Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) is a technology that allows for electronic payment of tolls. Please also see Congestion Pricing for further information on ETC and Congestion Pricing.
An ETC system is able to determine if a car is registered in a toll payment program, alerts enforcers of toll payment violations, and debits the participating account. With ETC, these transactions can be performed while vehicles travel at near highway cruising speed. ETC is fast becoming a globally accepted method of toll collection, a trend greatly aided by the growth of interoperable ETC technologies.
The Rationale for Electronic Toll Collection
ETC systems are an improvement over conventional toll collection techniques. Some of the benefits for drivers include:
- fewer and shorter queues at toll plazas by increasing toll booth service rates;
- faster and more efficient service—the customer does not need to stop or have toll fees on hand;
- the ability to pay by keeping a balance on the customer’s account or charging a registered credit card;
- mailed toll statements—the customer no longer has to request a receipt.
Some of the benefits for toll operators include:
- lowered toll collection costs;
- better audit control by centralized user accounts;
- expanded capacity without being required to build more infrastructure.
For everyone, some of the benefits of ETC include:
- fuel savings;
- reduced mobile emissions by reducing or eliminating deceleration, waiting times, and acceleration;
- possible reduced drain on public monies, if the system is more self-sustaining or if the system was built/run via a public-private partnership arrangement.
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) is used in cordoned urban areas, over bridges, in tunnels, in High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, on toll roads, or through turnpikes. Toll charges are generally based on mileage, maintenance requirements, or congestion levels.
Until recent years most ETC systems were based on using radio devices in vehicles that would use proprietary protocols to identify a vehicle as it passed under a gantry over the roadway. More recently there has been a move to standardize ETC protocols around the Dedicated Short Range Communications protocol that has been promoted for vehicle safety by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, ERTICO and ITS Japan. (Wikipedia)
Whilst communication frequencies and standards do differ around the world there has been a trend toward vehicle infrastructure integration (VII) around the 5.9GHz frequency (802.11.x WAVE).
A toll collection system can be either open or closed (cordoned). Most current cordoned area pricing schemes use ETC. This closed system requires all entrances and exits to have either manual tollbooths or an ETC system. Nearly all manual toll systems have converted to an ETC system. For example, the cordoned toll area in Singapore, which was first implemented in 1975, has substituted its manual toll collection system with ETC points.
In an open toll system, such as a toll road, toll stations are located along the facility. Around 70% of the toll roads in the United States now use ETC.
Toll lanes for a facility with an ETC system may by operated in several ways. Lanes may accept ETC-only payment, manual-toll-only payment, or either form of payment. See our Telecommunications Diagram on ETC for more information. An ETC system typically includes four components:
- Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI)
- Automatic Vehicle Classification (AVC)
- Transaction Processing
- Violation Enforcement
Automatic vehicle identification (AVI) entails the use of electronic radio frequency tags installed in the vehicle. The tags either passively or actively communicate with roadside readers to identify vehicle ownership. Once ownership is determined, the toll cost can be deducted from the corresponding account.
Traditionally, tolls have been differentiated by vehicle class. Automatic vehicle classification (AVC) technologies installed in the roadway can determine a vehicle’s class by its physical attributes. Transaction processing is the process of debiting customers’ accounts and answering customer inquiries. There are several methods used for violation enforcement, including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. Highway patrol officers are usually posted by unmanned toll booths, acting as a visible, and effective, violation deterrent.
The four components are somewhat independent, and various toll agencies have contracted out functions separately. In some cases, this division of functions has resulted in difficulties. In one notable example, the New Jersey E-ZPass regional consortium's violation enforcement contractor did not have access to the violation processing contractor's database of customers. This, together with installation problems in the AVI system, led to many customers receiving erroneous violation notices incurring high levels of customer dissatisfaction. The contractor’s violation system’s net income, after expenses, was negative. (Wikipedia, citation below)
The technologies used in ETC systems are described briefly below.
|Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) Technologies:
The automatic vehicle identification (AVI) component of an electronic toll collection (ETC) system determines vehicle ownership for charging purposes.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI)
Current ETC systems use radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and transponders to automatically identify vehicles.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags. In ETC, these systems are sometimes simply referred to as transponders. Common RFID tags are stickers with an approximately .5 millimeter silicon chip and a small, flexible antenna. They rely on radio frequency waves to communicate with an electronic reader or antennae. The antenna transmits the information to the lane controller, which then sends the data to the host for processing. (See ETC Diagram) In ETC, RFID tags offer a contact-less technology and can be read through various environment conditions
RFID technology has been around since World War II and passive RFID tags are often used as anti-theft devices in stores. RFID tags that can gather and store information are somewhat controversial because of the potential to abusively gather information on people and invade privacy.
RFID tags in ETC systems can be passive or active. Active RFID tags are often used in large-scale ETC systems like Fastrak in California and throughout the Northeastern United States. Passive tags are much less expensive than active RFID tags. They are being used in Georgia, Texas, and certain developing nations.
Active RFID tags use an internal power source, such as a battery, and have the following characteristics:
- On-board transmitter
- Greater range but higher cost
- Requires less power from reader
- Finite life
Passive RFID tags are powered by energy from the reader and have the following characteristics:
- Backscatter technology
- Smaller, Lighter, less expensive
- Almost unlimited life
- Shorter range
- Requires higher power from reader
Active RFID transponders consist of an integrated circuit attached to an antenna, typically a small coil of wires, plus some protective packaging.
In passive ETC systems, the lack of an onboard power supply means that the device can be quite small: commercially available products exist that can be embedded in a sticker. See the companies section for more information on companies who supply Passive RFID tags for ETC.
Passive RFID tags may become even less expensive. The average cost of a current RFID tag is 50 cents. Fluidic Self-Assembly, a method in which multiple chips are poured into a slurry, then shaken and assembled into a substrate, affixed to plastic, then cut out. In 2002, his Morgan Hill, Calif., company Alien Technology applied FSA, originally invented by Smith to integrate lasers onto silicon, to the manufacture of RFID tags. With FSA, Alien can currently product 2,000,000 tags per hour for about 20 cents eac , with the price expected to drop to 5 cents in three years. (http://www.citris-uc.org/publications/newsletter/february2005#feature2%20)
The Basics on RFID and ETC
In electronic toll collection (ETC), an RFID transponder in the vehicle communicates with an antenna at the toll gate via dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a type of radio frequency waves. Active RFID transponders have proved to have excellent accuracy and can be read at highway speeds. The major disadvantage of using active RFID transponders in ETC is the cost of equipping each vehicle with a transponder. This can be a major start-up expense, if paid by the toll agency, or a strong customer deterrent, if paid by the customer. Below is a summary of general RFID transponder information.
- Active RFID Transponders can be read-only or read-write. Read-write transponders allow information to be sent back to and stored on the transponder (e.g., the last time that the transponder was read).
- Nonbattery transponders use radio wave energy to “bounce” information back to the reader. Nonbattery transponders have an “official” life of 15 years but could theoretically last forever.
- Active RFID transponders have generally been packaged in small plastic cases that are generally mounted with Velcro strips to the windshield of a vehicle. The case is required for the internal electronics and batteries.
- Recently, ETC providers have been introducing nonbattery-powered transponders that are packaged as stickers (or decals), which are applied to the windshield of a vehicle.
- Transponders used for high-speed toll collection can range in cost from $10.00 to $40.00 apiece. Most battery powered transponders used for toll collection application range from $20.00 to $35.00 per unit. The sticker tags cost approximately $10.00 per unit. (Washington State Comprehensive Tolling Study, reference below)
- Recently, policy considerations have suggested that vehicles that generate reduced emissions should pay reduced tolls. The identification of “green” vehicles can be accomplished through the use of RFID transponders.
While RFID transponders have many common features, the deployment of five different DSRC protocols for electronic toll collection in the United States have significant impact on interoperability. These deployments are generally geographically separated with limited need for interoperability initially. However, the lack of interoperability among these AVI technologies has been recognized as a significant problem.
Accordingly, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has commissioned a consortium of the major transponder manufacturers to develop a national DSRC standard. The device is being built around a newly allocated radio frequency (5.9 GHz) and the specific requirements of DSRC for transportation applications. The new DSRC transponder should be available for testing in early 2006, with a deployment decision by the U.S. DOT and the automotive industry expected in 2008. The new transponders could be part of new vehicles shortly after 2010. This means that it will take until at least 20 years for transponders to be incorporated into all U.S. autos, since it takes approximately 15 years for the entire America car fleet to turn over.
Roadside antenna (ETC roadside radio device)
1) These devices are installed at tollgate lanes where ETC can be used. They communicate by radio with the on-board equipment installed in vehicles passing through ETC lanes.
2) Roadside antennas are connected to computers for toll calculation. The tolls are calculated by these computers.
The basic process for ETC with Active RFID transponders is as follows:
1. As the vehicle enters the toll lane, sensors detect the vehicle’s presence (see Figure A).
2. A transponder mounted on the vehicle’s windshield transmits the tag status which is read by an electronic reader or antenna.
3. The antenna transmits the information to the lane controller, which then sends the data to the host for processing.
4. The corresponding customer account is charged. If the vehicle does not have a transponder, or a corresponding customer account cannot be identified, the system classifies the vehicle as a violator and cameras photograph the vehicle and its license plate.
Generally, tolls are differentiated by vehicle class. A vehicle’s class can be determined by the physical attributes of the vehicle, the number of occupants in the vehicle, the vehicle’s emissions, and the purpose for which the vehicle is being used at the time of classification (or some combination of these determinants). Some toll agencies use as many as 15 or more vehicle classes to assess tolls, although for ETC applications, four or five classes are more typical.
To classify a vehicle, a variety of vehicle sensors are used. Treadles count the number of axles as a vehicle passes over them. Light-curtains and laser profilers record the shape of the vehicle, which can help distinguish trucks and trailers. Advanced Inductive Loop sensors embedded in the road surface can determine length, speed, and number of axles of vehicles at highway speeds.
Many locations offer reduced fees to high occupancy vehicles (HOV’s). There are a few companies working on technology that quickly and accurately reads the number of people per vehicle. See Ridesharing for more information.
“Vehicle Telematics Systems” refers to the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, also known as Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Telematics have been applied specifically to the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology.
Vehicle telematics systems may be used for a number of purposes, including collecting road tolls and managing road usage. ETC systems may use GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) technology to reduce infrastructure costs and to facilitate regional tolling variations such as pollution-tax for highly polluted areas.
GPS-BASED TOLL SYSTEM/ GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems)
Installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) allows a vehicle to locate itself within a given charge area or network. The on-board unit contains the appropriate charging structure, as well as information concerning when the vehicle should be charged. Charges are applied using the position information provided by the GPS system. The charge can either be deducted directly from a smart card located in the on-board unit or stored for later uploading and charging against the customers account or billing the customer.
Charged corridors can be defined around specific zones in urban or rural areas where all vehicles (or specific categories) using the roadway will be subject to charges. The cost of the on-board units is estimated at between $200 and $400, depending on the level of sophistication of the device.
A few toll facilities cover a very wide area, making fixed toll gates impractical. The most notable of these is a truck tolling system in Germany. This system instead uses Global Positioning System location information to identify when a vehicle is located on a tolled Autobahn. Implementation of this system turned out to be far lengthier and more costly than expected. (See German Case Study.)
Vehicle location pricing technology is also being used for truck tolling systems in Switzerland. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is conducting a demonstration of value pricing using this approach. The intent of this pilot project is to determine traveler response to value pricing and the effect of pricing on traveler decision making, and to help identify a potential path towards implementation. This technical approach is better suited to regional pricing applications as opposed to facility-based tolling. (Washington State Comprehensive Tolling Study, reference below)
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR)
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is sometimes known by various other terms: automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), automatic vehicle identification (AVI), car plate recognition (CPR), license plate recognition (LPR), or electronic number plate (ENP) recognition.
ANPR is used for ETC enforcement as well as identification-for-tolling purposes.
ANPR uses optical character recognition (OCR) on to read images taken of vehicle license plates. The cameras used can include existing road-rule enforcement or closed-circuit television cameras as well as mobile units which are usually attached to vehicles. Some systems use infrared cameras to take a clearer image of the plates.
Some license plate arrangements use variations in font sizes and positioning – ANPR systems must be able to cope with such differences in order to be truly effective. More complicated systems can cope with international variants, though many programs are individually tailored to each country. Overall, there is an error rate that makes human oversight necessary. (Wikipedia, citation below)
As of 2006, systems can scan number plates at around one per second on cars traveling up to 100 mph (160 km/h). They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of electronic toll collection on pay-per-use roads, and monitoring traffic activity such as red light adherence in an intersection.
ANPR for Violation Enforcement
Automated number plate recognition (ANPR) technology is used for enforcement with cameras that capture pictures of license plates of vehicles that fail to relay a usable tag ID. Information regarding the owners of such vehicles is obtained from the State’s vehicle registry. The major problem with ANPR is some inaccuracies that require manual verification. Inaccuracies may be due to lack of plate standards, dirty and damaged plates, incorrect plate mounting, differences in vehicle design and plate position, and ambiguity/similarity in letters/numbers (e.g. London VES errors arose from the similarity of letter O and number 0).
ANPR to Avoid the Need for Transponders
Most ETC systems that used ANPR to avoid the need for transponders have converted. Still, the 407 ETR near Toronto is a good example of an ETC system that relies heavily on ANPR for charging non-transponder-account holders.
Here, a system of cameras captures images of vehicles passing through tolled areas, and the image of the number plate is extracted and used to identify the vehicle. This allows customers to use the facility without any advance interaction with the toll agency. The Canadian system charges around $2.00 per ANPR-incurred charge. (Note: If you drive just 4 round trips per year on 407 ETR, then the total cost of a transponder is less than incurring the tolls charged via ANPR.)
The disadvantage is that fully automatic recognition has a significant error rate, leading to billing errors and the cost of transaction processing (which requires locating and corresponding with the customer) can be significant. Systems that incorporate a manual review stage have much lower error rates, but require a continuing staffing expense.
ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the license plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver. Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of day. A powerful flash is included in at least one version of the intersection-monitoring cameras, serving to both illuminate the picture and make the offender aware of his or her mistake. ANPR technology tends to be region specific, owing to plate variation from place to place.
Concerns about these systems have centered on privacy fears of government tracking citizens' movements and media reports of misidentification and high error rates. However, as they have developed, the systems have become much more accurate and reliable.
There are a number of possible difficulties that the software must be able to cope with. These include:
- Poor image resolution, usually because the plate is too far away but sometimes resulting from the use of a low-quality camera.
- Blurry images, particularly motion blur
- Poor lighting and low contrast due to overexposure, reflection or shadows
- An object obscuring (part of) the plate, quite often a tow bar, or dirt on the plate
- A different font, popular for vanity plates (some countries do not allow such plates, eliminating the problem)
- Circumvention techniques
Blurry images make OCR difficult – ANPR systems should have fast shutter speeds to avoid motion blur.
To avoid blurring it is ideal to have the shutter speed of a dedicated camera set to 1/1000th of a second. Because the car is moving, slower speeds could result in an image which is too blurred to read using the OCR software, especially if the camera is much higher up than the vehicle. In slow-moving traffic, or when the camera is at a lower level and the vehicle is at an angle approaching the camera, the shutter speed does not need to be so fast. Shutter speeds of 1/500 can cope with traffic moving up to 40 mph (64 km/h) and 1/250 up to 5 mph (8 km/h).
On some cars, towbars may obscure one or two characters of the license plate. Bikes on bike racks can also obscure the number plate, though in some countries and jurisdictions, such as New South Wales, "bike plates" are supposed to be fitted.
ANPR Circumvention techniques
Vehicle owners have used a variety of techniques in an attempt to evade ANPR systems and road-rule enforcement cameras in general. One method increases the reflective properties of the lettering and makes it more likely that the system will be unable to locate the plate or produce a high enough level of contrast to be able to read it. This is typically done by using a plate cover or a spray, though claims regarding the effectiveness of the latter are disputed. In most jurisdictions, the covers are illegal and covered under existing laws, while in most countries there is no law to disallow the use of the sprays.
Closed-circuit television cameras such as these can be used to take the images scanned by automatic number plate recognition systems
Closed-circuit television cameras such as these can be used to take the images scanned by automatic number plate recognition systems. (Wikipedia, citation below)
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to provide for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), either at the lane or as a back office function.
Market Demand Studies and Consumer Surveys: Motorist Acceptance of ETC Market demand studies and/or consumer surveys have been conducted to measure motorist acceptance of ETC systems, as well as their preferred ETC system characteristics. These studies typically research how demand for ETC varies with system characteristics or with user characteristics. The former includes payment and account renewal methods, transponder cost or rental fees, transponder location (in the vehicle), and even toll plaza configurations. Users are usually characterized by differences in their trip purpose or trip frequencies.
Findings show that motorists who travel frequently on the toll facility are more likely to express interest in ETC. High trip frequencies (five or more times a week) are typical of work commuters, who comprise the most likely market for ETC applications. Commercial vehicle operators, who may travel several times a week over the same facility, are also a large potential market of ETC users. In their case, however, the decision to subscribe to ETC is made by the employing company, not the driver, and lack of standardization across different ETC systems appears to hinder their acceptance.
Systems that do not allow post-payment of tolls or credit-card –linked accounts usually allow payment at the toll station by methods other than ETC. Two alternatives to this practice were implemented in Toronto (Highway 407) and Melbourne (City Link) respectively. In Toronto, enforcement cameras take pictures of the license plates of vehicles not equipped with a transponder; the picture is used to identify the owner of the vehicle, who is then issued a bill. In Melbourne, casual users need to buy a day pass before entering the toll road. Vehicles holding day passes do not have a physical card but rather are included in an electronic list of vehicles which may enter the facility without transponders.
In terms of system cost and payment renewal options, the results are also intuitive. In general, the more limited the number of payment options, the lower the participation rate. Moreover, as users are charged for a transponder deposit, annual rental fees, and/or per-transaction costs, participation declines.
Treatment of Visitors
Toll technology experts indicate that enforcement is usually not easy if both ETC users and non-users use the same corridor. This is a valid concern since visitors (drivers) to the system may not have readable transponders. One option is to let visitors drive for free. This would require the system to keep track of such vehicles (via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) so that fines are not pursued.
Ideally, visitors would be required to purchase a ‘day pass’ to use the priced corridors. Melbourne, Australia’s CityLink program has a similar daily pass option for its users (CityLink, 2004). Visitors would be asked for their vehicle license plate information on purchase of a day pass (which could be bought online or at a roadside store, as in London’s cordon toll application). Vehicles without transponders, which use the priced corridors, would be detected by ANPR. And vehicles tied to a purchased ‘day pass’ would be removed from the violator list at day’s end. (http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB05CBCP.pdf)
Toll Lane Capacity
- Vehicles equipped with ETC require less time than all other vehicles to conduct a toll transaction. Thus the average service rate of a mixed toll lane is generally higher than a manual lane, depending on the proportion of tagged vehicles in a mixed-use lane.
- When exclusive ETC lanes are provided, the total number of vehicles serviced by all of the toll lanes is higher than it is when all lanes are mixed.
Vehicle Waiting Times
- An increase in a toll lane service rate causes a decrease in the average waiting time of vehicles at the toll plaza.
- Electronic toll collection saves New Jersey Turnpike travelers 2.1 million hours each year; reduces fuel wasted at toll stations.Analysis of traffic conditions at 27 toll stations on the New Jersey Turnpike indicated E-ZPass electronic toll collection saves cars and trucks about 1.8 million and 291,000 hours of travel time, respectively, each year. Reduced congestion was estimated to save 1.2 million gallons of fuel each year, save money, and reduce emissions.
Reduction of Vehicle Emissions
- Vehicle emissions are reduced because vehicle speeds through the toll plaza are increased and accelerations and decelerations reduced. A typical vehicle speed profile at a toll plaza shows vehicles decelerating as they approach the end of the queue (or the toll booth) to almost zero speed, and then accelerating to prevailing highway speeds after exiting the booths. With ETC, vehicles will decelerate to higher speeds, or may not decelerate at all.
- The implementation of E-Z Pass at the New Jersey Turnpike in September 2000 reduced fuel consumption by 1.2 million gallons per year (i.e. due to reduced queuing). Estimates of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions have been reduced by 0.35 tons per weekday with 80 percent of the reduction resulting from improved light-duty vehicle performance. Estimates of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions have been reduced by 0.056 tons per weekday with 58 percent of the reduction resulting from improved heavy-duty vehicle performance.
Reduction of Toll User Costs
- ETC can potentially reduce the cost of processing toll transactions. When E-Z Pass was implemented at the New Jersey Turnpike in September 2000, delays at toll plazas were greatly reduced. This resulted in user costs of $19.0 million per year for passenger cars and $6.1 million per year for trucks, making a total annual saving of $25.1 million.
Simplified Infrastructure and Accounting System
- ETC requires far less roadside infrastructure than manual tollbooths.
- By automating toll collection and vehicle counting, ETC simplifies the accounting system as well as the allocation of revenue between peak and non-peak hours.
Vehicle Positioning Systems (VPS)/Global Positioning Systems (GPS) require less infrastructure
- GPS-based ETC systems have notable advantages over standard dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) systems. One advantage is that road infrastructure, which can be expensive and often infeasible due to space constraints, is no longer needed. Another advantage is that vehicle positioning systems offer greater flexibility in defining or changing payment systems. ETC often needs alterations when changes in traffic or land-use patterns occur; with traditional ETC systems, this would require actual changes in ETC road infrastructure. However, with a GPS-based system, this could be readily done by redefining the "virtual" toll areas. The main disadvantages of GPS-based systems are its higher costs of implementation.
Wireless communications have greater data capabilities
- Various forms of wireless communications technologies have been proposed for intelligent transportation systems. Short-range communications (less than 500 yards) can be accomplished using IEEE 802.11 protocols or the Dedicated Short Range Communications standard being promoted by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the United States Department of Transportation. Theoretically the range of these protocols can be extended using Mobile ad-hoc networks or Mesh networking.
- Longer range communications has been proposed using infrastructure networks such as WiMAX (IEEE 802.16), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or 3G. Long-range communications using these methods is well established, but unlike the short-range protocols these methods require extensive and very expensive infrastructure deployment. There is lack of consensus as to what business model should support this infrastructure. (wikipedia)
Toll Agency Costs
- Cost per transaction of an ETC system: from $0.05 to $0.10. In comparison, the cost per transaction in a manual collection system is approximately $0.086. Cost projections estimated for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority indicates that a full ETC interchange can cost as little as one-quarter to one-fifth the cost of a conventional cash toll interchange. While a conventional interchange requires 25 full-time employees (assuming four toll booths), at a cost of up to one-third of the toll collection revenue, the ETC option would require only one maintenance person and account support (ITS International, 1997).
- ETC users are usually required to purchase, rent, or place a deposit on the in-vehicle equipment. Some providers offer transponders free of charge.
The cost of a transponder varies between $15 and $50. Systems sometimes charge a deposit for a transponder. ETC systems may also charge rental fees. Additional out-of-pocket costs may include a per-transaction cost and/or service fees. Most systems require a minimum initial deposit of $20 or more on the user's account, if the user does not register a credit card. If a credit card is registered for automatic deposit, there are minimal (if any) user costs in the realm of user charges and transaction fees.
ANPR Processing for Toll Evaders – see ANPR section
Payment enforcement can be labor intensive. Payment enforcement methods can depend on the payment options available at the toll lane and on whether tollgates are used. Video cameras are installed to photograph the license plates of vehicles that evade payment on lanes without tollgates and on ETC-only lanes. Violation pictures are often reviewed manually. License plates are identified and checked against the toll agency or department of vehicle registration records in order to identify the owner of the vehicle.
Legal and Technical Criteria for Payment Enforcement
The payment enforcement system must meet legal and technical criteria. The legal criteria include all state legal procedural and record keeping requirements as well as those related to admissibility of evidence in court (i.e. in case tickets are contested). The technical requirements are related to the accuracy of the violation detection and notice issuance system. This accuracy is expressed in terms of the number of violations issued in error for every 100,000 issued violations. The ITS America ETTM (Electronic Toll Collection and Traffic Management) Task Force recommends a maximum of 3 per 100,000, with a desirable goal of 1 per 100,000. Field tests in Singapore resulted in 100% charging accuracy and 100% assignment of fraud vehicles, estimated over 7,700 transactions. It would appear that this magnitude of sample size is not large enough to statistically ensure that the system is operating at the required level of accuracy, however more information is needed to be able to state this conclusively.
Automatic Vehicle Classification (AVC)
The in-road sensors used to classify vehicles at tollbooths require extensive infrastructure. Recent developments in automatic vehicle classification may lead to electronic smart tags that can transmit a user’s account information as well as their vehicle’s class. Although not yet widely implemented, these tags could greatly simplify the classification process.
To speed up the classification process, toll agencies usually collapse their vehicle classification system into at most four to ten classes. Contrary to this practice, the California Department of Transportation chose to request a system able to classify vehicles into its existing 17 classes. The chosen ETC provider failed to achieved the accuracy specified for the automatic vehicle classification system (99.95%), and as a result has needed to redesign and retest its technology, postponing the opening of ETC on the San Francisco Bay Area bridges by several months.
Although wireless communication is becoming the preferred mode of data transmission, it still has its limitations. For the most part, currently available ITS wireless information transmission services suffer limitations with respect to data capability, coverage, and interoperability.
One of the most frequently voiced concerns over ETC systems is the user privacy issue. Planners have been concerned that the general public would reject ETC for fear of having their movements recorded by the government. By and large this appears to not be a problem for existing systems. In fact, user surveys show that motorists prefer methods of payment that are not anonymous, such as credit cards. However, this should not be construed as meaning that patrons are indifferent to having information about their travel released. Toll agencies find that they still have to protect themselves, and their patrons, against unauthorized use of account information. Besides ensuring the security of all data transfers, toll agencies find it useful to draft legislation prohibiting the use of patron travel information for purposes other than toll collection and enforcement.
The deployment of ETC is well established in North America and overseas. The E-ZPass Program, under the Interagency Group in the eastern part of the United States, involves over 20 separate toll agencies and 11 million transponders. The FasTrak Program in California has over 1.25 million transponders and is statewide. Out of this experience, key customer service expectations have been identified based upon experience at other toll facilities, and market research, including surveys and focus groups.
Customer Service Expectations:
- One “Gizmo” – Only one on-board device (i.e., transponder) would be required in the customer’s vehicle for electronic toll collection payment;
- One Number – A single customer service telephone number would be available for all tolling customer inquiries; and
- One Statement – A consolidated statement would be provided to the customer for all activity at all tolling facilities.
Interoperability issues are in play at several levels. At the transponder level, a customer can use the same physical transponder on all of the interoperable facilities, but the customer must set up a separate account with each agency or facility. This approach is used for electronic weigh station bypass programs, where trucks are equipped with the same transponder, but must register for the program that is used by a specific state. For example, the program in Washington State uses the same transponder for the program in California, but the trucker must be registered with both programs.
Peer-to-Peer interoperability means that separate customer service centers are maintained by agencies that have agreed that they will exchange transactions and account files so that the customer has only one transponder and one account. However, for transaction and violation inquiries, customers may be required to deal with separate customer service centers, depending on the facility that they used. The E-ZPass Program, which extends from Maine to Virginia with over 20 separate toll agencies and 11 million transponders, is an excellent example of the successful implementation of a Peer-to-Peer approach.
Consolidated Operations is the ultimate form of interoperability. It establishes a single customer service organization where there is one account, one system, and one point of contact. The single consolidated operations approach has evolved in many areas, because of the potential cost savings and the provision of consolidated customer service. A recent example is the consolidation of systems and customer service centers in the San Francisco Bay Area from two to one. (Washington State Comprehensive Tolling Study, reference below)
Deployment in Existing Plazas
Most current applications of ETC involve retrofitting manual or automatic coin machine toll lanes with new ETC equipment. Besides managing traffic disruptions during the reconstruction phase, toll authorities need to decide how to introduce ETC within their current toll plaza configuration. Labor issues should also be considered when implementing ETC on an existing toll facility. Union contracts need to be renegotiated as the number of available jobs decreases and as job descriptions change. Although not necessarily opposed to the installation of ETC technologies, unions will try to protect their turf.
Increasingly, countries are looking at public-private partnerships to implement ITS projects.
Political opposition in United States’ states such as Washington and Arizona makes the privatization of toll roads across the United States far from assured in the near term. Private enterprises must contend with considerable hurdles before receiving construction approval. Operators report that some of the highest costs of an ETC project can result during preconstruction phases. Tasks such as lobbying for passage of privatization legislation, acquiring land, raising investment capital, and conducting detailed environmental studies can cost of millions of dollars over several years.
Funding Issues: Trailblazers
Decades ago, European governments began looking toward the private sector for help, and Spain in the 1960s had private concessionaires built its autopista network. France followed with private autoroute concessions in the 1970s. Typically, these concessionaires were consortia made up of construction firms and banks. That basic arrangement is being used in the United States today.
Funding Issues: Public-Private Partnerships
In the 1980s, the United Kingdom became the leading proponent of PPPs in Europe. In 1981, the Conservative government issued the so-called Riley Rule, which provided for private-sector involvement in transportation infrastructure development when the benefits of doing so exceeded costs.
The Thatcher government adopted the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in 1992 as the preferred approach for developing infrastructure of all types for the British government.
Funding Issues: Shadow Toll
The PFI ushered in the “shadow toll” approach. Under shadow toll, the public- sector project sponsor pays “tolls” to the private concessionaire based on the performance of the facility, often measured in terms of traffic flow, safety, and availability. Drivers themselves do not pay tolls. The major advantage of shadow toll to the private concessionaire relates to traffic risk. By not requiring drivers to pay tolls, their choice of which route to use is based entirely on time and convenience, and is much easier to predict. The downside of this approach is that a payment cap limits the profit that the concessionaire can make in the franchise. For the government, the benefits include speeding up project delivery, bypassing the need to obtain government funding in future budget cycles, and incenting the concessionaire to achieve high performance. A total of 10 DBFO shadow toll projects involving more than 480 miles of roads and a construction value of about $2 billion were awarded by the British Highways Agency.
Other European nations such as Finland and Spain emulated the British approach. But shadow toll is a cumbersome approach that requires a lot of traffic data. The British, Finish, and Spanish projects all involved upgrades of existing assets, whose traffic data already existed This problem was made evident when Portugal wanted to use shadow toll for 7 new road projects costing 2.7 billion Euros. The sheer size of the investment program rendered the approach infeasible. In addition, the experiment would have overwhelmed the budget of the Junta Autónoma de Estradas (the Portuguese highway agency) when an annual outlay of $700 million would have been required for shadow toll payments.
The availability payment approach can be viewed as the simplified form of shadow toll. Like shadow toll, the public sponsor of a facility pays the private concessionaire; users of the facility do not. But unlike shadow toll, availability payment does not require large volume of information to determine performance. This simplification has made availability payment the preferred approach for new concessions in which the public sponsor, rather than users, of the facility pays. In the United States, the freight tunnel to the Port of Miami is the most recent example of this approach. http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=51
See “Orange County congestion pricing” case study for one example of private-public partnership in the United States.
See below Case studies on France and Chicago for ETC Public Private Partnership Information.
Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Czech Republic
- Austria - Videomaut for motorways and expressways in Austria subject to special tolls - http://www.videomaut.at/
- Austria - go-maut for the national Autobahn network in Austria
- Germany - LKW-MAUT for trucks on Autobahns, Germany
- Italy - TELEPASS on Autostrade motorways in Italy
- France - Télépéage usually branded liber-t on French motorways (run by the Federation of French Motorway Companies)(ASFA).
- Czech Republic – premid for trucks on highways (2007)
United Kingdom and Ireland
- Ireland - Eazy Pass on national toll roads in Ireland
- United Kingdom - DART-tag for the Dartford Crossing
- United Kingdom - London congestion charge in London
- United Kingdom - Fast tag Mersey tunnels: Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel
- United Kingdom - M6 Toll tag in the Midlands
- United Kingdom - Severn TAG for the Severn Bridge crossing and Second Severn Crossing
- United Kingdom - Tamar Bridge planned for 2006
- Norway – AutoPASS in most of the country - http://www.autopass.no/om_autopass/english.stm
- BroBizz for the Øresund and Great Belt bridges in Denmark/Sweden
- Sweden - Stockholm congestion tax in Stockholm
Rest of Europe
- Portugal - Via Verde (all tolls) - http://www.viaverde.pt/ViaVerde/vPT/
- Turkey - OGS
- Slovenia – ABC - http://www.popabc.si/?lang=2
- Spain - VIA-Tor Telepeaje
- Southern Ontario - 407 ETR - http://www.407etr.com/
- IAVE in all the highways operated by Caminos y Puentes Federales
- (CAPUFE) - http://www.bajabound.com/before/driving/iave.php
- São Paulo, Brazil - Sem Parar / Via Fácil - http://www.viafacil.com.br/index.php?siter=SP
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Onda Livre for the Rio-Niterói Bridge
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Passe Expresso for the Yellow Line
- Santiago,Chile - Autopista Central
- Santiago,Chile - Autopista Vespucio Sur
- Santiago,Chile - Autopista Vespucio Norte Express
- Santiago,Chile - Costanera Norte
- Free Flow, aka Televía or TAG
- Brisbane, Queensland - Gateway Motorway
- Brisbane, Queensland - Logan Motorway
- Brisbane, Queensland - North-South Bypass Tunnel or RiverCity Motorway
- Melbourne, Victoria - CityLink - http://www.citylink.com.au/;
- Sydney, New South Wales - Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel
- Sydney, New South Wales - Eastern Distributor
- Sydney, New South Wales - M2 Motorway
- Sydney, New South Wales - M4 Motorway, in
- Sydney, New South Wales - M5 Motorway
- Sydney, New South Wales - M7 Motorway
- Sydney, New South Wales - Cross City Tunnel
- Sydney, New South Wales (Under Construction) - Lane Cove Tunnel
- Melbourne Victoria (Under Construction) Eastlink
Further Information on Selected locations (as listed)
Europe and a compatible ETC system
Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Czech Republic, Portugal
Austria - 2004
Germany – 2005 - includes company and technology information
Italy - 1998
France – 1993; includes private-public partnership information
Czech Republic – 2007
Portugal - 1991
United Kingdom and Ireland
United Kingdom – 2003
Norway – 1987
Sweden - 2006
Canada - 1997
E-ZPass in the U.S. Northeast
Fastrak in California –1993
Florida – 1998
Georgia - 1993
New Jersey - 2000
Illinois - 2006
Puerto Rico – 2004
Central and South America
Argentina - 2006
Colombia – 2002
Chile – Santiago - 2004
Jamaica – 2006
Singapore - 1998
Japan - 2001
Hong Kong - 1998
China - implementation dates unknown
Europe and a compatible ETC system
The European Commission (EC), part of the European Union, is currently studying the creation of a trans-nationally compatible electronic toll system throughout the continent. There are many difficulties associated with this potential implementation.
The EC's target is for all vehicles to be equipped with an ETC box, linked to a standard contract for the owner/operator. At the end of each billing period, a single invoice would be issued, covering journeys through any of the member states.
Europe already has a poor record on the interoperability of ETC services between different countries. Each nation has hitherto developed its own system for toll collection, with at present (January 2007) only one example of cross-border co-operation. A future single contract and invoice system would have to take into account the split between public and private toll operators and the national differences in areas such as tariffs, sales tax and legislation.
As well as the contractual problems, the technical aspect of standardization also presents major difficulties. At present, four principle technologies are in use or under development:-
- Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR, used for enforcing the London congestion charge)
- Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC, the most widespread system, used for automatic payment on toll motorways, bridges and tunnels)
- Satellite tracking/positioning (GSM/GPS, adopted in Germany for truck tolls and under consideration in the UK and the Netherlands for road charging)
It has taken 10 years for the ETC industry to reach agreement on a European standard for DSRC, but even now this standard is incompatible with the system currently used by around four million Italian drivers. The issue of DSRSC interoperability with other technologies, such as GSM/GPS is also only at the research stage.
A GSM/GPS system for road charging has been made a long-term government target in the UK, with implementation from around 2015. This technology is the only ETC system that can also potentially support telematics services, including the e-call provision that the EC would like to see introduced for all new cars from around 2010.
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) schemes are widely deployed across Europe to the extent that all Western European countries either have an operational system or they have one in the planning stages.
The situation varies from country to country, however. For example, Belgium has a single ETC-enabled tunnel whilst Switzerland has implemented a distance-based toll for trucks that covers every road in the country. The situation is further complicated by the varying technologies and standards that have been adopted in each country. Europe’s ETC systems are typically optional and provide convenience benefits to the driver and efficiency improvements to the toll operators. A small number of countries have implemented mandatory ETC systems; in the UK, a Congestion Charging scheme for all vehicles in central London and in Austria, a national truck tolling system.
Excerpted from: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/300409/an_introduction_to_electronic_toll.htm
The European Union (EU) and a European ETC Interoperable System
The first major issue is technical interoperability. Existing motorway ETC systems make use of Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) between fixed roadside equipment and vehicles. Another type of system is based on satellite location (Global Navigation Satellite System) (GNSS) and mobile telephone technology (GSM).
The first step towards interoperability should be the definition of a common minimum level of functionality to enable authorized subscribers to pay fees using the same method of payment and the same equipment anywhere on the network of operators belonging to the system.
The second major issue is contractual interoperability. The existence of interoperable equipment needs to be accompanied by contractual agreements between infrastructure operators. The same concept of a common minimum level of functionality should therefore be applied.
In this context, EU projects need to involve closer cooperation with operators on the definition of a minimum common functionality taking into account, as a first priority, cross border traffic of heavy goods vehicles and long distance coaches. The definition of a minimum common functionality should form the basis for a draft agreement between operators wishing to achieve interoperability.
European and national standardization bodies should, for their part, finalize work on the standardization of the DSRC link and other systems such as those that use satellite location and cellular telephone communication.
A very important issue is the treatment of "non-equipped users", that is, drivers who have no equipment and those who have equipment which is not compatible with the system in the motorway concession area in which they are traveling. Each country should be free to implement its own choice of options for the treatment of non-equipped users, according to its particular national characteristics, in particular those of the road network and traffic.
As for the issue of classification, a common set of vehicle characteristics needs to be agreed which can be used for classification, as electronic fee collection systems need to recognize vehicle categories in order to apply the tariff for the use of the tolled road.
As a consequence, a common set of declared parameters needs to be defined during negotiations between operators. (Activities of the European Union - Summaries of legislation http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l24214.htm)
Summary of ETC Systems throughout Europe:
- 5,8 GHzDSRC based systems with:
–CEN standard: France, Spain, Austria, Portugal
- GNSS/CN (Satellite + cellular network) system in Germany (Toll Collect)
- GNSS + tachygraph & DSRC … : Switzerland (LSVA system).
- Video-based: London
New projects: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland,
All users of Austrian motorways and expressways are obliged to pay toll.
Road-Tax Disc and Go-Box
Vehicles with a total weight of no more than 3.5 metric tones require a road-tax disc (Vignette), which was introduced in 1997, vehicles in excess of 3.5 metric tones require an OBU for the Go-Box electronic toll collection system. The road-tax disc and the Go-Box cover most of the Austrian motorways and expressways.
For certain parts of the Austrian motorways and expressways, no road-tax disc is required. These parts are subject to special tolls (Sondermaut) because they are particularly costly to build and maintain. Special tolls were first collected in Austria on 03 June 1964 when the privately operated carrier Brennerautobahn AG commenced operations on the Brenner motorway. Special tolls can either be paid in cash or with a credit card, or, if that system is available for the given route, using the Videomaut system.
The Videomaut System
Videomaut is available on the following routes:
- A9 Pyhrn Motorway (Pyhrnautobahn), between Spital/Pyhrn and Ardning and between St. Michael and Übelbach, toll plaza of Bosruck
- A10 Tauern Motorway (Tauernautobahn), between Flachau and Rennweg, toll plaza of St. Michael i.L.
- A13 Brenner Motorway (Brennerautobahn), between Brenner Pass and Schönberg, toll plaza of Schönberg
To use Videomaut, the user must buy a Videomaut ticket, either online or in person at an ASFINAG customer service centre or authorized point of sale. The route, number of travels, and the number plate of the car to be used must be specified. A Videomaut ticket is valid for one year from the date it is issued.
When approaching a toll plaza, the user must select the lane marked Videomaut and travel no faster than 15 km/h while in the Videomaut lane. The car's number plate is read and identified automatically, and the vehicle is allowed to pass. If the number plate cannot be read, or no valid Videomaut ticket is associated with the number plate, the user is directed into a regular toll lane and must show a copy of the receipt for the Videomaut ticket as proof of purchase to the toll cashier.
The toll cashier verifies the validity of the ticket and allows the vehicle to continue or directs the driver to pay the special toll incurred if the ticket is invalid or has expired.
Videomaut is available only to cars which do not exceed a width of 2.3 meters and a total weight of 3.5 metric tons, and which do not pull a trailer.
Fees and Discounts
Videomaut tickets can be bought for a single or multiple passages or an unlimited number of passages for one year from the date the ticket is issued. Discounts are available to
- drivers holding road-tax discs that are valid for one year,
- military and alternative civilian service members, and
- drivers with disabilities.
January 2005 a new toll system was introduced on the 12,000km of German autobahn for all trucks with a maximum weight of 12t and above. The new toll system, called LKW-MAUT, is a governmental tax for trucks based on the distance driven in kilometers, number of axles and the emission category of the truck (the average charge will be €0.12 per kilometer). The tax is levied for all trucks using German autobahns, whether they are full or empty.
The toll system is not based on toll booths or plazas on the highways themselves but instead will work via several methods: On Board Units (OBU), manual payment terminals and via the internet.
OBUs work via GPS and the on-board odometer or tachograph as a back-up to determine how far the lorries have traveled by reference to a digital map and GSM to authorize the payment of the toll via a wireless link.
Manual payment is available for those vehicles not equipped with an OBU; there will be over 3,500 toll payment terminals at motorway service stations or rest areas where drivers can enter the details of their journey and pay the toll in advance (only in Euros if it is cash, or by using a credit card or oil company/fuel card) and receive a ticket receipt.
For those drivers who would like to pay the toll well in advance there is also the option of paying via the Internet.
Nearly 80 percent of Germany's commercial vehicle users subscribed to Toll Collect's system within two months of its implementation on the 1st of January 2005. Indicative of its rapid adoption rate, revenue generation surged from EUR 200 million in January to EUR 250 million in February.
Following its successful launch in Germany, the United Kingdom and Netherlands are also considering adopting VPS-based systems for heavy vehicle road user charging. Several central and eastern European countries are conducting feasibility studies for VPS implementation.
In addition to 300 toll checker gantries strategically located throughout the country, Toll Enforcement will also rely on mobile patrols, consisting of a fleet of 300 vehicles with 540 officers of the Federal Office of Freight (BAG). The officers will patrol the autobahns, checking vehicles and drivers to see if they have paid the toll or have the OBU installed (these vehicles will be equipped with an infrared short range DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) system that can be used to scan and monitor trucks in motion). The BAG will have police powers to request trucks to stop for examination at any point during their journey.
The autobahn system will also have a 300 gantries equipped with IR detection equipment and high resolution cameras able to pick out trucks via profiling (and record number plates). These send a DSRC signal to a DSRC transponder (which are part of the OBU) in the lorry to check on the accuracy of the GPS as a back-up and also alert BAG officers to toll violations.
The OBU will also be able to work with the new Galileo satellite system for positioning (fully operational 2008) which is being developed in Europe as a more accurate alternative to GPS. As of January 2005 over 300,000 vehicles had been fitted with OBUs but the target for the end of the year is well over 500,000.
Business Implementation Information
The toll system will be fully functional from the start, with no restrictions. The automatic section of the system will be activated in two stages (phases): software version 1.0 has a digital map of the toll road network and the fee parameters. As of January 2005, the map and fee parameters cannot be updated via the wireless GSM mobile telecommunications. However, foreseeable changes in the toll network have been pre-programmed into version 1.0 and will become effective as required on the appointed date. In the course of regular workshop visits, e.g. for servicing inspections, the OBU software will be updated to version 2.0 by January 2006. This version will guarantee that the digital map and the fee tariffs are constantly updatable.
Contractors and suppliers in Germany
Deutsche Telecom is the controlling shareholder and operations managers for the project while T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom, are the general contractors with responsibility for system construction, fixed-line infrastructure and programming. T-Mobile and Vodafone are handling the GSM mobile communications section of the project.
Siemens have been given the responsibility as technical project coordinators for the OBU version 2.0 software. The toll payment terminals were supplied by Hoeft Wessel AG of Hanover (contract value estimated at €87 million) and NCR (National Cash Register) of the USA. Grundig (DIN slot mounted type) and Siemens (on dash board type) are the two suppliers for the OBUs. The OBUs use a GPS system manufactured by Navman NZ of New Zealand in conjunction with Unitronic of Germany, using a Rockwell Conexant design (contract worth $40 million). The OBU also uses a GSM wireless unit supplied by Wavecom of France. There are 1,850 authorized installer and servicing companies for the OBUs in Germany and surrounding countries. VITRONIC of Wiesbaden, Germany, were given complete responsibility for the enforcement of the tolling system and provided the 300 gantries, located nationwide, for the system.
www.autostrade.it (web site of the motorway operator Autostrade S.p.A.)
www.telepass.it (web site for the Telepass system)
Telepass is the brand name for an electronic toll collection system used to collect toll (pedaggio) on motorways (autostrade) in Italy operated by Autostrade per l'Italia S.p.A., its affiliates, and other legal entities. The system was introduced in 1989.
There are three main Telepass implementations:
- Telepass Family, which can be used with a current or a credit card account,
- Telepass with ViaCard, which can be used with a ViaCard toll charge card linked to a current or credit card account,
- Telepass Ricaricabile, which does not require a current or credit card account.
Telepass can be used for all types of vehicles which can travel on Italian motorways. Telepass consists of an On-Board Unit (OBU) mounted at the top of the vehicle's windscreen. The OBU is battery-powered. Telepass Family and Telepass with ViaCard OBUs need to be replaced after approx. three years. Telepass Ricaricabile OBUs have user-replaceable batteries. The OBUs communicate with the electronic toll booths by dedicated short-range communications.
Telepass is used on motorways in the open and the closed systems. Toll in the open system consists of a flat fee charged for the use of a motorway or a part thereof, regardless of the distance traveled. Toll in the closed system is charged depending on the distance. In both systems, the toll varies according to the type of vehicle (car, bus, lorry etc.) and to the upkeep for the motorway.
Telepass is currently available on most motorway entries and exits. At large toll stations, like the Brenner Pass station, all lanes, including lanes supervised by toll cashiers (esattori), are equipped for Telepass use, at smaller stations, there are special Telepass-only lanes and lanes for Telepass and ViaCard use (porta bimodale or porta multimodale).
Telepass Ricaricabile (rechargeable) was introduced in March 2006 in the Naples area in southern Italy. It is currently being tested for reliability and is eventually to be available on all Italian motorways which support Telepass family. For Telepass Ricaricabile, the user is required to make pre-payments in person, by phone or on-line. No current or credit card accounts are required, and Telepass Ricaricabile is therefore of special interest to foreign visitors. Telepass Ricaricabile uses an OBU different from the other Telepass versions.
Eligibility for the use of Telepass
Telepass Family is open to any user with an approved Italian credit card or current account; Telepass with ViaCard is open to all ViaCard holders. Telepass Ricaricabile is open to any user. For all three implementations, the user need not be a citizen or resident of Italy, and the vehicle need not have Italian number plates.
The quarterly service charge for Telepass Family and Telepass with ViaCard is EUR 3.10 plus Italian VAT. If the toll incurred in a quarter exceeds EUR 258.23, the service charge is EUR 3.10 plus VAT per month. The initial service charge for Telepass Ricaricabile is EUR 55.00 plus Italian VAT. There are no discounts on tolls for Telepass users.
Telepass users must use lanes designated with the Telepass logo and travel no faster than 30 km/h when in the Telepass lane. Once the OBU has been identified and verified, the OBU emits a single high beep, and the barrier blocking the lane is lifted. When the user exits the toll lane, the OBU emits a second single high beep. A series of three high beeps indicates the OBU's battery is nearing exhaustion and the OBU or its battery should be replaced. A low beep indicates the OBU has not been able to communicate with the toll station, was identified as blocked, or, in case of Telepass Ricaricabile, does not have sufficient funds left to pay for the toll incurred. In all these cases, the barrier remains closed, and the user must signal the toll station supervisor by pressing the red Help (Assistenza) button. The number plate is then photographed, and the vehicle allowed continuing. The vehicle is subsequently identified by its number plate, and the owner is sent a bill for the toll which could not be collected automatically.
In case no Telepass lanes are available when entering the motorway, the user is issued an entry ticket and must insert that ticket upon exiting the motorway through a multimode lane capable of handling Telepass and ViaCard (porta bimodale or porta multimodale). In such a multimode lane, the toll will be charged automatically by the OBU once the ticket has been inserted, in cashier-only lanes, the toll cashier will manually conclude the transaction and have the toll charged to the user's account.
The toll collection and billing systems of all motorway operators in Italy have been interoperating automatically since 1988. Since that time, a driver needs to pay toll only once when exiting the motorway, even if the journey has spanned motorways operated by different carriers.
Overview of important Toll-related regulations
Backing up in front of a toll station, backing out of a toll lane, and leaving the vehicle in the vicinity of a toll station are offences punishable by fines of up to EUR 3.500 and driving-license suspension for up to three months. In case a driver has selected an incorrect lane in a toll station (for instance, a Telepass-only lane if the vehicle is not equipped with a Telepass OBU), the driver must call for assistance using the red Assistenza button.
Toll which the user could not be charged automatically or pay immediately, for instance because of an OBU malfunction, must be paid within 15 days of receipt of the invoice. Toll can be paid at any motorway customer service centre (Punto blu) or by bank transfer. If a toll is not paid, the vehicle will be identified the next time a toll station is passed, and the toll collected.
Federation of French motorway and toll facility companies (ASFA):
In 1950s, main rebuilding following World War 2 was over and car-ownership began to
increase rapidly. As early as 1955, a law was passed to allow toll financing of motorways. Concessionaire companies, from both the public and private sectors, run the whole of the toll motorway system.
At present, of the 5,000 miles of toll roads, about 4,500 miles are publicly owned and
500 miles are privatized.
Traditionally, the objective has been to raise funds to pay for the construction, maintenance and operation of the motorway network. However, French government now starting to look at methods for converting traditional tolls into variable charges that could cover the cost of infrastructure but also assist in traffic management and cover the external costs (e.g. environmental impacts) imposed by road use.
How it Works
- No charges are made on non-tolled sections of the motorway.
- Discounts are offered to frequent users with a contract with a tolling company.
- Drivers can pay with cash at manually operated toll booths and automatic booths, or by
- credit card at automatic booths.
- For these forms of payment, drivers must take a ticket issued from a machine at the
- beginning of their journey and when they come to end of their journey and wish to leave the motorway, they must pass through a toll booth to be able to exit where they must pay a charge.
- Charge is calculated according to the distance traveled and the type of vehicle.
- Drivers can also use the electronic toll collection (ETC) system - Libert-T which does not entail taking any tickets or making a physical payment.
- Drivers must still pass through a barrier at the booths at a slow speed but no stopping is required.
- Libert-T is the electronic toll collection system available on the entire tolled motorway network.
- Drivers using this service must set up an account with one of the tolling companies who then issue the driver with an electronic tag which is placed in the car windscreen and communicates with roadside equipment to enable data to be stored on the journeys that have been made.
- Drivers receive a monthly invoice that reflects their journey history.
- Though different stretches of the motorway are run by different companies, the electronic tag distributed by each company is valid on the whole tolled network.
- Only one monthly invoice is issued - this is from the company the driver has a contract with rather than by each of the companies on whose roads the driver may have used.
- This is possible due to a national agreement between the companies to share data so that each company can reimburse the other if their clients have made trips on their roads.
The presence of control barriers in each lane makes it easy to intercept a driver trying to evade the charge.
Public-Private Partnerships in France and Europe
The French legislation (ordinance n°2004-559, 17/06/2004; law n° 2004-809,
13/08/2004, article 20) has recently made possible more diversified private-public partnerships, allowing for instance for some kind of shadow toll arrangements, both for the State and for the local authorities.
Tolling without concession, which are now in operation in Switzerland, under implementation in Germany for Heavy Good Vehicles and under consideration in other countries such as UK, and the urban road pricing scheme now in operation in London, may give prospect for new systems of tolling for instance zonal pricing or network pricing instead of link pricing, for unbundling concession and toll and for a service approach of infrastructure provision.
The move from an era of intense investment to completion of projects and from links to a meshed network is a new challenge.
Last but not least to set up new relationship between State and more private and autonomous partners needs a life-long fine-tuning of contracts (concession contract and “contrats d’entreprise”) and new skills for a new regulation. To find a right balance between competition and partnership is a new task for both private and public partners and the University European commission as well. An approach of regulation based on a negative image of relationship with private enterprise and, in a certain extent, a mistrust, which implies drawing up contracts as precise and as short-term as possible, is facing practical problems such as the cost of monitoring, the training of regulators and the setting up of benchmarks. To aim the best efficiency and not to respect dogmas the French pragmatic approach has been largely different, both in its structure and in its set of guidelines. It is founded not on a theory of countervailing powers but on a partnership with contractors vested with a long-term contract (which allows investment with postponed profitability). The use of pragmatic approaches and trust between the partners are two main factors.
A double challenge has to be faced:
- To reconcile the effectiveness of provision of public utilities and to meet the specific features of infrastructure (such as risk management and externalities) with the effectiveness of contractual arrangements concluded after bidding (even if the standard competitive market makes it less disputable inter alia because of lack of actors able to enter) a global comprehensive view from construction of infrastructure itself to services to final users through maintenance and operation within a long term contract leaving a reasonable level of freedom to the contractor is needed.
- To « contain » transaction and monitoring costs and to « internalize » regulation?
It can be met by a double transition towards a renewed public-private partnership:
- a transition from standard liberal institutional schemes to a less dogmatic and more
cooperative one (with a political but uncaptured regulator).
- a need for a transition from economies totally led by State or with a strong State
interventionism culture (as in France) to more market-oriented practices, with more explicit contractual arrangements.
Other French Implementation dates/locations:
1985: First ETC installation in France on Esterel-Côte Azur motorway
1993: First application in France of an ETC multi-lane system with multi-lane gantries
Czech Republic (2007)
As of January 2007, 105,000 trucks were equipped with on-board units.
Electronic toll has been paid by vehicles weighing 12 tons and more on 970 km of motorways and express roads in the Czech Republic as of January 1. An average CZK 12 million a day was collected in the first 14 days, the state getting nearly CZK 163 million.
There have been 6.6 million toll transactions registered since the start of January 1st 2007. Karel Feix of Kapsch which operates the electronic toll collection system in the Czech Republic said 105,000 trucks have been equipped with on-board units.
Lorries and buses weighing 12 tons and more have to pay toll on 970 kilometres of Czech motorways and primary roads from midnight. The average rate is CZK 4.05 per kilometer.
On the first day of the system´s operation, 500 non-payers were detected and CZK 700,000 was collected in toll.
Kapsch has issued roughly 68,000 (as of January 2007) on-board units needed for the toll collection, while the total number of drivers to register the unit is estimated at up to 80,000.
The state formally took over the system from Kapsch on December 30, 2006 despite many defects. However Kapsch says do not prevent the system from operating. If the system is not operational, Kapsch will have to pay up to a CZK 14 million fine per day.
It is not clear yet when toll will be launched on other Czech roads. With problems with the construction of toll bridges for the microwave technology, the satellite system or a combination of both is being considered for the second stage.
Costs of both stages are projected at around CZK 22 billion. The Transport Ministry plans that toll should bring CZK 8-10 billion a year to the state budget from 2008.
Via Verde (literally "Green Lane") is an electronic toll collection system used in Portugal since 1991, and extended to every toll in every freeway/motorway and bridge in the country since 1995.
Upon passing in a non-stop lane at a toll, an RFID tag attached to the vehicle's windshield transmits its identifier and the toll amount is debited directly from the client's bank account. If the tag is invalid (or non-existent) or the vehicle's class (as detected by the lane sensors) does not correspond to the class encoded in the tag, it is photographed and the proper legal procedure is initiated.
This system provides for a good flow of traffic: the non-stop lanes have a 40 or 60Km/h speed limit, although the system has been proven to work at speeds above 200Km/h (which are obviously unsafe, especially on the narrow non-stop lanes).
The Via Verde system was the first to be universally applied to all the tolls in a country. Via Verde has gained widespread use in Portugal mainly because it can operate with any bank in the country, as there is a fully integrated cross-bank network (the Multibanco network).
Due to the widespread use of the Via Verde, it is now being expanded to other areas outside toll fee collecting. Many parking lots and some gas stations now use it. This system is fully integrated, which means one tag works everywhere.
United Kingdom and Ireland
United Kingdom – 2003
The London congestion charge scheme uses two hundred and thirty cameras and ANPR to help monitor vehicles in the charging zone
The London congestion charge is an example of a system that charges motorists entering a payment area. Transport for London (TfL) uses ANPR systems and charges motorists a daily fee of £8 paid before 10pm if they enter, leave or move around within the congestion charge zone between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Fines for traveling within the zone without paying the charge are £50 per infraction if paid before the deadline, doubling to £100 per infraction thereafter.
Two hundred and thirty CCTV-style cameras, of which 180 are installed at the edge of the zone, are currently in use. The 50 cameras within the zone are intended to pick up cars that are missed on entry and/or exit, as well as those that are moving solely within the zone. There are also a number of mobile camera units which may be deployed anywhere in the zone.
It is estimated that around 98% of vehicles moving within the zone are caught on camera. The video streams are transmitted to a data centre located in central London where the ANPR software deduces the registration plate of the vehicle. A second data centre provides a backup location for image data.
Both front and back number plates are being captured, on vehicles going both in and out – this gives up to four chances to capture the number plates of a vehicle entering and exiting the zone. This list is then compared with a list of cars whose owners/operators have paid to enter the zone – those that have not paid are fined. The registered owner of such a vehicle is looked up in a database provided by the DVLA.  A government investigation has found that a significant portion of the DVLA's database is incorrect. Furthermore, it is now the car owner's responsibility to report to the DVLA if they sell their car.
Norway – 1987
Sweden - 2006
ETC was first introduced in 1987 in Ålesund, Norway.
AutoPASS is an electronic toll collection system used in Norway. It allows collecting road tolls automatically from cars. It uses electronic radio transmitters and receivers operating at 5.8 GHz (MD5885) supplied by the Norwegian company Q-Free.
The system involves the installation of a radio transmitter on the windscreen of a vehicle, and to sign an agreement with one of the toll collection companies in Norway. Tolls are charged at toll plazas as before, but cars can drive past in up to 80 km/h. The system is administrated by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. 23 of the 45 toll roads in Norway use the system, in addition to tests for use of the system on some car ferries. The primary reason that some projects don't support AutoPASS is that they charge both for the car and for passengers, which the system cannot support. All projects using AutoPASS can only charge per car. All systems with Autopass also have manual payment methods, though not necessarily manned.
Supporting toll plazas
E6 Grillstad – Værnes|
E39 Øysand – Thamshavn
Rv 9 Setesdal
Rv 35 Hadeland
Bridges and tunnels:|
Norway useful websites
Sweden (Trial Jan 2006-July 2006)
- The Swedish National Road Administration's (SNRA) is in charge of procurement rather than the City of Stockholm and awarded the technical contract to IBM and Q Free.
- Contract covers creation, integration, implementation and running of congestion charging system.
- Trial works with system of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) using microwave technology supported by automatic number plate recognition cameras.
- No barriers or cash payment points by the side of the road in order to allow the unimpeded flow of traffic.
- Instead, car drivers have had a small electronic tag - which is supplied for free - installed in their vehicle that communicates with roadside equipment.
- When a car passes one of the 19 tolled booths (non-manned) the system reads data about the car taking into account the time and place of the passing.
- Based on this information the amount to be charged is calculated and the amount is debited from the car driver's account that they must have set up before driving in to the charging zone.
- If no radio device is detected in the car by the roadside equipment, the number plate will be photographed by cameras also installed at the toll booths and drivers will be sent a penalty invoice.
- Charge must be paid within five days, failure to pay leads to administrative charge of SEK 70. Failure to pay within four weeks leads to SEK 500 charge. Must be paid within one month.
- Revenue will be ring-fenced for the Stockholm region for investment in public transport and infrastructure associated with the trial.
- Revenue is not intended to reduce level of other government funding for transport infrastructure.
After the first month of operation:
- Traffic at cordon points reduced by 25% - 10,000 vehicles per day.
- Train and transit passengers increased by 40,000 per day.
- Congestion during peak hours dramatically reduced.
- No major re-routed traffic problem.
- Parking fines reduced by 29%.
- Only 2% of vehicles failed to pay.
- Survey commissioned by newspaper Svenska Dagbladet a week before charging began showed 69% against the charge, 23% in favour and 8% unsure.
- Findings represent 10% increase in opposition since last survey by the paper in May 2003.
- Trial originally scheduled to run from 31 July 2005 to 31 July 2006 but was postponed until 1 January 2006 due to legal problems with procurement process.
- Contract awarded to IBM in July 2004 after the bid of competitor Combitech was declared non-compliant. Combitech filed complaint in a district administrative court, claiming the negotiations unfairly favored IBM.
- In February 2005 SNRA had to order contractor IBM and subcontractor Q-Free to stop all work on the e-congestion charge project pending court rulings on the contract awarding process.
E-ZPass in the U.S. Northeast
Fastrak in California –1993
Florida – 1998
Georgia - 1993
New Jersey - 2000
Illinois - 2006
Puerto Rico - 2004
The 407 Express Toll Route (ETR), one of the first open access all electronic toll highways, opened its first sections in October 1997. The road, which runs east-west just north of Toronto, Canada, was constructed for the Ontario Provincial Government by Raytheon. Raytheon also operated the road for the government during its initial operation from October 1997 to 1999.
The 407 uses a system of cameras and transponders to toll vehicles automatically. There are no toll booths, hence the name "Express Toll Route" (ETR). Highway 407 is designed as a normal freeway with interchanges connecting directly to surface streets, without the need for toll booth intermediaries (typically via a trumpet interchange) which could otherwise take up significant land. A radio antenna detects when a vehicle with a transponder has entered and exited the highway, calculating the toll rate. For vehicles without a transponder, an automatic number plate recognition system is used. Monthly statements are mailed to users. The 407 is the world's first highway to feature this system throughout.
The original section of Highway 407, between Highway 410 and Highway 404, is one of the better-designed freeways in the province of Ontario because of its recent design. It was the first freeway in almost thirty years since Highway 427 to be surfaced with concrete instead of asphalt, which despite involving a costlier initial investment, lasts significantly longer and has better reflective capabilities (although motorists have a noisier ride). It also has a high-pressure sodium high-mast lighting system installed throughout the length of the freeway. The 407 (along with other recent suburban and rural Ontario freeways) has been designed with aesthetics in mind, with landscaped embankments and storm drainage ponds at interchanges.
Because of its wide median, it has the capacity to be expanded from six to ten lanes (maximum of eight lanes through Thornhill) without having to reconstruct existing bridges and interchanges. Braided ramps were used to avoid weaving when there were closely spaced interchanges. The high-capacity junction with Highway 400 is considered one of the best-designed interchanges and it is currently the only 4-level stack in Ontario. Another 4-level interchange with Highway 427 also has the capacity to be expanded to a stack if traffic levels warrant.
A controversial point is the billing practice in which Highway 407 ETR customer service representatives and even collection agencies may continue to contact customers to pay bills, even in cases where the bill is incorrect or has not been incurred. Bills have even been sent to Northern Ontario, despite the recipients never hearing of Highway 407 ETR, let alone driving on it. Several stories in the media have been reported on how bills were sent to drivers using evidence from the video cameras that capture the plates. In some instances, the drivers' actual plate ended with entirely different letters or numbers than the evidence provided by the 407 ETR. Vehicles towing trailers can often be double billed or billed in the wrong weight category. Critics of the privatization of 407 complain that the operators use these tactics as a means of gouging money illegally from consumers in order to make up for such deadbeat drivers.
Drivers with transponders must be alert and listen for the exit tones from the transponder when leaving the 407, and be vigilant with making 407 customer service aware of transponder malfunction when it occurs. Otherwise, they can face "Video Toll" charges. The "Video Toll" charge will be applied to any vehicle that does not have a transponder.
For drivers without transponders, the automatic number plate recognition system is linked to several provincial and U.S. state motor vehicle registries. Currently only Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and possibly several adjacent states and provinces provide 407 ETR access to their registry databases due to the privacy laws of these states. This has resulted in untold numbers of motorists from other jurisdictions being able to travel on 407 ETR without receiving a bill.
In 1999 the province sold the 407 ETR for almost double the original investment. The government built the highway for approximately CA$1.6 billion and the 407 ETR Consortium bought it in 1999 for CA$3.1 billion (plus CA$900 million for future construction and working capital). The 407 ETR international consortium consists of Grupo Ferrovial SA, through its subsidiary CINTRA (19.3%), Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, through its subsidiary Capital D'Amerique CDPQ (16.1%), SNC-Lavalin Group, through its subsidiary SNC-Lavalin Engineers and Constructors (22.6%) and Macquarie Infrastructure Group (43%). In 2000-01, the consortium extended the highway to its current length of 108km.
In 2001, under a new contract, Raytheon supplied and integrated new additional roadside equipment. This increased the total number of lanes tolled from 190 to 320 and enhanced the central processing system to provide additional capacity and functionality. Tolling system operations and routine maintenance have now been passed to the operator but Raytheon continues to provide engineering and maintenance services.
The base toll, as of February 1, 2006, for vehicles under 5,000 kg is 16.25 cents/km during peak hours (6am-10am and 3pm-7pm weekdays) and 15.5 cents/km during other hours. Heavy vehicles pay twice the auto toll, or three times if towing a trailer.
As of 1 February 2007 the small vehicle toll will increase to 17.6 cents/km in peak hours, or 16.8 cents/km off-peak.
Additionally, there is a $2.15/month charge for the transponder, with a 15% discount if paid on an annual basis, and a 50% discount for the second and additional transponders on an account.
Autos without transponders are charged $2.15 for each month with activity, plus a $3.65 Video Toll Charge. For heavy vehicles, transponders are mandatory, with their absence punishable both as a traffic offence and by a $15 per trip surcharge.
407 East Extension Environmental Assessment: http://www.407eastea.co
Recently, the Ontario provincial government has quarrelled with 407 ETR over toll rates and customer service. On February 2 2004, the government delivered notice to 407 ETR that they are considered to be in default of their contract because of 407 ETR's decision to raise toll rates without first obtaining the government's permission. The court's initial decision sided with 407 ETR: on July 10 2004, an independent arbitrator affirmed that 407 ETR has the ability to raise toll rates without first consulting the government. The government filed an appeal of this decision but was overruled by a Ontario Superior Court decision released on January 6 2005; however, a subsequent ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal on June 13, 2005 granted the government permission to appeal the decision. Legal troubles have placed future eastward extensions of the highway on hold, and it is unknown when construction may begin. The rising toll rates have made Highway 407 more of a "luxury" rather than a bypass on existing congested roads as it was initially intended. Parallel roads that Highway 407 would have supplemented ending up continued to grow congested just a few years after Highway 407 opened. As a result, the Ontario government had to revisit costly widening projects of Highway 401 and the QEW. Demographics showed that mostly businessmen and professionals used Highway 407 because they were able to write off the tolls as expenses. Most controversial is the billing practice where Highway 407 ETR operators are infamous in their harassment of customers to pay bills, even in cases where the bill is incorrect or has not been incurred (bills have been sent to Northern Ontario and even Scotland, despite the recipients never hearing of Highway 407 ETR). As a result of the potential for error in billing, the Ontario government no longer suspends driver licenses for unpaid 407 bills since 2000 and this is unlikely to be reinstated given continual legal problems. Unfortunately, this means that tolls are unable to be collected 100% of the time since certain deadbeat drivers continue to use 407 despite not paying bills. Critics of the privatization of 407 complain that the operators use these tactics as a means of gouging money illegally from consumers in order to make up for such deadbeat drivers.
E-ZPass in the U.S. Northeast
E-ZPass is the electronic toll collection system used on most toll bridges and toll roads in the eastern United States from Virginia to Maine, and recently extended into Illinois. All states use the same technology, allowing travelers to use the same E-ZPass tag throughout the network. Various independent systems that use the same technology have since been integrated into the E-ZPass system. These include Fast Lane in Massachusetts, Smart Tag in Virginia, and most recently I-Pass in Illinois.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offers to E-ZPass subscribers who replenish their accounts with a major credit card (i.e., American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard or VISA) the ability to pay for parking at three Port Authority airports — John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, through a program known as E-ZPass Plus. This program is also available at Albany International Airport in Albany, New York. Drivers obtain tickets as they enter the parking lots, as usual. Upon exiting the parking lot, individuals use either the "E-ZPass Plus Only" or manned lanes. Those wishing to pay using their E-ZPass accounts simply insert the ticket into the machine reader. The parking payment is debited from the prepaid E-ZPass account if the parking fee is less than $20. If it is more than $20, the amount is charged directly to the credit card used to replenish the E-ZPass account. The Port Authority reports that drivers save an average of 15 seconds by opting to pay for airport parking using E-ZPass.
In Atlantic City, New Jersey drivers can now park at the New York Avenue Garage and pay for their parking by E-ZPass Plus.
At this time, subscribers who replenish their E-ZPass accounts with cash or a check cannot participate in this program. Additionally, this service is only available to customers with New York (PANYNJ, MTA or NYS Thruway), New Jersey, or Delaware (Delaware DOT, DRBA or DRJTBC) E-ZPass accounts.
EZ Pass and Car Rental Agencies
Cendant Car Rental Group, LLC, the parent company of Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car, in 2006 announced two new programs to enable their customers to bypass cash toll lanes. Starting in April 2006, customers could rent a vehicle allowing them to drive through electronic toll collection booths on highways in the Northeast United States and the Houston, Texas metropolitan area.
The new programs were available to customers of Avis and Budget for an additional fee of $1.50 per day for rentals at New York metropolitan locations, including Northern New Jersey and Southern Connecticut. There were plans to roll out the systems to additional areas in the Northeast, Texas, Florida and Illinois by 2007.
In the New York metropolitan area, Cendant Car Rental Group partnered with Highway Toll Administration, LLC (HTA) to offer vehicles equipped with E-Z Pass, the electronic toll technology service used throughout the Northeast United States. Customers will be able to use the service on toll roads, tunnels and bridges from Maine to Virginia. HTA will equip both Avis and Budget vehicles with E-Z Pass transponders. In Houston, Cendant Car Rental Group is utilizing PlatePassTM, the service offered by American Traffic Solutions. PlatePass will allow Avis and Budget customers to utilize high-speed toll lanes throughout Texas without the need for a vehicle transponder. In both programs, toll charges accrued will be processed as a separate charge to the credit or debit card that was presented by the customer at the time of rental.
E-Z Pass Study on New Jersey Turnpike
In a study that measured traffic counts, queue lengths, lane configurations, and transaction times during peak periods at 27 toll locations.
Delay was reduced by approximately 85% for a total savings of 2,091,000 vehicle-hours per year, and E-ZPass user delay was reduced by 1,344,000 hours per year. The user cost savings was $25.1 million, and the user cost savings related to fuel consumption was $1.9 million per year. As a result of reduced queuing, fuel consumption estimates have been reduced by 1.2 million gallons a year. VOC emissions have been reduced by 0.35 tons per weekday
List of E-ZPass Agencies
The following agencies accept E-ZPass at their toll facilities:
Atlantic City Expressway (New Jersey)
Burlington County Bridge Commission (New Jersey/Pennsylvania)
Delaware Department of Transportation (includes Delaware Turnpike and Delaware Route 1)
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (New Jersey/Pennsylvania)
Delaware River and Bay Authority (Delaware/New Jersey)
Delaware River Port Authority (New Jersey/Pennsylvania)
Maryland Transportation Authority
Maine Turnpike Authority
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
New Jersey Turnpike Authority (includes Garden State Parkway)
New York State Thruway Authority
New York State Bridge Authority
Peace Bridge Authority (New York, US/Ontario, Canada)
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
MTA Bridges & Tunnels (New York)
West Virginia Turnpike
Indiana Department of Transportation (by 2007 )
Ohio Turnpike Commission (in late 2008 ).
All agencies that accept Fast Lane:
Massachusetts Port Authority
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
All agencies that accept I-Pass:
Chicago Skyway (Illinois)
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
All agencies that accept Smart Tag:
Chesapeake Expressway (Virginia)
Dulles Greenway (Virginia)
Pocahontas Parkway (Virginia)
Richmond Metropolitan Authority (Virginia)
Virginia Department of Transportation
Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission (Virginia) (in fall 2007
FasTrak is the electronic toll collection (ETC) system used in the state of California in the United States. The system is used statewide on all of the toll roads and bridges along the California Freeway and Expressway System.
As with other ETC systems, FasTrak is designed to eliminate the need for cars to stop to pay at toll booths, thus decreasing the traffic traditionally associated with toll roads. Its use of technology to improve transit is in line with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Intelligent Transportation Systems initiative.
FasTrak uses RFID technology to read data from a transponder placed in a vehicle (usually mounted by velcro strips to the windshield) moving at speeds that may exceed 70 mph. The RFID transponder in each vehicle is associated with a prepaid debit account; each time the vehicle passes underneath a toll collection site, the account is debited to pay the toll. If a vehicle does not have a transponder, the system uses automatic number plate recognition to take photos of the vehicle and its license plate for processing.
Anybody with a FasTrak transponder can use it to pay tolls on any California toll road or bridge using the system. But people are encouraged to open their accounts with the local agency in charge of the toll facility that they use the most. Different agencies may offer different discounts and incentives, and people may be charged a fee if the majority of their FasTrak use occurs elsewhere.
Fastrak usage is currenty administered by separate agencies, and each charges different fees for opening a new account.
As the first ETC system in North America was installed on the Dallas North Tollway in 1989, many California toll facilities started to express interest in the technology. Because the state's toll roads and bridges are run by different government agencies, there was the possibility that a number of different incompatible ETC systems would be instituted throughout California. Therefore, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1523 in 1990, requiring Caltrans, the state's Department of Transportation, to develop a statewide technical specification which all systems would be required to meet. As a result, California was the first in the nation to require all of its toll bridges and roads to use the same ETC system.
When the Foothill Toll Road in Orange County opened in 1993, it became the first California toll facility to use an ETC system. Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), the local agency in charge of the toll road, named the system "FasTrak". To this day, TCA still holds the trademark to the "FasTrak" name and logo.
When TCA first introduced the FasTrak system, the electronic transponders consisted of a gadget about the size of a Walkman in which a smart card was inserted. However, the smart cards were unpopular with both tollway officials and users because they cost more, offered little advantage, and customers were charged with a $10 annual fee (which has since been discontinued). By the time that the 91 Express Lanes opened in 1995, the FasTrak transponders were redesigned to be the size of a coaster that could be mounted by velcro strips to the windshield.
TCA later deployed the FasTrak system to the two other toll roads they administer as soon as they opened: the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road in 1996 and the Eastern Toll Road in 1998. Also in 1998, the system was then deployed on the high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes along Interstate 15 in San Diego.
However, the system had to be modified so that it could be used on California's toll bridges. After a test run on the Carquinez Bridge in 1996, it had accuracy problems in dealing with the 18 different toll classifications for different kinds of trucks. After the changes were made and another test run, the Carquinez Bridge became the first California toll bridge to use FasTrak in 1997. However, bureaucratic inaction, technical troubles, and financial mismanagement delayed the deployment of the system to the other six state-run toll bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area until October 2000. Meanwhile, the Golden Gate Bridge, run by the independent Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, installed their system a few months earlier in July of that year. The FasTrak system was also briefly used on the state-owned San Diego-Coronado Bridge until tolls were discontinued on that structure in 2002.
When the South Bay Expressway, a new toll road in San Diego County, opens in 2007, drivers will also be able to pay toll using FasTrak. The system would also be deployed on the proposed HOT lanes along Interstate 680 between Alameda and Santa Clara counties. (Wikipedia, citation below)
Bay Area Toll Authority
The Bay Area Toll Authority, which is in charge of the ETC system for the seven state-owned toll bridges within the Bay Area requires an initial prepaid balance of US$25 per transponder if paying by credit card, or $50 if using cash or check.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), who administers the HOT lanes on Interstate 15 in San Diego, requires a $40 deposit to obtain a transponder.
Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), operators of the Orange County toll roads, charges requires a $30 deposit for each transponder and a prepayment of $45 in tolls. Those paying by credit card do not have to provide a deposit, but they still have to give $30 in prepaid tolls.
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), owners and operators of the 91 Express Lanes, offers three separate payment plans. The "Convenence Plan" only requires a one-time non-refundable $75 per transponder enrollment fee. In the "Standard Plan", users are automatically charged $7 in prepaid tolls every month. There is also a "91 Express Club" where users are charged a $20 monthly membership fee, but get a $1 discount every time they use the 91 Express Lanes.
Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise opened the first toll facility in Florida to the SunPass® Prepaid Toll Program in April of 1999. The Turnpike Enterprise operates toll facilities on almost 600 miles of statewide toll roads. Several other agencies within Florida operate toll roads on a regional basis. While each agency utilizes a vehicle-mounted transponder (electronic “shirt pocket-sized” device) that allowed their customers to pass through their toll facilities without stopping to pay a toll, the technology was not compatible statewide. These agencies recognized early on the need to plan for future convergence and interoperability as technology continued to improve and the Turnpike Enterprise planned to roll out the SunPass® Prepaid Toll Program. For this reason the two agencies with the largest customer bases, Florida’s Turnpike and Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) entered into a memorandum of understanding prior to the implementation of SunPass®. This agreement was a prerequisite to the “base” interoperability agreement executed in March 2002 between OOCEA and Florida’s Turnpike, setting the benchmark for tolling “collaboration” between government agencies in Florida. This “base” interoperability agreement sets standards for each agency’s customers to be able to use the other’s electronic toll collection system, while continuing to make payments to the agency from which the transponder was issued. Today, the SunPass® Prepaid Toll Program boasts well over 1.1 million subscribers and the OOCEA’s E-PASS (and sister agency from Osceola County, O-PASS) adds another 350,000 to that count.
In creating a seamless electronic toll collection system for commuters in Florida, some problems were widely recognized prior to interoperability:
1) The E-PASS system employed read-only transponders whereas the SunPass® system employed read-write transponders,
2) The E-PASS lane architecture utilized in-pavement antennas for bumper-mounted transponders whereas SunPass® used overhead antennas for windshield-mounted transponders,
3) The E-PASS toll transaction messaging was not compatible with that utilized by SunPass®, and
4) No interoperability documentation defining business and technical processes existed. OOCEA agreed, with financial participation by the Turnpike Enterprise, to replace their entire transponder population with the same transponder technology being used by SunPass®. This had to be synchronized with the replacement of existing toll lane equipment with new equipment that would recognize the new transponders. Achieving this conversion in a timely fashion transparent to customers was a phenomenal task, but OOCEA and the Turnpike Enterprise accomplished it by a number of business process changes described in section b. of this nomination. Today, the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority (MDX) is now interoperable with SunPass®, and plans are now being implemented to integrate the LeeWay toll system in Lee County this spring. These governmental interactions clearly illustrate the ability for Florida’s governmental agencies to set aside any relationship or technical differences, in an effort to provide services the customer wants, and deserves. Governor Bush’s “enterprise model” for shared resources, multiple application approaches, and communicating and interoperating via a common enterprise vision, is now fulfilled in the toll collection arena through Florida’s statewide electronic toll collection interoperability.
SunPass is an electronic toll collection system in use by the State of Florida and was originally created by the Florida Department of Transportation's Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. The system uses Amtech active RFID windshield-mounted transponders manufactured by TransCore along with lane equipment designed by several companies including SAIC and TransCore. SunPass is fully interoperable with E-Pass (from the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority), O-Pass (from the Osceola Parkway), LeeWay (from Lee County toll bridges) and Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) toll roads. SunPass may also be used at the Orlando International Airport to pay for parking. There are plans for other major Florida airports to utilize the SunPass system for parking fees.
SunPass-Only toll lanes on most toll roads in Florida allow a vehicle to proceed through the tollbooth at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h). This is a safety guideline, not a technological limitation, and violation may be subject to a speeding ticket and associated fine. Some mainline toll barriers are being constructed with wider SunPass-Only lanes that can handle speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h). E-Pass-Only lanes in the OOCEA system have a speed limit of 35 mph (60 km/h), though the mainline toll barriers will all have dedicated lanes capable of full-speed automatic toll collection at up to 65 mph (105 km/h) by 2009.
SunPass customers must pay for the transponder ($25 US plus sales tax) and also establish a minimum opening balance of $25 US to fund their tolls. Unused toll fees are only refunded if the user closes the account or takes advantage of a money-back guarantee.
The SunPass electronic toll-collection system as well as the other related ETC systems in Florida are currently not compatible with E-ZPass or other ETC systems outside of Florida. Non-Florida ETC transponders (including E-ZPass) will not work in Florida tollbooths.
In making the transition to an interoperable toll collection system, the following changes in business process took place to develop the initial interoperability in Florida between Florida’s Turnpike and OOCEA:
- Management, Financial, and Technical teams were formed to develop and review the “base” interoperability agreement establishing technical interfaces and business rules.
- Monthly meetings were conducted to exchange each other’s system operating characteristics and analyze similarities and differences to best approach a solution.
- Technology solutions were achieved for testing and transferring massive amounts of data between the two agencies on a daily basis.
- E-PASS transactions were reformatted to simulate SunPass® toll transaction message formats.
- Extensive cooperation occurred regarding plaza-by-plaza “overnight” conversions so that the new technology in E-PASS lanes was transparent to E-PASS and SunPass® customers. Most of the process changes were utilized when MDX became interoperable with SunPass® and continue with other agencies wishing to join the interoperable partners.
The ensuing benefits of the business changes include:
- Enhanced customer service with the SunPass® Service Center in Boca Raton answering SunPass® customer questions no matter where the toll transaction occurred.
- Integration of the various toll collection systems has meant convenience to the commuters which have subscribed to the SunPass® Prepaid Toll Program. The commuter has a transponder that can be used throughout the State of Florida.
- Electronic toll transactions are exchanged daily between agencies which means faster realized revenue and funds reconciliation between agencies. In fiscal year 2003, over 9 million combined E-PASS and SunPass® transactions representing almost $6 million in toll revenues occurred on MDX toll facilities. SunPass® transactions on OOCEA facilities alone totaled over 8.5 million, and represented over $6.5 million in toll revenues.
- The SunPass® transponder works everywhere – avoiding redundant costs and efforts for customers and agencies. This saves customers the $25 cost of an additional transponder to transact in a toll lane of another agency not responsible for maintenance of their single account. Additionally, agencies do not have to purchase additional transponders, which typically cost more than what they are sold to the public for, thereby effecting cost savings to the agency.
- Customer satisfaction heightens as seen by a recent Florida Turnpike Enterprise survey. In 2003, 635,000 surveys were distributed to SunPass® customers; approximately 108,000 responded and 96% felt that they saved time by using SunPass® compared to paying cash. 92% were satisfied with the value received and 96% would recommend SunPass® to family and friends.
- Consumer confidence in the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) positively improves with the progressive move to ease the crowded roads and speed the commuter’s travel on statewide toll roads. This results in public support for such things as future toll fee increases.
- Governmental relationships are enhanced between the interoperable agencies which encourages future cooperation and collaboration.
- Discussions regarding the exchange of toll transaction information/data between the participating agencies, on a more frequent basis, for use in improving customer service levels, identifying customer loyalty programs and other database related opportunities.
- Develop new markets for use of the SunPass® transponder between agencies, such as airport parking, retail purchases, and other e-commerce opportunities.
- Utilize the SunPass® transponder, including all other Agency’s transponders, for traffic pattern analysis across the State thereby supporting the Turnpike’s Traffic Management initiative.
- Implement “hot button” communications allowing seamless transfer of phone inquiries from one agency to the next to service the other agency’s customers.
- Participate in iFlorida, a federally sponsored intelligent transportation systems (ITS) program, to use the SunPass®/E-PASS transponders to help diagnose real-time traffic congestion in the Greater Orlando area. This would not have been practical without the innovative multi-agency effort of interoperability.
How might other government agencies learn from, or apply, the successes?
The FDOT Interoperability Agreements, defining the business rules and data exchange formats, demonstrate the kind of cooperation that is possible between State government agencies and other parties. These agreements are a model for other agencies to use in the future.
Study on Emissions: Impacts of Electronic Toll Collection on Vehicle Emissions in Orlando, Florida. The Holland East Toll Plaza has 14 toll lanes. This study evaluated the reduction in vehicle emissions. The total number of vehicles using the Holland East Toll Plaza increased by 30%. The overall reduction in Carbon Monoxide was 7.29%, and Hydrocarbons was 7.19%.
Georgia (1993)-Most recently upgraded in 2005 to Passive RFID
The Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA). Roles and responsibilities of SRTA, the Georgia 400 Toll Road, and the eGO electronic toll collection (ETC) cards.
- SRTA is governed by a five-member board of directors. The Governor serves as the chairman. Two members are appointed by Speaker of the House and two by the Lieutenant Governor. SRTA is responsible for operating tollways in the state. Currently, SRTA operates the state's only toll facility, the GA 400. SRTA also provides debt financing for transportation projects, completes toll revenue studies, and maintains a transportation revenue forecast.
- The GA 400 is a 6.2 mile toll facility located in Atlanta. The GA 400 carries approximately 120,000 vehicles per day. The toll is $0.50. The GA 400 includes cruise lanes with ETC. The two ETC lanes in each direction allow users to travel at regular, driving speed. Approximately 35 percent of all traffic on the GA 400 uses the cruise lanes.
- The ETC system has evolved since 1993 with the deployment of a read-only, single protocol system. In 1996, a read-write, in-vehicle feedback single protocol system was implemented. The system was further enhanced in 1998.
- The transition to eGO began with discussions with TransCore in 2004. Other options, including doing nothing and changing to new technology, were considered. After a site visit to the manufacturing and test facility in July 2004, the decision was made to upgrade to eGO and a contract was signed with TransCore in October 2004. The first eGO Cards were delivered in February 2005. Installation and testing of the first lane conversion began in March 2005. Implementation of the eGO system will begin in late June or early July.
- The eGO cards operate in the 902-928 MHz radio frequency. They are flexible stickers and are battery-less. The eGO readers are a multi-protocol 915 MHz RFID reader system. A phasing-in of the new toll cards is being used.
- There were numerous benefits to SRTA from the change to the eGO system. First, operating costs are reduced. Fewer toll card recalls due to battery problems are anticipated and the cost of an eGO card is lower than the current product. The eGO system also provides opportunities for growth in attracting new users to the toll system. Market research has shown a preference for tags. There are also new markets, such as parking, for eGO to use. A retail tag program is also possible.
New Jersey Turnpike (2000)
On September 30, 2000 E-Z Pass was implemented on the New Jersey Turnpike, marking the completion of the largest implementation of ETC in the USA. According to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the goals of the E-Z Pass electronic toll system are to mitigate congestion, save time for motorists, save fuel usage, and improve air quality. Monday through Friday, motorists using E-Z Pass during non-peak hours save 20% off the new cash toll rates. A follow-up study was conducted to evaluate the success of the system. Toll plaza delay was reduced by approximately 85% for a total savings of 2,091,000 vehicle hours per year. Passenger car delay was reduced by 1.8 million hours per year, and truck delay was reduced by 291,000 hours per year. E-Z pass users’ delay was reduced by 1,344,000 hours per year.
User cost savings as a result of delay reductions were estimated at $19.0 million per year for passenger cars and $6.1 million per year for trucks, making a total annual savings of $25.1 million. User cost savings related to fuel consumption were estimated at $5.1 million for passenger cars, and $400,000 for trucks. As a result of reduced queuing, fuel consumption estimates have been reduced by 1.2 million gallons per year. Estimates of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions have been reduced by 0.35 tons per weekday with 80 percent of the reduction resulting from improved light-duty vehicle performance. Estimates of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions have been reduced by 0.056 tons per weekday with 58 percent of the reduction resulting from improved heavy-duty vehicle performance. www.state.nj.us/turnpike
I-PASS is the Illinois Tollway's Electronic Toll Collection Program. Users of the Tollway are encouraged to open an account that allows them to travel through the toll plazas faster, in many cases without having to stop, and to avoid having to handle cash toll payments.
I-PASS users pay a refundable security deposit ($20.00, or $10 for those choosing automatic replenishment) for the use of the equipment and then prepay their tolls into an account ($40.00 minimum). As the user drives through the toll collection lanes, the individual toll at that location is electronically deducted from their prepaid toll balance. Motorist's who choose, also sign up for automatic replenishment by credit card so that when their account balance falls below $10.00, a $40.00 (minimum) replenishment is credited to their account. This process take approximately 24 hours
The IL Tollway has had to become very innovative in how it has paid for marketing and advertising of I-PASS electronic toll collection, customer notifications and Governor Rod Blagojevich's Congestion Relief Plan. The total value of these partnerships to date has exceeded $7 million dollars million dollars in advertising and marketing dollars, which in the previous 10 years had only budgeted roughly over $500,000 total. Not only does this save valuable resources, it also helps counter the negative public feedback that often results when toll money is spent to promote Tollway's and electronic toll collection.
The Jewel-Osco partnership has saved the Tollway an estimated $5.7 million in commissions (based on what other U.S. Tollway's pay to third-party retailers) and advertising dollars. The NBC partnership has supported many Tollway initiatives, including on-air commercials and promotions valued at $2 million. At a time when public agencies are criticized for using resources for promotion, the Illinois Tollway has leveraged our unique partnerships to spread messages about how I-PASS saves time, reduces emissions and congestion and is also available for low income drivers.
- Since the launch of these partnerships, I-PASS sales have increased to record levels. Thanks to the Jewel-Osco partnership, the Illinois Tollway is the toll industry leader in daily transponder sales:
- Jewel-Osco is the #1 choice for I-PASS purchases: Responsible for 80 percent of all I-PASS sales.
- Number of active I-PASS transponders: Increased from 871,000 in 2002 to 2.3 million in 2005.
- I-PASS Usage: Increased from 38 percent in 2002 to 73 percent in 2005, now the highest in the U.S.
- The first Tollway to offer a program to assist low- income drivers get an I-PASS, called I-PASS Assist.
- Due to congestion pricing, commercial trucking has utilized the Tollway at levels greater than expected, despite a recent toll increase.
Chicago, Illinois (2004) - The Chicago Skyway
Long-Term Lease of Existing Facility
In October 2004, the City of Chicago entered into negotiation to lease the Skyway, an operating toll road, to a consortium of private operators for a very sizable upfront cash payment. The Chicago Skyway was followed, in quick successions, by the Indiana Toll Road and the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia. A number of other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are exploring or discussing similar long-term lease arrangements.
The Chicago Skyway also known as Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System is a 7.8 mile (12.5 km) long tollway bridging Interstate 90 at the Dan Ryan Expressway on the west end, and the Indiana Toll Road on the east end. It opened April 16, 1958. In June of 2005 the Skyway became compatible with electronic toll collection and users can now pay using I-PASS or E-ZPass transponders.
In January 2005, the City of Chicago reached a franchise agreement with the Skyway Concession Company, LLC, a consortium owned jointly by MIG and Spain’s Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A. (Cintra), for a 99-year lease to operate and maintain the Chicago Skyway. The contract price for the concession was $1.83 billion. The consortium is also required under the agreement to carry out capital improvements, including installing an electronic toll collection system, to enhance the throughput and operational efficiency of the Skyway. In return, the concessionaires are allowed to collect and retain all toll revenues during the term of the lease.
Included in the lease agreement is a schedule for toll increases: specified periodic step increases beginning in January 2005 through 2017, thereafter, maximum annual increases would be capped at the greater of (a) 2 percent, (b) the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or (c) per capita nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
The price for the lease of the 48-year old, 7.8-mile long Skyway captured the attention of the transportation community. Political leaders in particular view this as an attractive way to obtain revenues without having to raise taxes. http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=51
Puerto Rico (2004)
Puerto Rico's RFID Toll Adoption Exceeds Expectations
The Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) launched an RFID-enabled cashless payment system for toll collection in 2004. Since then, toll collection has surpassed 80 million tag transactions. The eGo system uses adhesive 915 MHz passive tags, readable from up to 31.5 feet (9.6 meters) away, with 2 kilobits of read-write memory. The system was originally slated for 19 lanes and has been expanded to 45, exceeding expectations for success. Puerto Rico is a cash-based society in which few consumers use credit cards, relative to other regions in which electronic toll collection has been used. In deploying the eGo system, PRHTA worked with technology vendor TransCore to reengineer the payment-system architecture so users could prepay their eGo accounts, which they debit each time they drive through a toll collection point, rather than link them to a credit account. In just over two years, the number eGo tags issued exceeded 400,000, well ahead of PRHTA's initial five-year goal of 300,000. The number of retail outlets where drivers can purchase eGo tags and replenish accounts (including gas stations and drug stores) has also grown from 15 to 140. The PRHTA's RFID toll payment system is growing more quickly than some similar systems in the United States, TransCore says. The TransCore eGo tag is also used for toll collection in Georgia, Texas and Washington; in Shenzhen, China
Central and South America
Argentina - 2006
Colombia – 2002
Chile – Santiago (2004)
In southern Argentina's Neuquén Province, commuters crossing the Neuquén-Cipoletti Bridge can cut their travel time by using passive RFID tags that allow them to pay for their tolls. A private toll-collection company, Caminos del Valle, implemented the automated system for Neuquén Province.
PICO Inc. and its Argentinean partner Dyna Group launched the first passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) in South America. The system is part of an open lane tolling system in Argentina's Neuquen Province. During the pilot phase, 2,500 daily users have adopted it and report 100% successful operation. About 15,000 users participated before the end of 2006.
The province had been using an electronic toll-collection (ETC) system involving active RFID tags that could cost each driver $50 and require battery replacements. The new system uses inexpensive passive RFID tags, enabling drivers to receive an RFID-enabled windshield sticker at no cost.
Cost reduction is critical to urban areas in the developing world plagued by traffic congestion, whose leaders recognize the potential of open lane tolling, but cannot implement it because the high cost of active RFID systems is a financial barrier to entry.
The system is based on IP-XTM technology from IPICO (see company and emerging technology sections below), which provided the tags, labels and readers for the system. About 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily through 14 lanes of tolls. For four of those lanes, however, an RFID UHF (860 MHz to 960 MHz) An interrogator, mounted on an overhead gantry, captures the unique ID number encoded in each windshield stickers' read-only tag. The interrogator can read tags as far as 17 feet away while the cars are in motion at speeds up to 240 kilometers per hour.
IPICO has pilots of similar systems underway at other sites in Argentina, in Brazil and in several other countries.
The bridge's previous active RFID system was not only expensive for drivers, it also required a credit card to pay for the tolls. Many drivers, however, do not have credit cards. The new system allows drivers to prepay for a specific number of trips across the bridge by buying the stickers at the toll plaza. The tollgate staff input the amount on the database in connection with a specific RFID tag number, and the driver attaches the sticker to his or her windshield. Instead of prepaying, drivers can choose to pay per trip, by providing a credit card number at the time the RFID sticker is provided.
When the reader captures a tag's ID number, that number is sent via a local area network to the server, which then directs the number to the database via an Ethernet connection. All data integration and related software was provided by electronic engineering firm Dyna Group.
About 3,000 drivers are using stickers for the new passive system.
The toll for the Neuquén-Cipoletti Bridge costs about 20 cents a crossing. While drivers do not pay for the stickers, they pay a slightly higher toll for privilege of saving time by using the automated toll system. The RFID lanes process about 1,200 vehicles an hour; lanes where tolls are paid manually process about 300 vehicles in the same time period.
The transition from the active RFID system to the passive one required that both RFID systems be operational simultaneously for about three months. Prior to the transition, the passive system was tested for two years on four lanes of the toll plaza. During that time, the IPICO/Dyna Group system read 100 percent of the tags involved. (http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/2641/)
Colombia has implemented an electronic toll collection system intended to reduce the level of toll violations and fraudulent toll operator activities. This system, called the Vial del Valle, operates in the 50 lanes along the concessioned highway at 10 plazas. Each toll booth operator is audited by the vehicle classification component; operators manually enter the vehicle classification as the vehicle approaches the toll booth. When the vehicle continues through the toll plaza, the in-road treadles, axle sensors, and loops automatically determined the vehicle class. Each lane in the Vial del Valle system contains digital video incident detection equipment; these videos can capture an image of a vehicle from up to eight different cameras. Images are taken when there is a discrepancy between the information the operator manually enters and the vehicle information collected by the in-road sensors. Because of varying characteristics of trucks and vehicle types throughout the country, the vehicle classification schemes differ from one toll plaza to another.
Chile – Santiago (2004)
Chile was the world's first country to run all payments through a single TAG system (See Key Technology Terms below) as opposed to countries like Australia, where automobiles must carry two or even three TAG systems for each of the different highways. Presently they are used in four of the highways of Santiago de Chile, and some other highways currently under construction are set to employ it.
- Santiago de Chile is a city that has struggled to balance need for investments in infrastructure with pressing demand for better social services.
- Congestion problem has contributed to a serious air pollution problem, and restrictions on use of cars using the number plate method (two digits per day unless the car has a catalytic exhaust) are in operation for most of year. Stricter restrictions are imposed when major pollution episodes are forecast.
- Car ownership is growing at higher rate than income and despite the use of catalytic exhausts the pollution problem is increasing.
- Three of the original four urban toll road concessions are operated by private consortia that have financed and built them under 30-year concession agreements. The fourth will open during 2006.
- These toll roads alleviate air pollution by people spending less time driving and queuing at intersections. They also provide the largest part of investment in the city's new road infrastructure.
- Main objective is to improve the city's environment by reducing air pollution.
- Secondary objectives are to provide new infrastructure through private finance to alleviate congestion and improve journey times.
How it Works
- Tolls paid by drivers are based on a charge per km as well as the time of day.
- Charging according to distance driven is structured around 3 levels of charges - approximately 6, 12 and 18 US$ cents per km.
- The second level of charging applies to peak periods and when speeds drop below 70 Km/h. The third level applies when speeds consistently drop below 50 Km/ hr and in order to keep the roads free-flowing.
- Tariff changes can happen every three months and are communicated through the media.
- Toll roads are fully automated using electronic toll collection (ETC) technology.
- This entails drivers fixing an electronic tag in their vehicle which communicates with roadside equipment.
- These tags are distributed free of charge by the private operators of the toll roads as part of their concession contract.
- About 90% of users have electronic tags fitted in their vehicles, but infrequent users can instead purchase a day-pass, under which their license plate number is entered into the database as an authorized user for that day, to be recognized by the video enforcement system.
- It is expected that 98% of cars in Santiago will have electronic tags by the end of 2006.
- Standardized electronic toll collection technology enables complete interoperability between all toll roads.
- All toll roads have access to a central customer database, under which each concessionaire can bill those who use its roadway, regardless of which company issued the transponder and has the direct customer relationship.
- A violator without a pass or electronic tag is picked up by the video cameras is offered the opportunity to by a "late day pass", and if that opportunity is not exercised, it is fined $50.
- The four urban toll road concessions currently raise about US$ 220 million per year.
- Air pollution has been alleviated by people spending less time driving and queuing at intersections.
- Number of traffic accidents at intersections has dropped sharply.
- In one of the most congested areas, a significant portion of vehicular traffic has been diverted underground using an innovative 4 km tunnel beneath the city's Mapocho River and has produced environmental benefits.
- Pedestrian benefits include hundreds of acres of new parkland that has been built along edges highways and dozens of lighted pedestrian overpasses reduce risk of injury by crossing at ground level.
- Public resources previously spent maintaining poor roads have now been redirected toward social investments.
- Initial resistance to charging dissipated immediately after the operation of the new roads started and significant time savings achieved.
- Although the three level charging is accepted it is not clear how well this is understood by drivers and how it influences behaviour.
- Two private proposals for additional concessions - a tunnel and a Northern Access to Santiago - have been approved by the Government and let as additional tolled facilities using the same technology.
- The concessionaires are discussing how to use electronic tags to pay for other services and the introduction of congestion charging in critical parts of the untolled network seems a natural extension.
Jamaica – 2006
Jamaica’s Highway 2000 expands toll collection infrastructure with opening of Portmore gateway, completing the first phase of a three-tiered project.
Jamaican Infrastructure Operator, which operates the roadway for the TransJamaican Highway Ltd., increases order for Intelligent Transportation Society of America member TransCore radio frequency identification (RFID) eGo tags. The paper-thin windshield sticker tag, which operates at 902-928 MHz frequency band, expands global use providing an economical RFID tag technology that can increase patrons' migration to wireless payment of tolls and speed traffic throughput.
The Jamaican Toll Roads Act, passed back in 2002, provided the charter for Highway 2000, a public-private partnership between the Government of Jamaica and the developer TransJamaican Highway Ltd.
Just one year later in October of 2003 the first phase of Highway 2000 was opened, commonly known as the Old Harbour bypass and stretching for some 13 km from Bushy Park to Sandy Bay, and included Jamaica's first toll plaza. They have now completed the last portion of Phase one, and one of the most essential, the Portmore Causeway (Portmore is a city with approx. 250,000 inhabitants), which links Portmore to Kingston, a vital economic gateway. The Portmore section of Highway 2000 includes 7 kilometres of highway, a six-lane bridge, and a 21-lane toll plaza.
The concept of a TransJamaican Highway was first considered over 40 years ago and revived in 1994 when it was determined that Jamaica needed to employ the Build-Operate-Transfer model. As a public-private sector initiative, a concept gaining favor around the world, Highway 2000 is 100 percent financed by the developer, TransJamaican Highway Ltd.
Toll roads have been a part of public transportation throughout the world for centuries, and in use in Jamaica since the 18th century as thoroughfares built on private estates. These roads were used to improve the movement of goods to markets or the wharves and were usually in better condition than the public roads, so many preferred to use the estate route. Estate owners set up a gate through which users paid a toll to get through as a means to pay for maintaining the road. Today, with the popularity of automobiles in the 21st century and transportation demands escalating, toll roads are again a means to build and maintain roads in Jamaica.
About The Family of eGo RFID Technology
TransCore's eGo sticker tag is a 915 MHz radio frequency programmable, beam-powered, windshield-mounted sticker tag ideal for applications requiring low-cost and high performance. These paper-thin, non-battery tags are easily installed and are appropriate for electronic toll collection, airport access, airport ground transportation management, and security access.
The latest eGo technology is the eGo Plus sticker tag, which can support multiple protocols and make it effortless to migrate from mixed-tag population to a common tag. The high-speed tag has a read range up to 31.5 feet (9.6 meters) and 2048-bit read/write memory at a fraction of the cost for hard-case-battery tags. An additional benefit of the windshield sticker tag is that it adheres to the windshield as opposed to Velcro, reducing the vast majority of misreads and violations because of a customer inaccurately holding up or waving a tag. This benefit also reduces the operational and system demands to process violations, streamlining manpower and system needs.
Today, more than 2.7 million eGo and eGo Plus tags are in active service worldwide including Georgia, Texas, Washington, Puerto Rico, Shenzhen, China, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. http://www.itsa.org/industry_member_news_content/c219_d754/News/Industry_amp_Member_News.html
Singapore - 1998
Japan - 2001
Hong Kong - 1998
The scheme consists of ERP gantries located at all entrances to Singapore's central business district - areas within the Central Area such as the Downtown Core. They may also be located along roads with heavy traffic to discourage usage during peak hours. A device known as an in-vehicle unit (IU) is affixed on the lower front windscreen within sight of the driver, in which a stored-value card, the CashCard, is inserted. Installation of IUs in all Singaporean cars is mandatory. Non-Singaporean cars entering Singapore must either rent an IU or pay a daily flat fee.
When a car equipped with an IU passes under a gantry, a toll is deducted from Cashcard. Sensors installed on the gantries communicate with the chip in the CashCard via a dedicated short-range radio communication system, and indicate the deducted amount to the driver via an LCD screen on the IU. The deducted amount is dependent on the time and location (varying from S$0.25 to S$3.00 for passenger cars). No toll is imposed during off-peak hours.
Siemens Plessey sold this technology to Singapore, and the project was spearheaded by Steven Yue, then Directing Manager of Plessey, Asia.
According to a paper presented in the World Roads Conference 2006, the Land Transport Authority has been testing a system based on the Global Positioning System that may eventually replace the current Electronic Road Pricing system. The proposed system overcomes the inflexibility of having physical gantries, which "are not so flexible when it comes to re-locating them".
A lightweight version of this same technology is implemented for use on parking, known as the Electronic Parking System (EPS). It has since been adopted in favour by several carpark operators, superseding the use of autopay tickets or parking coupons. These systems have also typically switched to charging by the minute.
The ERP system, although understandably unpopular among most road users, has helped to tweak road usage patterns since its implementation. The LTA reported that road traffic decreased by nearly 25,000 vehicles during peak hours, with average road speeds increasing by about 20%. Within the restricted zone itself, traffic has gone down by about 13% during ERP operational hours, with vehicle numbers dropping from 270,000 to 235,000. It has been observed that car-pooling has increased, while the hours of peak vehicular traffic has also gradually eased and spread into off-peak hours, suggesting a more productive use of road space. In addition, it has been noted that average road speeds for expressways and major roads remained the same, despite rising traffic volumes over the years.
The system has its share of problems. Road users pointed out that the implementation of an ERP gantry along any road simply moves the traffic somewhere else, potentially causing traffic bottlenecks along smaller roads. For example, the ERP gantry along the Central Expressway (CTE) has been said to have caused traffic to increase substantially in north-south trunk roads, such as along the Thomson Road and Serangoon Road corridors. The rising traffic prompted the LTA to add a gantry along Thomson Road, while Upper Serangoon Road's capacity was increased somewhat with the building of a new viaduct. Similarly, the ERP gantry on the East Coast Parkway's west-bound carriageway was said to have led to increased traffic on Geylang Road and Nicoll Highway, where ERP gantries were also placed subsequently. This "chasing after the jam" phenomena has led the general public to question its effectiveness.
While ERP gantries on major roads and expressways have usually been implemented on the carriageway which is city-bound, major traffic congestion on the north-bound carriageway of the CTE has led to the LTA considering its implementation there, a suggestion which has been met with protests by motorists who questioned the need to pay for the time they take to go home. The LTA, sensing the displeasure, attempted to alleviate the situation by widening the road between the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) and Braddell Road in 2003, in response to public feedback which frequently attributed the jams to this congested stretch. In addition, the LTA expressed hopes that the completion of the North East MRT Line will help provide an alternative form of transport for north-eastern residents, who usually use the CTE to reach the city. The pending completion of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway in 2008 has also been cited as a solution to the almost nightly jams. There was also suggestions for the CTE to be further widened, including the construction of a viaduct, which the LTA rejected citing its infeasibility. When the jams continued to persist, the LTA finally made the announcement on 30 May 2005 that a new ERP gantry will be setup on the northbound stretch between the PIE and Braddell Road from 1 August 2005.
The Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system commenced operation in March 2001. It is part of a nationwide, interoperable ETC system plan in Japan. In Japan the funding of ETC is entirely at the government level, with no requirement for financial involvement from the private sector other than during the trials. As of 2006, the ETC system has become widely disseminated throughout the Japanese highway network and more than 60% of all vehicles now pass through tollgates without stopping.
ETC is available at almost all tollgates and is used by a majority of vehicles passing tollgates in Japan. It enables not only cashless, nonstop payment at tollgates, but also flexible toll structures taking advantage of its information processing capabilities. Moreover, an advanced discount service according to the frequency of use was inaugurated last year.
Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. (DNP) has developed Japan’ s first FeliCa integrated Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) card, and has commenced shipment to Toyota Finance Corporation (Toyota Finance,) as an ETC card capable of using the contactless credit system “QUICPay.”
High level heat resistance is required of on-board ETC cards, but with existing technology it has so far been difficult to apply sufficient heat resistance to contactless smart cards comprised of multiple parts including the antenna. DNP developed the FeliCa integrated ETC card via the skilful adaptation of its existing technology in answer to the increase in such needs.
The ETC service began with a section of the expressways in the Chiba district and Okinawa Prefecture, which was administered by the JHPC (Japan Highway Public Corporation), as well as with part of the Metropolitan Expressways. The Japanese Highway Public Corporation is developing this system in order to reduce congestion at tollgates, which was found to be 30% higher than at any other place along the toll roads. This system uses dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) to ensure communication between the on-board equipment and the roadside radio unit; it also uses ETC cards that keep a history of use and payment records.
Hong Kong applies Global Positioning Systems to ETC (1998)
Beginning in 1998, trials were conducted in Hong Kong to test the use of global positioning systems (GPS) to replace dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) as the key device in electronic toll collection. The GPS replaces charging gantries with "virtual" charging points, so that cars equipped with an on-board GPS unit can communicate with the GPS satellite and deduce the appropriate toll.
China (implementation dates unknown)
There are currently ETC systems in Guandong Province, Beijing, and Shanghai. The city of Shanghai is developing a global smart card for transport applications like ETC, metro use, and parking. Recently, Q-Free carried out an ETC test, using a two-piece onboard unit (OBU). A complete transaction, deducting money from the E-purse, was successfully carried out. This technology is considered a forerunner of OBU’s soon to be introduced into China, which are expected to enable a smooth transition from manual to electronic systems.
Australia - 2000
Australia has the world’s largest open highway electronic toll collection system, and its CityLink ETC system connects 22km of highway (and 17 tolling gantries) in and around Melbourne. CityLink uses a combination of 5.8GHz CEN-compliant dedicated short-range communication links for charging vehicles equipped with an e-Tag, license plate recognition for enforcement, and an image-based vehicle detection and classification system.
CityLink is a system of tollways in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The company Transurban was awarded the contract to construct two new freeways—labelled the Western and Southern Links—directly linking a number of existing freeways to provide a continuous, high-capacity road route to, and around, the central business district.
When electronic toll collection or ETC was introduced to Australia starting in the mid 1990's there were already several competing technologies world-wide and two incompatible systems were introduced by different operators of toll roads in east coast states of Australia. It was soon apparent that this would limit the take-up of the technology, so in 1998 the governments of Australia decided to adopt the European CEN Standard for all future projects. Despite this, interoperability was not immediately achieved and a standardisation committee was formed to examine interoperability between the different suppliers' products. The result was Australian standard AS 4962 (Int) published in 2001.
Key facts: CityLink
- 22-kilometre/14-mile motorway in Melbourne, Australia
- Connects three major urban freeways: the West Gate, Tullamarine and Monash
- Incorporates two long tunnels, one major bridge and an elevated roadway, plus 17 interchanges
- One of the world’s first fully electronic toll roads
- Commenced tolling traffic in January 2000
- 100 per cent owned and managed by Transurban
- Concession until 2034
- One million e-TAGs in use, and
- 1.4 million vehicles (or over 40 percent of the State’s vehicles) registered with CityLink.
The system came under fire in 2003 when it was found that e-tags did not warn drivers when their batteries were running low, and non-functioning batteries caused vehicles not to be detected by the toll sensors, thereby attracting additional charges and fines. In the meantime, CityLink recognized that e-Tags have a lifespan and has undertaken a proactive campaign for customers to contact them should their e-Tag not beep.
There is widespread use of electronic toll collection (ETC) technology for toll roads and bridges in the state. Dual protocol systems allow interoperability with ETC systems in Brisbane and Melbourne. Sydney has about 450,000 ETC tags, a number expected to grow to 1.5 million in two years. More than 900,000 ETC tags are in use in Melbourne (Citylink). All buses use ETC technology, as do 85 percent of Sydney's taxis.
Key facts: Westlink M7
- 40-kilometre/25-mile motorway in Sydney, Australia
- 45 per cent Transurban owned; 100 percent Transurban operated customer service
- Opened to traffic in December 2005
- 100 per cent electronically tolled, and
- Australia’s first distance-based system
- Concession until 2037, and
- Strong industrial and residential growth corridor.
In addition to CityLink, a new active transponder ETC system called E Toll has been applied to the Gateway Bridge and the Logan Motorway in Brisbane, Australia (2001). E Toll will operate side by side with the existing Touch Tag (a passive contact button in a heavy-duty plastic case) with an installed user base of 60,000. The E Toll technology allows drivers to pass through tollgates at 30km/h without stopping. There are dedicated lanes at toll plazas so that motorists are not delayed in queues. Vehicles using the technology are fitted with automatic vehicle identification (AVI) equipment to ensure that the correct toll can be applied.
Emerging Technology and Websites
Key Technology Terms:
The Global Positioning System (GPS), is currently the only fully-functional satellite navigation system. More than two dozen GPS satellites are in medium Earth orbit, transmitting signals allowing GPS receivers to determine the receiver's location, speed and direction.
Since the first experimental satellite was launched in 1978, GPS has become an indispensable aid to navigation around the world, and an important tool for map-making and land surveying. GPS also provides a precise time reference used in many applications including scientific study of earthquakes, and synchronization of telecommunications networks.
Developed by the United States Department of Defense, it is officially named NAVSTAR GPS (Navigation Satellite Timing and Ranging Global Positioning System). The satellite constellation is managed by the United States Air Force 50th Space Wing. Although the cost of maintaining the system is approximately US$400 million per year, including the replacement of aging satellites, GPS is free for civilian use as a public good. (Wikipedia, citation below)
Open Road Tolling (ORT) is the collection of tolls on toll roads in three or more adjacent lanes without the use of lane dividing barriers or toll-booths. The major advantage to ORT is that users are able to drive through at highways speeds without having to slow for barriers. In some installations ORT may also reduce congestion at the toll plazas by allowing more vehicles per hour / per lane. The disadvantage to ORT is the possibility of "leakage" (defined as "violators" who do not pay). Leakage may either be written off as an expense by the toll operator, or offset in part or whole by fees and fines collected against violators.
The tolls are typically collected using RFID systems like FasTrak, Fast Lane, I-Pass, or E-ZPass. Some systems may also use license plate images as payment. An example of a system that collects tolls with plate images is the 407 ETR in Canada. To date, license plate bases systems have struggled somewhat with accuracy and customer service issues. The 407 ETR recently settled a lawsuit related to potential incorrect charges on the system (Wikipedia, citation below)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. Chip-based RFID tags contain silicon chips and antennae. Passive tags require no internal power source, whereas active tags require a power source. (Wikipedia, citation below)
RFID is used in a variety of ITS. However, it is particularly applicable to electronic toll collection, electronic road pricing, and congestion pricing schemes.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read the license plates on vehicles. As of 2006, systems can scan number plates at around one per second on cars traveling up to 100 mph (160 km/h). They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of electronic toll collection on pay-per-use roads, and monitoring traffic activity such as red light adherence in an intersection.
ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the licence plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver. Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of day. A powerful flash is included in at least one version of the intersection-monitoring cameras, serving to both illuminate the picture and make the offender aware of his or her mistake. ANPR technology tends to be region specific, owing to plate variation from place to place.
ANPR is sometimes known by various other terms:
- Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR)
- Automatic vehicle identification (AVI)
- Car plate recognition (CPR)
- License plate recognition (LPR)
(Wikipedia, citation below)
The Free Flow system (also known as Televía or TAG in Spanish-speaking countries), is an electronic deposit system used to pay for the passage of automobiles on toll roads. With TAG, cars need not stop nor even slow down for payment.
The TAG system is no larger that a wallet and is extremely light. It is normally placed behind the rearview mirror of the car, but can also be installed in a more visible location on the windshield. With the electromagnetic system, the payment is made more easily and more rapid transit is possible.
This wireless system is at the vanguard of smart payment in tollways, especially in countries with appreciable economic power. Countries like Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, and Israel, among others, employ it in their highway systems both urban and rural.
Free Flow payment system
The procedure for the colleciton of the toll is performed by installing "collection booths," which are no more than a frame erected over the path of the highway, with an electronic sensor suspended over each lane accompanied by cameras. As the automobile nears the frame, the cameras snap a picture of the license plate, the individual driver's TAG is detected by the sensor, and the payment is processed in a fraction of a second. At the moment the payment is processed, the TAG generates a characteristic whistle-like sound. The sound indicates that the transaction was successful and the toll has been charged; if the TAG is silent, the transaction did not occur and a ticket will be sent to the violator.
IPICO INC.: IPICO is a RFID globally visible commerce supply-chain solution supplier with operations in Canada, USA, France, South Africa, China and Australia. IPICO produces smart labels and tags based on the IP-X air protocol. IPICO's low interference readers comply with regulatory requirements in major geographical regions, and allow for multi-reader rollout in close proximity. The IPICO DIMI middleware platform manages applications in large-scale, distributed systems, and allows for effective device management, data switching and data security. IPICO's low cost RFID products excel at long read range, fast multi-read anti-collision and high thru-beam read-speeds of dynamic tag populations. These products are used to optimize the management of items, people, animals and processes within the logistic supply chain and other value chains. For further information, go to www.ipico.com
DYNA GROUP INC.: Dyna Group is an Electronic Engineering company of professionals who are highly experienced in carrying out comprehensive projects. Its group of engineers and technicians possess more than 20 years of experience in automation and industrial instrumentation projects, together with electronic and electromechanical circuits design as well as the Hardware and Software know-how of the components required by such systems. Dyna Group integrates systems adding its own know-how to existing technologies. It also manufactures equipment and apparatus related to certain requirements of its applications. Dyna Group covers the following areas: Toll Collection Systems, Illuminated Signals with LEDs, Industrial Automation with PLCs, Access and Parking Control and Information Processing Systems.
MARK IV transponders
Supplies more than 70 percent of North American transponders. Involved in Canada’s 407 system. Since 1994, MARK IV transponders have been the backbone of the E-ZPassSM ETC network, the continent's largest interoperable ETC deployment. Operated by the InterAgency Group (IAG), a consortium of 22 transportation agencies and port authorities spread across 11 states, the E-ZPassSM network is powered by MARK IV transponders and readers. See http://www.ivhs.com/ for more information.
IRD (International Road Dynamics Inc.)
IRD (International Road Dynamics Inc.) is a world leader in highway traffic management products and systems, operating internationally in the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) industry. IRD ETC Key Installations: Throughout Canada, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, and many other countries. See http://www.irdinc.com/ for more information.
Transcore has met with a great deal of success using RFID for homeland security, road pricing, and more. Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA) Transcore Key Installations:Crescent City Connection; New Orleans, La.; Dulles Greenway Toll Collection System; Dulles Toll Road Smart Tag™ System; Florida Department of Transportation; Georgia 400, Atlanta; Harris County (Houston) Toll Road Authority; Houston TranStar; Kansas Turnpike Authority; Lee County Toll Collection System (Florida); Massachusetts Turnpike; North Texas Tollway Authority; Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; Orlando-Orange County (Florida) Expressway E-Pass Toll System; Pennsylvania Turnpike; Brazil, Ponte Rio-Niterói, Rio de Janeiro; Manila Skyway See http://www.transcore.com/ for more information.
Thales has developed a full range of open, closed and electronic toll collection systems for public and private motorways, bridges and tunnels. Well established on the European highway tollgate systems market for many years, the company has recently supplied almost 2,000 electronic toll collection beacons - now in operation on all French motorways - as well as on-board units, allowing drivers to be automatically billed without stopping their vehicle. See: http://www.roadtraffictechnology.com/contractors/tolling/thales/
Global Engineering Alliance (GEA)
The GEA Group, headquartered in Bochum, Germany, is a globally successful technology group with operating companies in around 50 countries.
GEA stands for Global Engineering Alliance. The company now focuses on specialty mechanical engineering - especially process engineering and equipment - and plant engineering. The GEA Group is one of the world's market and technology leaders in 90 percent of its businesses.
See: http://www.geagroup.com/en/ or
Q-Free's technology has been developed in Trondheim, Norway. The evolution of ETC made it possible to speed up the process of toll payment. Q-Free has played a decisive role in taking the development another step further with the introduction of the Free Flow (MLFF) system, where vehicles are tolled without the need to pass through specific toll plazas or lanes, or reduce their speed. Implemented in Norway, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Australia, China. See http://www.qfree.no/ for more information.
Kapsch TrafficCom has won Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) contracts, based on microwave technology, in China and India.
In China, the company is set to cooperate with a local integrator to equip the Badaling Expressway, a crucial arterial road in the Beijing region, with an ETC system. In India, Kapsch will-by March 2007-construct a total of 55 toll lanes for the Delhi-Gurgaon section of National Highway No. 8 on behalf of the concessionaire DS Construction. In addition to 16 electronic toll lanes, Kapsch subsidiary DPS Automation will equip the remaining lanes with manual toll systems. See www.kapsch.net for more information.
Highway Toll Administration, LLC (HTA)
Highway Toll Administration, LLC (HTA) provides electronic toll collection services, primarily to rental car agencies. HTA, with its proprietary patent-pending systems and
procedures, is an industry pioneer and the only company currently providing electronic toll payment services for rental vehicles in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Founded in October 2002, HTA has been developing and refining its technology to the point where today it is poised for widespread adoption. For more information about HTA, visit www.htallc.com
American Traffic Solutions, Inc.
American Traffic Solutions, Inc. is the leading provider of state-of-the-art, turn-key vehicle detection and imaging technology designed and built specifically for photo traffic enforcement. The company was founded in 1992 and has provided some of the largest and most successful traffic safety and enforcement programs in the world, including New York City, Philadelphia, Houston and Seattle. ATS operates or supports automated traffic safety and enforcement programs in Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Calgary Alberta Canada. ATS's patent pending PlatePassTM solution provides a unique, convenient, consumer offering to the rental car customer. The technology and service is built based on real-world experience providing toll violation processing solutions to some of the largest Toll Authorities in the United States. www.atsol.com.
Cendant Car Rental Group, LLC,
Cendant Car Rental Group, LLC, subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE:CD), is the largest car rental company serving North America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand. Through its subsidiaries and franchisees, the company operates the Avis Rent A Car system, the industry leader in customer service, and the Budget Rent A Car system, the leading value-oriented rental car brand. For more information about Avis and Budget, visit www.avis.com and www.budget.com.
The InTranS Group is part of the worldwide road transportation business sector of CS (Communications and Systèmes) in France. CS is a technical engineering company with offerings in the transit, defence, ATC (Air Traffic Control), outsourcing and other related markets.
The road transportation business of CS includes major ITS and ETC systems operating in over 20 countries and across five continents. In addition CS also designs and manufactures ACMs, the Melodhy 5.8Ghz ETC tag / antenna system and emergency roadside callbox networks. CS subsidiary company locations include Croatia (ECSAT), the UK (RTI) and the US (InTranS). CS also has project subsidiaries supporting major ongoing customer operations such as those in Santiago Chile. See www.intransgroup.com for more information.
How RFID handles the radio frequencies heavily influences the use inexpensive passive RFID tags for ETC.
IP-X technology is a relatively new technology; it was first successfully tested in 2004. IP-X was developed by a South African RFID company, iPico Holdings (www.ipico.com). The first application to Electronic Toll Collection in South America was successfully implemented in 2006. (See Argentina Case Study.) iPico Holdings is testing IP-X technology in various worldwide locations for different purposes, including ETC.
How IP-X technology handles radio frequencies is what makes it somewhat revolutionary. As of January 2007, there was not a great deal of information on IP-X technology, as directly related to ETC. However, entities looking for a lower-cost ETC system would do well to research radio frequency issues and ETC.
A basic overview of IP-X: IP-X technology is generally known as an RFID air-interface anti-collision protocol that does not require reader modulation in the field. The system employs a radio frequency transmission method called "tag talks only" (TTO), as opposed to "reader talks first" (RTF) and "tag talks first" (TTF) methods. Utilized by RFID systems based on the EPC global or ISO 18000-6 standards, RTF has interrogators (readers) initiating communication between a tag and reader in a set of sequences. The interrogator sends energy to the tags, but the tags sit idle until the reader requests them to respond. The reader can identify a specific tag and request data from it by using a complex sequence of commands to select a particular subset of tags, taking one tag from this subset using an anti-collision algorithm, and reading the required data it contains.
Miscellaneous new technology-company information
Hot Lane Enforcement
Some tolling agencies have begun converting high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. HOT lanes allow multiple-occupancy vehicles free access during off-peak times of the day, while charging all vehicles during peak-usage hours to maximize traffic flow and encourage ride sharing.
This system uses ETC to collect fees, but needs to determine the number of occupants in a given vehicle. Agencies offering HOT lanes are testing a range of methods. These methods range from facial-recognition cameras mounted around tollbooths to systems that are completely manual.
Efkon USA is marketing a system designed to solve this problem. The product, called HOT Shot, is based on ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID and infrared (IR) technology that will charge driver accounts linked to RFID transponders attached to vehicle windshields.
The HOT Shot concept would put the onus on the occupants to convey the number of occupants in the vehicle before entering a HOT lane. HOT Shot consists of a compact device (13 by 6 by 2 centimeters) carried inside a vehicle and containing a UHF RFID active transponder for transmitting the driver's ID to an electronic toll collection system. It also utilizes a high-frequency (HF) interrogator, a fingerprint scanner and an IR transponder.
After a driver registers for a HOT Shot device from a local tolling agency, that person and up to seven passengers who regularly ride in the vehicle are added to a list of occupants linked to that device. During registration at the tolling agency, the driver and occupants must submit to a fingerprint scan, which is encoded to an RFID-enabled smart card—containing an NXP Mifare ISO 14443 standard HF tag—issued to each registrant. This card must be carried whenever a person uses the HOT system.
Before driving through a HOT lane, each occupant in the car—who must already be listed in the database of registered drivers or occupants—presents the smart card to the HOT Shot device. The device reads each card and prompts its owner to swipe a finger across the scanner for authentication purposes. According to Efkon, the system enables the account holder to use the HOT lanes and be charged accurately, based on the number of passengers in the car.
The HOT Shot device transmits the driver's account identification number to the RFID interrogators, which are already in place in existing electronic toll-collection sites. It transmits the passenger information via the IR transponder, to an IR reader installed by the tolling agency. IR is used instead of RFID for transmitting passenger data, says Bowrey, because it can transmit a larger amount of data than RFID while the car is moving at highway speeds through the HOT lane.
The HOT Shot device runs on a lithium-ion battery. This battery is periodically recharged by a small solar panel on its windshield-facing side. The company claims it can power the device for 10 years.
The back-end software Efkon provides will link into existing toll systems' software, allowing it to charge accounts according to the number of occupants. It will also be able to charge according to time, in the event that rates change based on the time of day. No tolling authority is yet using or testing the HOT Shot system, says Bowrey, but the company is pursuing organizations that have already deployed or are using HOT lanes in a several states, including California and Texas. These tolling agencies use active RFID transponders issued to drivers to charge single riders (excluding motorcyclists), while cars with two occupants (or, in some cases, three) ride for free during all but peak traffic hours.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID Journal/Website: http://www.rfidjournal.com/apparel2006/index.php
RFID Journal: Article about UHF RFID's Key Constraints
The interference issue in RF protocols -- Reader-talks-first versus Tag-talks-first
IPICO and Dyna Group Launch South America's First Passive RFID Electronic Toll Collection System
RFID air-interface protocol called IP-XTM.
RFID System Technology
Good explanation of RFID
Wikipedia/References used in above:
Automatic Vehicle Identification
Open Road Tolling
Energy website (UK based) specifically article: The Energy Saving Trust, Pricing Our Roads: Is there a Better Way? 2005
Korea: website summary of ITS technology and its use in traffic in Korea. http://www.itskorea.or.kr/eng/menu8.html
Korea: Paper about congestion pricing and electronic toll collection in Korea: http://www.iges.or.jp/APEIS/RISPO/inventory/db/pdf/0056.pdf
Pakistan (ETC) http://www.answers.com/topic/electronic-toll-collection
Paper survey on toll collection by the World Bank: http://rru.worldbank.org/Documents/Toolkits/Highways/pdf/12.pdf
Europe: Website that summaries the companies and types of ITS technology used in Europe http://www.transport-pricing.net/suppliers.html
General website on traffic pricing in Europe: http://www.transport-pricing.net/
Turnpikes and Toll Roads in Nineteenth-Century America (EH.Net Economic History encyclopedia)
National Alliance Against Tolls British anti toll group, but "News" pages includes USA and other countries.
EU: Tolls and user charges for vehicles
Autoroutes (France) French site that will give estimates for tolls payable between different points in Europe
The Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike is an example of an early toll road in the USA designed, created, and maintained by recent European immigrants
Pictures of the College Road, Dulwich, London SE21 Tollgate.
Paper by the world bank on toll roads
Paper comparing ITS projects: The Americans and the French: Do they do it better?
Interesting web page that has links to many European cities—Including links to live feeds on current traffic situations in the areas as well as public transportation websites
2006 PowerPoint presentation on the challenges of making an inoperable system in Europe:
Presentations from 2006 International Seminar in ITS Road Applications
References (website articles)
Commuter Behavioral Model for the Pilot Program of Electronic Toll System Korea Express Highways: Kyungwoo Kang http://ppc.uiowa.edu/drivingassessment/2003/Summaries/Downloads/Abstracts/DA2003_abstract12.pdf )
Road network summary
Descriptions of types of ETC payment systems
Italian company providing ETC
Descriptions of implemented systems
Company providing ETC
Description of Route 91 express lanes in California
Description of Toronto ETC system
Rather Random, but useful, Road Pricing Website
September 2006, Washington Background Toll Study
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Descriptions of types of ETC payment systems
Italian company providing ETC
Descriptions of implemented systems
Company providing ETC
Description of Route 91 express lanes in California
Description of Toronto ETC system
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