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Preparing for the Future: Technology’s Impact on Tolling

It seems every day we are introduced to a new technological marvel. From the multitudes of mobile applications arriving daily on the market place, to vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology that will change transportation in inner-cities, technology is evolving at such a fast pace that, while exciting, it has become difficult to keep up. Individuals and industries alike are struggling to understand how the “latest and the greatest” technologies will simplify our lives and how to implement those technologies cost effectively to improve the user experience.

The tolling industry is certainly no different and arguably has the most to gain – or lose – from some of these advancements. While the macro-effect on the tolling industry from some of the newer technologies (e.g. connected and autonomous vehicles) will not be fully understood for quite some time, there are other advancements currently being implemented that will have a more immediate effect.

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Big Data: the Transportation Planning Revolution

While technology is often synonymous with automation, improved human connection and convenience, new technology and the sharing economy are changing and impacting many aspects of our daily lives. The way we travel – from planning a vacation to driving to work – can be enhanced with a large amount of data, apps, and friendly assistants like Siri, Alexa, and now Bixby.

Technology advances are occurring so quickly that ideas often go from fantasy to reality to dependency in only a few years, rather than decades. The evolution of smartphones within the past 10 years alone is a testament to the rapid pace of our advancing technology.

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3D: A Unifying Way to Design

With a typical roadway project including half a dozen different disciplines, trying to decipher a set of plans can be overwhelming, even for an engineer.

Up until recently, roadway plans have been a sea of information to sift through. Content is crammed into various views across several disciplines that make it challenging to ensure all of the puzzle pieces fit together properly.

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Dealing with Toll Opposition

With all of the variable approaches to tolling, the one constant we seem to face is opposition. The success of the interstate system and gas tax funding make it difficult for some individuals to accept pricing in providing transportation solutions.

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Emerging Transportation Technologies Can Provide a Sustainable Future

As we continue to see the many new advances that are being made in the area of transportation technology, we cannot help but wonder what the transportation and tolling industry will look like in 10 to 15 years.

Will the current business models for tolling agencies be the same? Will the need for more flexibility be the norm? No matter what, we can all agree that things as we know it will change.

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