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How to Position Your Tolling Agency for Success in an Evolving World

By Kevin Palmer, PE, PMP

February 14, 2020

Agencies today are faced with a tough ask. You’re asked to modernize, but rapidly changing technology can make it hard to keep track of the evolution, much less choose which changes to adopt.

The good news: there are several clear actions you can take to ensure you’re moving your agency in the right direction.


Tip #1: Look past the flavor of the day.

Just because it’s new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or proven. The new trend everybody is talking about may be perfect for your agency – or it may not work at all.

And even if it seems like a logical choice long-term, that new piece of technology may not work at this exact moment or may quickly be overtaken by a more suitable solution.

Doing the right thing at the right time is essential in effectively navigating the changing transportation landscape.


Trick: Devise a plan & stick to it.

You have to know what your destination is to reach it.

It’s a lot easier to get caught up in the new trend or technology when you don’t have a clear picture of your agency’s future. Protect against short-term thinking by having a long-term vision for your agency.

If you don’t currently have a strategic plan, implement one. If you do, make sure every decision you make fits in with that broader view of your agency.


Tip #2: Don’t search for a jack-of-all-trades.

The skills needed in our industry are evolving along with our technology.

When looking for service providers, choose those most skilled in each area and look for partners not afraid to team with others to deliver the most value to your agency.

You’ll get a better product as a result.


Trick: Prioritize flexibility in service providers.

When it comes to niche services, you won’t need these folks all the time.

Since your needs will be in flux, you’ll want to look for service providers that have flexibility with regard to the staff they’re retaining and offering.


Tip #3: Find a strategic partner.

There are a lot of moving parts now, and there will be even more in the coming years.

You need to be able to rely on someone to connect those dots and come up with that holistic plan for your agency.


Trick: Choose based on loyalty, relationships & experience.

Your needs in a strategic partner will remain constant, even as your specific service needs change.

That strategic partner should have three main qualities:

  1. They should choose the best option for you, not what benefits their own bottom line – and you should feel able to trust them to do so.
  2. They should be able to act as a middleman, leveraging industry relationships to build strong project teams.
  3. They should bring a holistic perspective to work, gained both from experience with other agencies and from the team’s intimate knowledge of your agency’s strategic vision.



At the core of all of this: you need to be agile in reacting to changes but grounded in your vision and the relationships that help you realize it.

Leverage these tips and tricks, and you’ll be on track to realize your agency’s full potential.

Want to talk more about the future of tolling and your agency’s next steps?

Reach out to Kevin by email at kevin.palmer@rsandh.com or call him at (850) 558-2819. Find more general information on our team's services at our Tolls & Managed Lanes page.

Topics: Insights, Transportation, Tolls & Managed Lanes, Transportation Infrastructure

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About the Author

Kevin serves as RS&H’s Tolls Technology Leader and has a range of progressive experience in program management, consulting, and system planning. RS&H provides specialized solutions for the planning, scheduling, and testing of toll and managed lanes systems.

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