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Author Topic: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?  (Read 520 times)

Roadwarriors79

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Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« on: October 21, 2018, 02:56:06 PM »

So over the past few years, I have been on various cross-country road trips, and have used some of the toll roads out there. Most of them have been in Northern and Northeastern states. I was wondering if more of the long distance toll roads would be going towards a no-cash option (ie. all-electronic tolling/AET), electronic tolling with the pay-by-plate option, or more of an open-road system, where there are all-electronic gantries over the mainline, and tollbooths with a cash option by exiting off the mainline road. Personally, I still use cash, so I would prefer to have a cash option, and I have noticed that some states and toll road authorities are not exactly rushing to eliminate cash payments. I think what is done on toll roads in Illinois, New Hampshire, and Maine (to name a few areas) is the best balance for the motoring public. I am fine with toll roads that are more of commuter routes in some metro areas, as well as HOT lanes in other places, doing away with cash altogether.

I bring all this up because apparently in Maine, the Turnpike Authority wants to build a new toll plaza with cash lanes on the sides, and E-ZPass express lanes in the middle, to replace the York Toll Plaza. Most of the opposition wanted the York plaza to be replaced by AET gantries without the option to pay cash. I guess the Turnpike Authority won out, but years after the fact.

Also in the news for awhile are that fact that the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New York Thruway both plan to convert to AET over the next few years. Will that motivate other states to eventually give up on the ticket system? Or will they be holdouts indefinitely?
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NoGoodNamesAvailable

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 03:11:12 PM »

I saw a VMS today on the approach to the Newburgh-Beacon bridge warning of the "last exit before cash toll." The fact that cash has to be specified is pretty indicative of the state of cashless tolling in downstate NY. Cash tolls are very much becoming the exception to the rule.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 11:42:17 PM by NoGoodNamesAvailable »
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vdeane

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 06:24:26 PM »

Even that one will go away, eventually.  The Bridge Authority has it in the plans (no date at present, though) to convert to AET.
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jakeroot

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 07:41:15 PM »

The Tacoma Narrows bridge has one of two cash toll plazas in Washington (the other is on the Oregon side of the Bridge of the Gods). Its use seems to dwindle with each passing year, as more cars have toll tags, and rental car agencies back off the ridiculous fees. WA does not plan to build any more cash toll plazas, as far as I know; the 167 and 509 freeway extensions, which will be tolled, are to be completely electronic, with pay-by-plate systems if no tag is found.

On the other hand, I will only be fully satisfied once the US and Canada combine all toll tags into one, inter-operable device. That's a hefty goal, but that's what I want.
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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2018, 08:34:12 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.
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Roadwarriors79

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2018, 09:09:42 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.
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jakeroot

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2018, 11:18:11 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.

It's definitely the future for existing cash lanes. Hopefully tap-to-pay too, since that's quicker. Less people carrying cash than ever.
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webny99

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 09:30:20 AM »

In theory, I like the idea of providing cash lanes, but it's certainly less clumsy to eliminate all toll booths altogether. See: NY's Grand Island Bridges.

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2018, 09:39:19 AM »

I like open road.
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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2018, 09:48:06 AM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.

It's definitely the future for existing cash lanes. Hopefully tap-to-pay too, since that's quicker. Less people carrying cash than ever.

ISTHA's been replacing the coin buckets with these.  I've seen them replaced along I-355, and in parts along I-90, I-88, and I-94/294.  Of course, only about 12-13% of tollway users will use them (87% or better uses I-Pass/EZ Pass).
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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2018, 10:06:30 AM »

How did coin buckets work, anyway? Two zinc pennies weigh the same as one nickel (5 grams). Back when dimes were silver, two silver dimes also weighed the same as one nickel.
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abefroman329

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2018, 10:16:44 AM »

How did coin buckets work, anyway? Two zinc pennies weigh the same as one nickel (5 grams). Back when dimes were silver, two silver dimes also weighed the same as one nickel.
They use rotating discs to sort coins by diameter. 

My dad had a theory that the old Illinois Tollway hoppers had some sort of margin of error, that the gate would go up when it counted to 38 or 39 cents (when the toll was 40 cents).
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J N Winkler

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2018, 11:09:43 AM »

On the other hand, I will only be fully satisfied once the US and Canada combine all toll tags into one, inter-operable device. That's a hefty goal, but that's what I want.

I'm not sure efforts should stop even there--Mexico has toll roads with ETC too.  ETC interoperability is plausibly advantageous to the motorist throughout the entire extent of a paved road network that a given vehicle can reach without resorting to ferries for over-water crossings.  From this standpoint toll roads in the entirety of North and Central America (everything from Panama north) should be interoperable with each other, while there is no need to seek interoperability with any South American operators that have ETC (no road through the Darien Gap, RORO or container shipment of cars Houston-Cartagena possible but difficult to arrange, Panama City-Cartagena vehicle ferry a mirage), let alone any European or Asian ones.
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kalvado

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2018, 12:02:14 PM »

On the other hand, I will only be fully satisfied once the US and Canada combine all toll tags into one, inter-operable device. That's a hefty goal, but that's what I want.

I'm not sure efforts should stop even there--Mexico has toll roads with ETC too.  ETC interoperability is plausibly advantageous to the motorist throughout the entire extent of a paved road network that a given vehicle can reach without resorting to ferries for over-water crossings.  From this standpoint toll roads in the entirety of North and Central America (everything from Panama north) should be interoperable with each other, while there is no need to seek interoperability with any South American operators that have ETC (no road through the Darien Gap, RORO or container shipment of cars Houston-Cartagena possible but difficult to arrange, Panama City-Cartagena vehicle ferry a mirage), let alone any European or Asian ones.
Don't ask too much, you may get nothing after all. Getting things work smoothly within the USA is a good step anyway. That would, hopefully, create a good network and supply of equipment (tags and software) so joining existing system would be relatively easy....
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abefroman329

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2018, 12:14:06 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.
The Dulles Greenway has had them, if not the entire time it has existed, then close to it.  Probably because the tolls are so high and, when it opened, ETC was in its infancy in the US.
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TheStranger

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2018, 01:28:24 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.

When I was in the Philippines earlier this year (which is primarily cash booths for their toll roads), I've seen credit card options starting to show up at some of the booths on the NLEX.
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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2018, 02:53:25 PM »

I just noticed ISTHA has been installing credit card readers in the cash lanes at toll plazas, so I assume they won’t be going to all-ETC any time soon.

Wow! You almost never see a credit card option at toll booths. The only toll roads I've known to accept credit cards are the Kansas Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road.

My friend paid his toll with a US debit card at the toll booth between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey clear back in 2011.  We didn't even know they accepted it, but he couldn't find his Mexican cash at the toll booth.  (He thought a police officer had stolen it from his console when we were pulled over for speeding near Nuevo Laredo.  It turns out he had just stashed it away out of sight so that the officer wouldn't see it, but he forgot at the toll booth that he'd done so.)

On the other hand, I will only be fully satisfied once the US and Canada combine all toll tags into one, inter-operable device. That's a hefty goal, but that's what I want.

I'm not sure efforts should stop even there--Mexico has toll roads with ETC too.  ETC interoperability is plausibly advantageous to the motorist throughout the entire extent of a paved road network that a given vehicle can reach without resorting to ferries for over-water crossings.  From this standpoint toll roads in the entirety of North and Central America (everything from Panama north) should be interoperable with each other, while there is no need to seek interoperability with any South American operators that have ETC (no road through the Darien Gap, RORO or container shipment of cars Houston-Cartagena possible but difficult to arrange, Panama City-Cartagena vehicle ferry a mirage), let alone any European or Asian ones.
Don't ask too much, you may get nothing after all. Getting things work smoothly within the USA is a good step anyway. That would, hopefully, create a good network and supply of equipment (tags and software) so joining existing system would be relatively easy....

There may be more incentive than you think.  The current situation is that drivers with Canadian or Mexican license plates can sail right through non-barrier tolls (think Texas) without paying a dime and without any fear of being billed. 
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kalvado

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2018, 03:14:22 PM »

There may be more incentive than you think.  The current situation is that drivers with Canadian or Mexican license plates can sail right through non-barrier tolls (think Texas) without paying a dime and without any fear of being billed.
I don't know how many mexican cars are there in Texas (I still have to see mexican license plate in NY), but until new tag becomes mandatory, there is an insensitive for out of area motorist to bag up the tag and offer toll agency to go f... f..... find a way to bill them by plate.
Otherwise, Canadian cars are a minority over here (3 hour drive to Montreal) so I don't see that as justification for large investment.
Frankly speaking, if anything actually going to happen - integration of tag with the license plate can work, assuming tag is cheap enough and universal enough to be issued even to those without a toll road within the range. Then, if tags are cheap and protocol are standard, we may be talking something usable,
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kphoger

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2018, 03:22:14 PM »

There may be more incentive than you think.  The current situation is that drivers with Canadian or Mexican license plates can sail right through non-barrier tolls (think Texas) without paying a dime and without any fear of being billed.
I don't know how many mexican cars are there in Texas (I still have to see mexican license plate in NY), but until new tag becomes mandatory, there is an insensitive for out of area motorist to bag up the tag and offer toll agency to go f... f..... find a way to bill them by plate.
Otherwise, Canadian cars are a minority over here (3 hour drive to Montreal) so I don't see that as justification for large investment.
Frankly speaking, if anything actually going to happen - integration of tag with the license plate can work, assuming tag is cheap enough and universal enough to be issued even to those without a toll road within the range. Then, if tags are cheap and protocol are standard, we may be talking something usable,

Not a huge incentive, no, but...  every time an out-of-country license plate doesn't get billed for a toll, it's potential revenue lost.  At the south end, think about drivers going between Nuevo Laredo and Dallas using TX-130.  All across the country, think of truckers with Canadian plates.
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kalvado

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2018, 03:45:19 PM »

There may be more incentive than you think.  The current situation is that drivers with Canadian or Mexican license plates can sail right through non-barrier tolls (think Texas) without paying a dime and without any fear of being billed.
I don't know how many mexican cars are there in Texas (I still have to see mexican license plate in NY), but until new tag becomes mandatory, there is an insensitive for out of area motorist to bag up the tag and offer toll agency to go f... f..... find a way to bill them by plate.
Otherwise, Canadian cars are a minority over here (3 hour drive to Montreal) so I don't see that as justification for large investment.
Frankly speaking, if anything actually going to happen - integration of tag with the license plate can work, assuming tag is cheap enough and universal enough to be issued even to those without a toll road within the range. Then, if tags are cheap and protocol are standard, we may be talking something usable,

Not a huge incentive, no, but...  every time an out-of-country license plate doesn't get billed for a toll, it's potential revenue lost.  At the south end, think about drivers going between Nuevo Laredo and Dallas using TX-130.  All across the country, think of truckers with Canadian plates.
It should be relatively easy, especially with general US administrative heavy handed approaches to foreign policy, and even more so with current POTUS, to mandate every cross-border truck using some universal tag, even if the tag cost is pretty high.  Combining several existing technologies in the same box for just $499.99 + annual fee should be pretty easy - and most likely would still be acceptable as cost of doing business. Somewhat more difficult with the private cars.
What we are talking about, though, is something private drivers would buy with little, if any, external pressure. That requires more cooperation between the agencies in terms of technology being actually compatible - as opposed to a set of 10 tags in a box.   
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UCFKnights

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Re: Toll Roads: All-electronic or open-road?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2018, 10:47:53 PM »

While Florida is slowly switching to toll by plate/all electronic tolls, much of the state isn't and has using open road tolling with cash exit lanes. From what I've heard (and I believe before I registered my sunpass, it was consistent with this) they actually will always charge you per the toll by plate program if you drive through the sunpass lanes, even if there is cash payment options available. I've heard they don't charge the toll violators fine, unless the roads are labeled sunpass ONLY, and my new vehicle where I forgot to register the sunpass was consistent with that. Infact, i went through enough tolls before I got my bill in the mail that they also even included a epass sticker i believe, this was many years ago.
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