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Author Topic: Sunpass and EZPass?  (Read 20168 times)

Mdcastle

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Sunpass and EZPass?
« on: August 04, 2012, 04:57:17 PM »

I heard that they plan to make the two systems interoperational. How would this would techinically, as I understand they are two different systems, with Sunpass being the less sophisticated of the two. (Unlike say MnPASS and EZPass which are identical hardware but Mn/DOT is too cheap and lazy to link them up.). How does the other hardware in the southeast, say the Carolinas and Georgia compare and is it possible those states will link up?

Aslo, why don't Florida rental cars come with Sunpass as an option. When I was down there I had the choice of either buying and activating a Sunpass, or choosing the rental cars unlimited toll by plate option at $45.00. Since I drove to the Keys just paying cash wasn't an option.

« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 04:59:29 PM by Mdcastle »
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1995hoo

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 05:21:31 PM »

From what I understand, the way it is to work for now is that if an E-ZPass user goes through a SunPass Only lane in Florida, before the toll authority in Florida sends out a bill they will query the E-ZPass database for the license plate number. If the query finds an E-ZPass account for that plate, that account gets billed.

Right now the same will not necessarily work on the other end because a SunPass will not communicate with the E-ZPass hardware and some E-ZPass agencies persist in using toll-machine arms. The arm doesn't go up unless the E-ZPass transponder triggers it. Obviously interoperability could be realized on facilities that don't use arms, but there would be a problem if some E-ZPass facilities were interoperable and some weren't because it's unclear how you'd communicate that fact to the SunPass user (short of putting up yet more signs, which I think most people would agree is a bad idea).

Don't know the answer to your other questions.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 06:32:30 PM »

I heard that they plan to make the two systems interoperational. How would this would techinically, as I understand they are two different systems, with Sunpass being the less sophisticated of the two. (Unlike say MnPASS and EZPass which are identical hardware but Mn/DOT is too cheap and lazy to link them up.). How does the other hardware in the southeast, say the Carolinas and Georgia compare and is it possible those states will link up?

TOLLROADSnews has written about this extensively (see below). I think it's coming - soon.  There's a lot of traffic (both commercial vehicles and automobiles) along the U.S. Atlantic Coast between the E-ZPass states (currently as far south as Virginia, but North Carolina is apparently joining soon) and Florida. 

[On edit] See this report from June 2012, which I believe is from a source in Naples, Florida:  Florida's SunPass soon to be interoperable with E-ZPass in 14 states

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In 2007, Florida's transportation priority was widening roads; toll system compatibility was put on the back burner. But times have changed.

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Within months, SunPass devices will be electronically interoperable with E-ZPass systems, according to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise. The state is working with the E-ZPass Group to establish a partnership where Florida's SunPass can be used while driving in other states, and vice versa.

TOLLROADSnews March (2012): E-ZPass group announces offer of Affiliate membership to push interoperability

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As director of toll operations in January Rick Nelson said the Turnpike was beginning procurement of new multimode readers and larger servers to handle E-ZPass  customer files. They are looking for 4-mode readers to read 6B, E-ZPass IAG, Allegro and 6C tags. Like North Carolina Florida's SunPass is now basically a 6B system though they still had a sizable number of Allegro tags in service

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Nelson said at that time they were 90% of the way to an agreement with the E-ZPass group. He was hopeful they could begin interstate electronic toll operations by the end of the year. Nelson was dismissed soon afterwards, and his position is still vacant.

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Diane Guitierrez Scaccetti, chief executive of the FloridaTurnpike has been getting active on interoperability herself and recently joined the board of directors of the Alliance for Toll Interoperability.

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The E-ZPass Group announcement says that interoperability is being pursued in response to congressional and customer desires, and mentions work with North Carolina, Florida and other tollers, and says the goal of national interoperability is within reach "in the near future."

TOLLROADSnews May 2011: E-ZPass and Florida working on toll interoperability - startup by end of year?

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E-ZPass and Florida's SunPass have established a working group on interoperability and the executive director of the E-ZPass Group PJ Wilkins has said it should be possible to have this working by the end of this year. He was speaking from the podium Sunday in front of 500 attendees at the IBTTA's Interoperability conference at the Legacy Marriott in Plano/Dallas Texas.

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Interoperability between E-ZPass and Florida would mean that vehicles with E-ZPass transponder accounts would be able to drive on Florida's many tollroads and have their regular E-ZPass/I-Pass/iZoom/FAST LANE accounts debited for the tolls. Also Florida motorists with SunPass or the compatible Orlando brand E-PASS could drive throughout E-ZPass territory and have their Florida accounts debited. Tolls in North Carolina would also be part of E-ZPass/SunPass interoperability. This would bring together two of four large electronic toll blocs in the US accounting for about 70% of the country's transponder and license plate tolls - the remaining two blocs being Texas and California. A fifth smaller bloc based on ISO 18000 6C protocols is Washington state, Georgia, Utah and Colorado.

« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 06:54:20 PM by cpzilliacus »
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realjd

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 02:08:46 AM »

I heard that they plan to make the two systems interoperational. How would this would techinically, as I understand they are two different systems, with Sunpass being the less sophisticated of the two. (Unlike say MnPASS and EZPass which are identical hardware but Mn/DOT is too cheap and lazy to link them up.). How does the other hardware in the southeast, say the Carolinas and Georgia compare and is it possible those states will link up?

Aslo, why don't Florida rental cars come with Sunpass as an option. When I was down there I had the choice of either buying and activating a Sunpass, or choosing the rental cars unlimited toll by plate option at $45.00. Since I drove to the Keys just paying cash wasn't an option.



My understanding is that Sunpass is the more advanced technology and part of the issue is the EZ-Pass bureaucracy being slow to adapt.

You didn't realize the third option - sign up for a transponderless Sunpass account for toll-by-plate and tie your rental tag to the account. It doesn't work in Places like Orlando with staffed booths but does in toll-by-plate locales like Miami.
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Duke87

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 03:13:41 PM »

Or, if you're spending less than $20 in tolls, just walk in and buy a SunPass mini at any of the multitude of places they sell them. Stick it on the windshield, run through all your tolls, peel it off and dispose of it before you return the car. I'm told it will still work if you scotch tape it to the windshield rather than peel and stick as intended (and I see no reason why it wouldn't), though I did not test this.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 05:34:59 PM »

Yes I guess I should have researched more  It just seemed simpler to select an option at the rental counter than find a place selling a Sunpass Mini, activate it, rig it to the windshield so it didn't fall off but didn't leave a sticky residue either, then deactivate it (or are you suggesting not bothering to close the account, just donate the balance to Sunpass and still save substantially over toll-by-plate). Do you need the web to activate one, as I don't have a smartphone and didn't have internet access until I got to my motel three tollbooths later in Sarasota, I don't recall if it was available at MCO.

I do plan to go back to Florida as we felt two days in the Keys wasn't long enough, and they're planning on expanding the Harry Potter land at Universal (my sister is a nut, I haven't seen any of the movies or read the books.)

My comment about Sunpass being less advanced, I wasn't trying to offend anyone from the Sunshine State, I just heard a comment (here) that Sunpass was chosen because it was cheaper to implement than EZPass, although maybe even if it's true more expensive isn't better. And maybe a dumb question, but with all the different systems that they're trying to make interoperable, why not just switch to taking pictures of license plates instead of reading transponders?


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cpzilliacus

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 07:14:20 PM »

My comment about Sunpass being less advanced, I wasn't trying to offend anyone from the Sunshine State, I just heard a comment (here) that Sunpass was chosen because it was cheaper to implement than EZPass, although maybe even if it's true more expensive isn't better. And maybe a dumb question, but with all the different systems that they're trying to make interoperable, why not just switch to taking pictures of license plates instead of reading transponders?

The congestion tax cordon in Stockholm, Sweden, used transponders initially, but has now entirely switched to license plate reads. But it only has to read Swedish tags (tags from other EU nations are exempt from the congestion tax).  The London, England Congestion Charging Zone also relies on vehicle registrations in order to determine if the owner of a vehicle has paid (or owes) the £10 congestion charge.

IMO, because many of our states behave badly when it comes to designing license plates that can be easily read by automated license plate reader hardware and software.  Here is an example of one that's especially hard for some ALPR systems to read.

We also have a wild proliferation of plate designs in the U.S. and Canada.
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1995hoo

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 08:40:56 PM »

I can verify the SunPass Mini works with scotch tape. That's how mine is attached and it's worked flawlessly.
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realjd

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 10:50:10 PM »

Yes I guess I should have researched more  It just seemed simpler to select an option at the rental counter than find a place selling a Sunpass Mini, activate it, rig it to the windshield so it didn't fall off but didn't leave a sticky residue either, then deactivate it (or are you suggesting not bothering to close the account, just donate the balance to Sunpass and still save substantially over toll-by-plate). Do you need the web to activate one, as I don't have a smartphone and didn't have internet access until I got to my motel three tollbooths later in Sarasota, I don't recall if it was available at MCO.

I do plan to go back to Florida as we felt two days in the Keys wasn't long enough, and they're planning on expanding the Harry Potter land at Universal (my sister is a nut, I haven't seen any of the movies or read the books.)

My comment about Sunpass being less advanced, I wasn't trying to offend anyone from the Sunshine State, I just heard a comment (here) that Sunpass was chosen because it was cheaper to implement than EZPass, although maybe even if it's true more expensive isn't better. And maybe a dumb question, but with all the different systems that they're trying to make interoperable, why not just switch to taking pictures of license plates instead of reading transponders?




No offense taken; I was just explaining that one of the biggest reasons for inoperability. And the interoperability they're working on is plate image based, but it's only going to allow EZ-Pass in Sunpass lanes -not the other way around - due to politics between the EZ-Pass states.

I'm surprised the toll feature through your car company was so high. I'm used to seeing $5/day-ish for electronic tolls through the rental car company.

And yes, two days is nowhere near enough time to enjoy the Keys!
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Mdcastle

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Re: Sunpass and EZPass?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 11:28:01 PM »

Dollar had by far the most expensive Toll-By-Plate ($7.49 at day, $39.49 a week, came close to $45 with taxes and whatnat), wheras some companies are as cheap as $2 + tolls a day, but I rented with them before and they sent me a coupon code I couldn't refuse, I got what they called a mid-sized SUV (actually what most people would call a compact SUV) for less than the price of a compact car. I didn't rack up that many tolls (the Skyway, AA, and the extension one direction and back and forth on the Beachline a couple of times).
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