
IV. RES ULT S AN D DISCUSSION
Fig. 3 shows the Irish toll data statistics for year 2019
[41]. It includes monthly traffic and Electronic Toll Collection
(ETC) tag data of M50 eFlow toll plazas in Ireland. During
January there was a total of 4.30M trips and 68.1 percent of
those trips were electronic tag trips (2.93M). For the month
of February, there was a total of 4.12M trips and 68.1 percent
of those trips were electronic tag trips (2.81M). Finally, for
the month of March, there was a total of 4.56M trips and 66.8
percent of those trips were electronic tag trips (3.05M).
The toll cost of for motor cars and public transportation
vehicles is C2.10 [42] and there are total 30 vehicles. Then
the total cost to be payable at one toll plaza of M50 is shown
in Fig. 4. The total cost payable by 30 vehicles is C63. Using
credit or debit card for top up and additional 3% charges are
taken by the card issuing companies then the total cost of these
30 vehicles will add up to C64.89 which is C1.89 more. Using
the smart contract-based toll collection, this C1.89 will not be
deducted thus reducing the cost of the drivers. Each driver
can save the additional 3% cost which is equal to C0.063 and
is payable to debit or credit card issuing authorities. As in
Figure 3, millions of vehicles are paying toll per month and
the additional costs will also be in millions when doing top up
to the cards. So, using the blockchain based smart contracts,
these additional costs would be saved thus giving huge money
saving to the regular drivers who are using M50 motorway.
Fig. 3: Irish toll data statistics for year 2019
Fig. 4: Amount payable to transportation authority
V. CONCLUSION
New and ideal models are being proposed every year in the
field of vehicular communication for intelligent transportation
system. In the paper, a solution for the toll fee collection
is presented and better distribution of traffic on highways in
the intelligent transportation system. Previously, toll is being
collected either by humans or using RFID which is automated.
As thousands of vehicles pass from the tolls on highways on
a daily basis, a secure and reliable mechanism is required to
manage the toll collection. We present a blockchain technology
which is permission less and keep track of all the vehicular
transactions which are passing from the toll. Smart contracts
are used for implementing the fee-paying mechanism and
it is more reliable than the cash cards because these can
be lost at any time. An incentive-based mechanism can be
Fig. 2: A simple model of an ethereum transaction
introduced in addition to the smart contracts in future studies
for more reliable and controlled management of vehicles on
the highways.
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