The Harris County Toll Road Authority introduced its Prohibited Vehicle/Rapid Alert System (RAS) as a spin-off project after replacing its legacy toll enforcement infrastructure. The original system upgrade included development and/or augmentation of software applications that generate an alert directly to law enforcement whenever a vehicle from a list of top 500 prohibited vehicles passes through a tolling gantry. For years, HCTRA knew the standard toll enforcement strategy of having deputies watch out for violators was becoming less effective. The authority had introduced video tolling for large corporate accounts, and allows customers to temporarily add vehicles to existing accounts without obtaining a transponder. The system also accommodates non-revenue accounts for disabled veterans and access for unmarked emergency vehicles. The added feature makes it feasible for a deputy to locate and stop a habitual violator to issue a citation. It also targets violators who try to avoid paying their outstanding HCTRA tolls and continue using the tollway by obtaining a valid toll transponder from another regional tolling agency.
Transurban and the Virginia Department of Transportation launched the 495 Express Lanes in November 2012 to reduce congestion and offer drivers more choices. The 14 miles of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in Northern Virginia, the product of a public-private partnership, introduced new traffic patterns, a new E-ZPass® transponder, and new rules of the road along one of the country’s busiest and most technologically advanced highway corridors.
A project budget of nearly $2 billion, made possible through an innovative combination of public funding, federal financing, and private partnerships, triggered the replacement of more than $260 million worth of aging infrastructure and culminated in the most significant package of highway improvements the region had seen in a generation. The project included complete reconstruction of 58 interchange bridges and overpasses, many of them including new bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways, as well as upgrades to 12 key interchanges and new access points at Merrifield and Tysons Corner, two of the region’s most heavily-travelled shopping and employment destinations.
Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)
Purpose and Objectives
Salik (“open” or “clear” in Arabic) is Dubai’s all-electronic, Open Road Tolling (ORT) system. The primary objective of the Salik ORT System Expansion was to reduce traffic congestion on the city’s main roads by adding new tolling points to encourage diversions to alternate routes. The project involved construction of three new electronic toll collection locations with six new gates, four on Ittihad Road and two on the Airport Tunnel corridor, in order to:
- Minimize the use of right of ways by deploying new, free-flow tolling zones that do not require space for manual toll plazas; Operate efficiently and reliably, without interfering with the UAE’s GSM900 mobile phone system; Maximize vehicle image capture to support enforcement and protect revenue; Deploy all infrastructure above the roadway, with no in-road sensors or pavement modifications, and perform all maintenance above or beside the roadway, to eliminate any need for road closures and minimize traffic disruption at new tolling points.
- 14 ORT lanes (one zone in each direction at seven locations)
- US$6.6 million budget, funded with internal resources
- More than 1.4 million Salik accounts
- Approximately 1.5 million transactions per day
- 13 to 30% reduction in off-peak travel times on the Ittihad Road corridor
- 43% reduction in off-peak traffic volume and 16 to 22% reduction in peak volume on the Airport Tunnel corridor
- 43% reduction in off-peak traffic volume and 10% reduction in peak volume on the Ittihad Road corridor.
Project designers minimized use of the highway right of way by placing all the system’s sensors on two over-road gantries, with processing and support equipment housed in a 5.0 x 2.5-meter (16 x 8-foot), air-conditioned roadside enclosure. The sensor array includes overhead scanners for vehicle positioning and classification, an RF antenna to capture transponder data, and video imaging for enforcement.
To introduce electronic toll collection, the Roads and Transport Authority made RFID transponders available to all highway users. The system must operate at temperatures up to 85°C (185°F) and speeds up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour—and to accommodate extreme desert conditions, it must be powered without a battery.
The expanded system uses video capture to identify toll violators across up to seven lanes of fast, free-flowing traffic. Roadside processing systems have been optimized to manage the enormous volume of real-time imaging.
The system is reliable enough to allow for continuous, unattended operation, with high levels of redundancy and automatic failover and fault tolerance.
These success factors combined to provide Salik users with:
- The world’s largest open-road, multi-lane, free flow tolling point
- The world’s widest single-direction free flow tolling zone, at more than 44 meters (144 feet)
- The world’s first 870 MHz toll system
- The world’s first SMS customer notification system
- A dedicated service team for fleets and special accounts
- Complete over-the-road maintenance capability inside cladded gantries, so that road closures are never needed for routine maintenance.
The Authority has sold more than 620,000 Salik tags since the system opened in April, and processes 1.5 million transactions per day.
Eng. Sofiene Jegham, Senior Manager - ITS Design & Implementation, ITS Department
+97 142 904969
Trip Talk is an application used to deliver information to drivers via smartphone device. It is the first hands-free, eyes-free, interoperable smartphone application that broadcasts travel advisories to drivers without requiring any interaction, therefore complying with state anti-texting and distracted driving laws. Drivers receive only those advisories that are within the range of the driver, thus a custom queue contains only relevant advisories for that area. When advisories are in range of the driver, their smartphones immediately “come to life” to begin broadcasting the message. Through its web interface, any agency may have its data integrated into the system so that drivers can continuously receive travel advisories, even as they cross state and agency boundaries. The interface also allows agencies to track anonymous probe data for traffic management, without recording any information about the individual user
The project consists in three main components: maps, virtual VMS and emergency calls. Based on the real time knowledge of the road operator concerning their network, maps can be generated, figuring POI (tourist interests, hotel, etc.) rest areas and service areas of the networks (with a description of all the services provided), exit ramps, as well as road work, travel times, traffic information and traffic incidents (congestions, accidents, alerts on speed limits.) Based on the GPS of the smart phone, the same information can also be presented in a personalized way: virtual VMS is shown along the trip of our customers directly to their iPhone. Only the information concerning the specific road the customer is using is then provided. Finally, knowing the customers position on the network, a third innovation is offered to the users: in case of emergency, or car break in, a simple click on the emergency call button establishes a connection with the operator, exactly as if the customer had walked along the motorway to reach the next emergency phone. The call and position of the customer is presented to the operator directly on emergency management tool. Reaction delays can then be highly reduced and safety highly increased.
Queensland is Australia’s fastest growing state with more than 1,500 people migrating each week. In the capital city, Brisbane, more than 250,000 trips are recorded on the Gateway and Logan motorway toll roads each day. Over the past decade growing traffic numbers have contributed to heavy congestion, lengthened journey times and reduced trip time reliability. Toll plazas added to the problem, creating a choke point for motorists. In 2005 an AU$1.88 billion upgrade of the Gateway Bridge and motorway was announced by the State Government. It also announced that Queensland Motorways would transition from hybrid cash and constrained lane electronic tolling to a full open-road completely electronic tolling system known as free-flow tolling, prior to the opening of the second Gateway Bridge in 2011. In 2007 the scope of the project increased to include the Logan and Gateway Extension motorways and its delivery was brought forward by two years, to provide the benefits of the system to customers sooner. The new system was implemented to reduce congestion, and improve travel times and safety. Queensland Motorways established partnerships and alliances with leading industry vendors to deliver the major program areas, which included: roadside systems and infrastructure; central back office systems and processes; extensive civil construction works; brand, product and channel development; organisational change management; and Communication and stakeholder engagement. In July 2008, Queensland Motorways successfully delivered the project’s first phase with the introduction of the advanced SAP system for the company’s human resources and payroll processes. This was followed by the delivery of a new SAP finance system in December 2008. In parallel with these activities, the Logan Alliance – comprising Queensland Motorways, BMD Constructions, and Kellogg, Brown and Root– carried out civil works to upgrade interchanges and toll points on the Logan and Gateway Extension motorways. The Leighton Abigroup Joint Venture carried out the civil works on the Gateway Motorway as part of the Gateway Upgrade Project. The works also involved installing 13 tolling gantries and associated infrastructure across the road network. On 1 July 2009 the transition to free-flow tolling began with the launch of the new Central System, eCommerce website, IVR system, brand and suite of product and payment channels. On 22 July, cash tolling on the roadside ceased permanently when the cash booths and toll plazas were closed and the new roadside system commenced full free-flow tolling operation. Queensland Motorways successfully transitioned to the new tolling system, with no unexpected loss of revenue and minimal impact on customers.
In May 2006, 407 ETR implemented Vehicle Fingerprinting, state-of-the-art technology in vehicle recognition, also referred to as Vehicle Data Tag (VDT). The implementation of this leading edge application has had a significant impact. It has dramatically reduced the number of plates requiring manual verification and the number of staff performing this function.
Having a web site is old news, but having a customer-centric Business Portal is the new standard by which your customers judge their relationship with you. The Illinois Tollway is enhancing customer service by providing Web-based tools and services to more than 2.6 million I-PASS customer accounts that pay tolls electronically and demand account management features in a timely manner. With the implementation of system-wide Open Road Tolling, the Illinois Tollway upgraded its traditional Web site to a Business Portal to meet customer eCommerce demands. These demands became business critical as the primary method by which the Tollway received its revenue shifted from 62 percent cash usage in 2003 to 80 percent electronic usage in 2007. Web-based services include the ability to add funds to I-PASS accounts, maintain account information, activate transponders purchased at retail stores or calculate toll rates. In addition, more than $52 million in revenue has been processed through the Portal and a substantial monetary savings has been realized of more than $16 million by processing customer transactions electronically rather than through the contracted 1-800 customer service phone line.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) – which operates 537 miles of toll roads – has long recognized the critical nature of effectively communicating roadway conditions with the traveling public, media, emergency responders and internal management. With a goal of expanding its information-dissemination capabilities, the PTC launched a new Turnpike Roadway Information Program – TRIP. TRIP gathers information through automated data and video feeds from the PA Turnpike’s 24/7 Traffic Operations Center along with information from roadway crews, police, and emergency responders and delivers it to the public via its Interactive Travel Web Map, service-plaza message boards, the toll-free telephone call-in advisory system, and the automated Preferred Traveler e-mail and text message notification systems. This integrated communications network program enables the PTC to deliver accurate and consistent real-time travel information to nearly 190 million annual customers, further proving the PTC’s axiom, “You’re never alone on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”
Under the framework of services related to the vehicle and driver, the goal was to conceive and develop new Electronic Identification and Payment Services, based on the existing OBU and same Via Verde Central System. The following services were identified: (1) Parking Lots (2) Gas Station (3) Access Control to Historical Areas (4) Loading/Unloading in Special dedicated areas (5) Street Parking. Besides increasing the customer base, the goal of Via Verde Portugal was to broaden the range of services supported on the same platform, thus strengthening its business model and technology option.
Construction of the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s new Westpark Tollway, a first-of-its-kind, totally electronic toll facility, began in June of 2001. The Toll Road Authority opened the first 8 miles of this EZ TAG Only facility in May of 2004 and completion of the entire 14 miles of mainlanes was celebrated, in June of 2005. The alignment of the Westpark Tollway begins in Houston’s Galleria area, just west of the 610 Loop and terminates at FM 1464 at the Harris/Ft. Bend County line. The Ft. Bend County Toll Road Authority has connected their new toll road with Harris County’s, which provides direct access to the Grand Parkway (US-99). Since opening the mainlanes in June, the new Westpark Tollway processed over 2.2 million transactions during the month of July, and our numbers continue to grow.
Via-T is a post-payment ETC system. Motorists only use one OBU to drive through the whole Spanish Network. This interoperable ETC system has resulted in a greater number of motorists using Spanish toll roads. In addition to this, prices for the OBU units have dropped, because VIA-T is the first multi-vendor system where currently six different ETC manufacturers are potential suppliers. The VIA-T can easily be implemented in other countries. Recently, Spain has been focusing on extending the VIA-T service to Portugal and France.
The SANEF radio broadcasts on the frequency 107.7 Mhz and gives information to clients related to traffic and weather conditions or to any event disrupting traffic flow. However, there is no permanent presence of speakers during the night shift. In order to be able to give traffic information when no “human” speaker is at the studio, SANEF implemented a program that extracts traffic and event information through software and system known as SYLVIA and is broadcast using ELIOTT, a virtual speaker. Therefore, traffic information may still be disseminated on a real time basis in correspondence to changing traffic conditions.
The initial objective of traffic forecasting was to provide information support for motorway operations, in planning road maintenance work, in decision-making for implementing operations measures, for toll station shift organization, and other needs. However, with the increasing emphasis on customer service, there is the clear need to enable the public at large to benefit from traffic forecasts so that each driver can best prepare his or her travel plans. Therefore, in addition to the usual information diffusion means traditionally used to inform its customers about traffic conditions (the radio station, the telephone information center, and the variable message signs), ASF now provides a new traffic forecasting service based on the two-fold principle of "dynamic" and "personalized" information. This new service, which has been on line since summer 2001 on the ASF Web site (www.asf.fr), provides ongoing and evolving information which specifically responds to the users requests. Thanks to historical data gathered on the whole network and processed with powerful and "state-of-the art" statistical techniques, customers have now on-line personalized traffic forecasts allowing them to choose the right time to plan their trip on the motorway.