More and more commuters have recognized the convenience and benefits of managed lane roadways. Agencies are responding to this growing acceptance by expanding these facilities and creating a safe and efficient regional network of managed lanes. Due to the overall magnitude of these projects and their potential to dramatically improve mobility, agencies look to optimize toll operations by developing an end-to-end customer experience for motorists.
Connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology will ultimately reshape our entire transportation industry. The change is already happening — 41 states have either introduced or enacted autonomous vehicle legislation since 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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.
Has the American public become a society of shunpikers?
If you’re not familiar with the term, shunpiking is the act of deliberately avoiding roads that require payment of a fee or toll to travel on them, usually by traveling on alternate ‘free’ roads which bypass the toll road.
Shunpiking might be the way to go if you’re unveiling a new Harley Davidson on a beautiful autumn day, but for the average American it’s quite the contrary. In fact, recent surveys indicate that the public is far more supportive of toll roads and user fees than we are often led to believe.
My boss kept me late, and now I’m rushing to my son’s daycare trying not to pay the late fee of $1 per minute for every minute after 5:15 p.m. Why are we stopping?
Traffic congestion is going to cost me time and money. When faced with this, wouldn’t it be nice to have an option to use an express lane that avoids the congestion for less than the cost of the daycare penalty?
This is just one example of the cost of congestion and how express lanes can assist drivers by providing transportation choices. We spend a lot of time in our cars getting to and from our destinations, whether it’s getting to work on time, making it to practice or simply trying to stay on schedule.