- THE MAGAZINE
Last week at the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s (IBTTA) Summit on All Electronic Tolling, Managed Lanes and Interoperability held in Denver, transportation leaders announced major advancements in the tolling industry. IBTTA is the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and businesses that serve them.
The Summit showcased efforts by the tolling industry to achieve nationwide electronic toll interoperability mandated by the U.S. Congress in last year’s federal transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
“The presentations and discussions occurring during the Summit provide ample evidence that the U.S. toll industry is taking the Congressional mandate very seriously,” said IBTTA’s Executive Director and CEO, Patrick D. Jones. “I’m proud of the professionals throughout our industry—including those here in Colorado – who’ve stepped up to the plate to make great strides towards achieving the aggressive goal of nationwide interoperability by 2016.”
One major development during the Summit was the announcement by the Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) that it had signed a deal to create a North American Interoperability HUB that will bill motorists for tolls based on license plate camera reads and transponders in vehicles. Agencies will be able to enroll in the program starting September 2013, and the system will begin operations by the end of this year.
Rob Horr, executive director of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., and president of IBTTA, was stated “Nationwide interoperability is one of our most important goals and the ATI HUB is one potential pathway that could help us get there. We salute ATI on this important initiative.”
In addition to interoperability, the Summit also focused on discussion and presentations around new technologies such as All-Electronic Tolling and Price Managed Lanes that are helping transform not only the tolling industry, but the nation’s infrastructure as a whole. For instance, today most toll roads, bridges and tunnels collect tolls electronically – improving local air quality by reducing the time vehicles sit idling in congestion. Additionally, the Summit included robust discussion around the expansion across the country of priced managed lanes, a special type of toll lane in which the toll rate changes based on the level of traffic, giving drivers the opportunity to avoid the congestion of general purpose lanes.
“The new technological advancements throughout the tolling industry in the last few decades have been astounding. Our industry is meeting the demands of our customers, embracing new technologies and proving on a daily basis that tolling is an important funding option for our nation’s future infrastructure needs,” concluded Jones.