If you can’t add signs to it, then you shouldn’t build it! As with any transportation project, if the user does not understand how to use the facility, the effectiveness of the project is diminished. With priced managed lanes falling within one of the most complicated transportation facilities, it’s imperative that the signage be evaluated early in the development process. All too often, this aspect of the project is overlooked, or put off, until too late in the development stages. This leads to late revisions in access locations, plan development, and public outreach strategies.
Toll agencies have been offered a “guaranteed” toll in some form or another for years. But, recent offerings associated with all electronic tolling and innovative contracting approaches related to the collection of tolls not associated with an established account (e.g. EZ-Pass, SunPass, TxTag, etc.) has developed newfound interest in guaranteed toll contracts – but with potential risks that you need to know.
Toll operations have evolved over the last couple of decades. With all electronic tolling rapidly replacing cash collections and becoming the baseline in the industry, many operations processes have become streamlined and highly efficient. All electronic tolling has been accompanied by new, robust back offices that can crunch through high volumes of transactions in little time with minimal or no operator intervention. These systems have changed how we do business, so much so that customer service centers are quickly being outsourced and located offsite because back offices accommodate secure, remote access.
Due to several factors, the highway funds for federal, state, and local transportation agencies have been depleted. Such factors include an increase in fuel efficient and alternative fueled vehicles, as well as financing dependent on a non-indexed gas tax (a federal gasoline tax not increased since 1993). The bottom line is that without a viable long-term finance approach these funds will continue to diminish. Since funding sources for transportation fail to adequately support the current and future needs of infrastructure construction and maintenance, a new technique is being developed to fairly collect these funds that will be sustainable and independent of or in lieu of the fuel tax.
Toll industry technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we collect tolls. An Independent Engineer (IE) works with and oversees the system integrator to ensure system development is consistent with the requirements established by the agency. By having the IE serve in this role, the agency no longer has to rely on the integrator as the single point of technical support for system knowledge. The IE can also use this information to participate in the operational training.