2. Oktober 2003

[ English ]

Toll Collect

A couple of days ago Rainer Wasserfuhr published an Article about Toll Collect, the project which is supposed to implement the billing system for trucks on German motorways, on the C2-Wiki. I reproduce it here with his permission.

All links point to the nodes in the Wiki and open new browser windows.

Rainer Wasserfuhr hat vor einigen Tagen einen Artikel zu Toll Collect, dem Projekt, das die Autobahnmaut für LKW in Deutschland einführen soll in den C2-Wiki gestellt. Ich veröffentliche ihn hier mit seiner Erlaubnis.

Alle Links zeigen auf Knoten im Wiki und öffnen sich im neuen Fenster.

Toll Collect

Toll Collect will be the toll billing system for trucks on German motorways:


The project is developed by a consortium lead by DaimlerChrysler and Deutsche Telekom with some kind of FixedPriceContract of about 7 AmericanBillion EURO.

TheGovernment of Germany is TheCustomer and the GoldOwner.

The development of the system started in September 2002.
The technology is based on the GlobalPositioningSystem, and a WebApplication for booking truck routes in advance. Trucks will be equipped with EmbeddedSystems called "On Board Units". OBUs are used for positioning, monitoring and billing. Additionally the OBUs have infrared interfaces for communicating with stationary control bridges on the motorways.

It is at least a HundredPersonProject. Since end of 2002 several hundred engineers and programmers worked on the project. Some articles report more than 1000 experts involved in the project.

The rollout was first scheduled for the end of August 2003, but there was NotEnoughTime. TheDeadline was shifted by 2 months. Additional delays can be expected. Perhaps this first deadline was one of some ArtificialDeadlines: The secret contract probably did not include penalties in the case of delays for up to 4 months after the initial deadline.

Currently the ProjectManagers have to justify the project delays on the main TV news. XpInTheNews? It is like a daily StatusMeeting, broadcasted to all German TvWatchers. They can not ReportBugsSilently, because the EndUsers (truck drivers) are ExceptionReporters, speaking directly into to mics of the reporters and BadNewsNeedsToTravelFasterThanGoodNews.

Together with the CEOs of DaimlerChrysler and Deutsche Telekom, the German chancellor has initiated a task force to speed up the progress.

Probably I suffer from TooMuchCynicismTooEarly, but it almost brings me into a MentalStateCalledFlow to imagine the internal details of the project: ProgrammerHell with OverTime and ExtremeFrustration? A DeathMarchProject? WaterfallBudgeting? ThereIsNoSituationSoBadThatYouCantMakeItWorseByPanicking. PeopleDontThinkFasterUnderPressure, even if the GermanChancellorTurnedProjectManager?.

Finally, is Chancellor Schröder covered by the PointyHairedBossTransitiveClosure? Not really: When in 2002 a news agency reported about his hair coloring,
the German Chancellor forced an omission explanation. So, real hair, real colors.

StandardDisclaimer of a ChronicComplainer: I'm just an external observer of this project and ObserversShouldNeverThrowExceptions. --RainerWasserfuhr

See also: MotivateProgrammers, ProgrammingUnderStress

Rainer Wasserfuhr kann auch als Softwareentwickler und Projektmanager gebucht werden. Für wichtige Projekte und Extreme(Project)Management gibt es uns auch im Paket. :-)

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The "Toll Collect" System seems to be the real challenge to all kind of anarchists, trying to sabotage this new system. As I've learned in recent days, some IT-speacialists have cracked the GPS satelite codes and are willing to build jammers that generate false position data. Others have developed "brute-force-jammers" that make it impossible to receive satelite signals. One difficulty for the "Toll Collect" engineers is, that they have to implement measures on their system to detect those attacks. But as we know, software that is beeing changed short before it is completed, is very likely to fail. When "Toll Collect" will finally be started (though this won't be sure), I fear, there will be many surprises and we are garanteed for never ending stories about technical failures.

Wolf-Günter Gfrörer am 07.10.03 11:16 #