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A Very Special Anniversary for E-ZPASS and the Tolling Industry

By: 
Bill Cramer

This Saturday, August 3 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the truly formative events in tolling industry history.

On this day in 1993, toll facilities in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania formed the E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG), ushering in the age of regional interoperability in North America.

“The IAG’s goal was to implement a regionally compatible, non-interfering electronic toll collection system that would not only satisfy the divergent toll collection and traffic management needs of the seven participating agencies, but would also provide regional mobility and convenience to their customers,” states the E-ZPass website.

“Today, the E-ZPass program is the largest, most successful interoperable toll collection program anywhere in the world, consisting of 25 agencies in 15 states, servicing more than 14 million accounts, 25 million tags, and the collection of nearly $7 billion in electronic toll revenues,” said PJ Wilkins, Executive Director of E-ZPASS IAG.

Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO, IBTTA, stated, “The founders of E-ZPass were industry visionaries who saw the opportunity to improve the efficiency and widespread use of tolling by making it more convenient for motorists. Two decades later, we’ve set our sights even higher:

  • The North American industry is working toward 2016 as a Congressional deadline for full, national interoperability in the U.S.;
  • Europe expects to introduce a regional electronic toll service in 2015; and
  • E-ZPass is still a leading advocate for a package of technologies that will continue to transform the industry.”

Last week in Denver, at IBTTA’s 2013 Summit on All-Electronic Tolling, Managed Lanes, and Interoperability,we saw more than 60 volunteers participate actively in the work of the Interoperability Steering Committee and its various subcommittees.

The road to interoperability has not been easy, and we can expect more bumps along the way. But when a tough challenge is worth the fight, it helps to have strong allies on your side. E-ZPass has been steadfast in its drive for interoperability, and that makes this 20th anniversary a moment to celebrate.