Disruption is not something we set out to do. It is something that happens because of what we do.

According to Brian Solis, the world-renowned digital analyst, this is the essence of the disruptive technologies that now pervade all industries. And the toll industry is no exception.

Disruptive technologies are radically different from the enhancing technologies that have been readily accepted by the market. It’s because they disrupt and challenge the current way of doing things. By analyzing disruptive technology trends across a variety of markets, the tolling industry will better understand its future—a future driven by customer demands for mobility, autonomy, safety, and security.

In order to keep pace with dizzying speed of innovation in the automotive industry or the highway safety programs being promoted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the tolling industry must face the inevitable: disruptive technologies are making their way to the roadside gantry, the back office, and the customer service center— so be prepared.

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How will you tackle what the future holds?

  1. Key to propelling the implementation of a disruptive technology is involving the stakeholders in an organization. The innovator and/or inventor, incumbent management, and production personnel must work collaboratively in strategizing, understanding, communicating, and executing the disruptive technology that will change the organization’s products or services.
  2. Thinking the ‘unthinkable’ and putting continuous effort into research will also be key in launching a disruptive technology. Making and executing the decision to implement a disruptive technology must be done with focused determination if it is to meet the growing demands of customers.
  3. Continuous monitoring of the targeted changes will provide data as to whether the disruptive technology is working for your particular adaptation. Since these strategic changes will directly impact the customer and stakeholder, strategies must be devised to deal with these impacts as well.

Unfortunately, there are factors that can impede an agency’s ability to respond to disruptive technologies. Being conscious of these factors can prevent an agency from being constrained by a hesitant, survival mentality. Denial, history, resistance to change, mindset, brand, sunk costs, profitability, and lack of imagination are among the culprits that can keep an agency from realizing the benefits of disruptive technology and its potential to drive efficiencies.

Virtually all drivers have mobile devices that can keep them connected 24/7. Due to this constant connectivity, it’s only logical that one of the first near-term disruptive technologies will be the advent of mobile devices serving as universal platforms for tolling payment processing and road-user charges—with apps that support mobility, mode choice, route choice, parking and multimodal payment processes.

Because of the explosive use of smartphones as payment devices, toll agencies across the globe are already analyzing mobile technology and how it can be effectively integrated into their operations.

While disruptive technologies may not transform the toll industry at large for several years, or even decades to come, evolving at the same pace as your customers is critical. Don’t miss out on the disruption your agency may need.

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Christine O'Loughlin

Christine O'Loughlin

Tolls Technology Specialist at RS&H, Inc.

Christine has over 20 years of experience in program, contract, and performance monitoring, as well as staff management. She’s skilled in quality assurance and contract compliance and provides consultant services to toll industry clients in the areas of customer service center operations, planning, back office systems, and quality control and assessment.

Contact Christine: Christine.OLoughlin@rsandh.com

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