Most new tolling systems are developed and implemented as All Electronic Tolling (AET) without a cash payment option for motorists. In addition, many traditional toll systems throughout the country have been or are being converted to AET. But how do agencies convert systems that may have cash, tickets, video, or automatic vehicle identification?
Check out our check list below, outlining many essential elements that must be addressed during conversion:
- Financial impact – Cost to implement, cost savings, leakage, and initial potential revenue reduction
- Public outreach – Educate the public on reasons for AET
- Tag penetration and video tolling – Increase transponder usage/td>
- In-lane equipment concerns - Determine system capability and required enhancements. Propose strong asset management and equipment repurposing (spare parts)
- Existing contracts and staffing modifications – vendor, system integrator, and operations
- Safety – MOT, signing, driver information, messaging, striping, plaza operations
- Bond adherence and compliance - Ensure bond governance allows for AET and modify if necessary
- Financial management – Toll rate adjustments, routine financial audits
- Interagency coordination – Regional communication on policies for all interoperability issues
- Call Center support – Determine if CSC Operations fully can support conversion and ongoing operations
- Schedule – Coordinate schedule to coincide with other agency initiatives, funding, and contracts where possible
This extensive list involves numerous and varied agency disciplines. However, these issues must be considered well in advance of implementation. For example, if the cash collection portion accounts for fifty percent of revenue, then it may be difficult to convert to AET without first increasing tag penetration. Many motorists may initially be reluctant to utilize transponders for various reasons, which can reduce transaction volume and associated revenue. A plan to increase tag utilization should be created and tracked to decrease the risk of revenue reduction.
Another consideration is financial compliance with roadway or agency funding requirements. The roadway funding may include requirements for minimal cash and/or employment levels. This must be addressed to amend the current contract language or enter into new funding (bonds, grants, etc.).
Before embarking on an AET conversion, many of the key aspects above and more should be researched and reviewed to determine if obstacles must be overcome to ensure a successful and timely program.