[ALIAÉ] – From this November, road hauliers and travellers from neighbouring countries of France wanting to travel from east to west will be able to take the A79, the first motorway in France to use free-flow toll technology. The section crosses the Allier department from east to west, allowing drivers to safely and conveniently join the A6 and A71 motorways over an 88 km toll section. The A79 is the first motorway in France to offer price modulation according to environmental criteria.
The A79 is the motorway section between Sazeret (Allier) and Digoin (Saône-et-Loire) of the RCEA (Central Europe Atlantic Route), a strategic transversal axis for long-haul journeys linking the French Atlantic coast with Germany, Switzerland and Italy via central France. Each day, the route is used by 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles, around 40% of which are heavy goods vehicles. This very high level of HGVs, combined with a road configuration that is now obsolete, has made this one of the most accident-prone road routes in France: 124 people lost their lives between Montmarault and Mâcon between 2008 and 2017. This is why the State decided to construct the A79, entrusting it to ALIAÉ in 2017.
The A79, decreed to be of public interest by the State, offers users a reimagined motorway thanks to the free-flow payment system authorised by the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM) of December 2019. Already in use in Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United States, free-flow technology does away with physical toll barriers, thereby helping to modernise France’s motorway network.
Removing physical barriers brings a number of advantages for both users and the community:
- smoother traffic flow with less risk of traffic jams plus savings in journey times.
- reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Each time it stops at a toll barrier, a heavy goods vehicle consumes one litre of ordinary diesel, which represents CO2 emissions of 3.1 kg (source: ASFA – Association of French Motorway Companies).
- elimination of stress when approaching tolls, resulting in greater safety and comfort.
- less soil artificialisation. The estimated surface area required for a toll barrier is 16 ha.
How it works
Over the 88 km section of the A79, 6 gantries equipped with infrared cameras are able to identify the registration plate and type of vehicle, whatever the weather, automatically triggering the billing process. The software systems for payment on the internet and at “foot terminals” are developed and published in France by ALIAÉ. All the data is hosted in France.
The free-flow identification system is GDPR-compliant and reads registration plates for toll collection and billing purposes only. Personal data is deleted once the transaction has been settled and paid. ALIAÉ only retains the data relating to the transactions, dissociating it from the registration plates. All customers have the right to access and rectify their personal data. A rigorous personal data protection process has been put in place, guaranteed by a DPO (Data Protection Office) and a GDPR contact ALIAÉ.
Everything has been designed to facilitate remote payment: by badge, by “registration plate” subscription, or on a dedicated website (option of paying before or after using the A79).
- Badge: The badge is detected each time the vehicle passes under the gantries and billing is at the month-end; valid on all motorways in France. The customer simply registers their registration plate number and bank details on the website www.aliae.com. The plate is detected on each journey and the toll is collected weekly. According to estimations, the toll badge should concern 90% of heavy goods drivers and 55 to 60% of light vehicle drivers. After using the toll section, the customer has 72 hours to pay by entering their registration plate number.
- Bank card: Payment online at ww.aliae.com
- Charge card: DKV, Shell, Total
- Payment terminal or “foot terminal”: 16 payment terminals available at the rest and service areas of the A79+ motorway. Customers can pay their toll when they stop for a break on their journey.
The A79 is also the first motorway in France to offer price modulation according to environmental criteria – i.e. European emission standards.
Self-financing the project with an investment of EUR 548 M, the Eiffage group has used all its know-how to design, construct and operate the first free-flow motorway: ALIAÉ is the contracting authority and concessionaire of the A79 for a period of 48 years; Eiffage Génie Civil is the representative of the CLEA economic-interest group (EIG), which is responsible for the design and construction of the A79; APRR, entrusted by ALIAÉ with the operation and maintenance of the A79 for the duration of the concession.