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12 2.2.2 Practices and Trends Affecting son), North East Texas RMA (NETRMA, Tyler), Hidalgo Tolling Systems County RMA (McAllen), and the Sulphur River RMA (Paris). To date, CTRMA and NETRMA are the only RMAs In the last 10 to 20 years, five practices and major trends within Texas that operate completed toll roads within their have had a dramatic impact on toll road operations: respective jurisdictions. Multimodal agencies that operate toll roads in addition to The change in governance structures of toll agencies, includ- other transportation facilities: A traditional example is the ing the establishment of multimodal agencies and the intro- Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oper- duction of private equity capital, ates airports, transit lines, and the Port Authority Trans- The adoption of electronic toll-collection (ETC) systems, Hudson (PATH) rail system in addition to toll bridges and which permit free-flow movement at toll gantries, tunnels. A newer example is the Metropolitan Washington Improved traffic flow conditions due to higher throughput Airports Authority, which began to operate the Dulles Toll in the ETC lanes, Road (DTR) in 2008 after operations of this facility were Congestion management and the introduction of variable transferred from the Virginia Department of Transporta- pricing schedules, The use of leakage rates to measure the rate of driver non- tion (VDOT). The DTR is being used to help finance the payment, and extension of a transit line in the Washington, D.C., area. In The charging of administrative fees and/or the criminaliza- addition, the Orange County Transportation Authority tion of toll violations. (OCTA) manages and operates SR-91 and bus transit lines in California. Private capital: In several states, a number of toll facilities These practices and trends will continue to have an impact on the costs of toll collection, administration, and enforcement. have been developed or are being developed using private equity and debt capital. This includes project delivery using designbuild (DB) contracts as well as project development 2.2.3 Change in Governance Structure and long-term operations through designbuildfinance of Toll Agencies operate (DBFO) contracts. Recent examples include the The majority of toll facilities are operated by a public agency South Bay Expressway in San Diego, California; the Toronto that is part of or reports directly to a state, county, or munic- 407 in Canada; the SH 130 Segments 5 & 6 between Austin ipal government. The functional responsibilities of these and San Antonio, Texas; and the I-495 HOT lanes in North- agencies primarily focus on the administration, operation, ern Virginia. A parallel trend is the monetization of older maintenance, oversight, and enforcement of the toll facili- facilities, such as the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll ties under their respective jurisdictions. Non-transportation Road (ITR). Due to the incentive to maximize profits, the related activities are limited to the leasing or operation of food introduction of private capital has led to the assessment and gas concessions, real estate transactions near the high- of higher toll rates, improved revenue collection, and pres- way, and financial transactions related to the management sures to reduce toll administration and collection costs. of new and outstanding debt issues. A notable exception is Enforcement activities typically remain the responsibility of the management of an arts facility by the New Jersey Turnpike the public sector. Authority (NJTA, 2007). The decreased availability of funding from fuel tax revenues A number of public agencies, including multi-segment, has encouraged state and local agencies to consider a variety multi-jurisdictional, and/or multimodal toll-road agencies, of new approaches that can be used to finance highway infra- may cross-subsidize between facilities. An example is the structure. This has resulted in the establishment of new gov- New York State Thruway Authority's (NYSTA) operation ernance structures for tolling systems, such as and financial support of the Erie Canal. The extent of cross- subsidization between facilities may depend on the existing Multi-jurisdictional agencies, which have been granted toll legislation, corporate charters, and the bond agreements for authority as well as the responsibility to develop new toll these agencies. roads: An example of this governance structure is the Cen- tral Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), which is 2.2.4 Electronic Toll Collection developing toll roads in two counties in the Austin metro- and Video Tolling politan area in Texas. Other Regional Mobility Authorities (RMAs) include the Alamo RMA (San Antonio), Cameron Beginning in the late 1980s, ETC based on radio frequency County RMA (BrownsvilleHarlingen), Camino Real (El identification (RFID) technology emerged, having been tech- Paso), Grayson County Regional RMA (Sherman, Deni- nically proven for use in revenue operations. Over the past few

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13 decades, many toll agencies have turned to electronic toll transponders or tags affixed to vehicles for drivers to pay tolls. In addition to providing added convenience to drivers and enhancing vehicle throughput, toll tags help reduce congestion by eliminating the need for cars to stop for the payment of tolls. Toll tags also help reduce air pollution by eliminating stop- and-go traffic and the idling of cars at staffed toll lanes. Beyond improving customer service for drivers and toll lane through- put for toll agencies, a recent study conducted by the Massa- chusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claims that ETC has had one additional impact that has political ramifications-- drivers are much less aware of toll rates when they pay electron- Source: CTRMA, 2008 ically (Finkelstein, 2007). Because of the largely proprietary nature of first-generation Figure 3. Electronic toll collection on US 183A, ETC systems, tags are not interoperable across systems, just as Austin, Texas. VHS and Beta technologies were not compatible for video- cassettes, and computer programming languages are not uni- versally compatible. Over time, different approaches have been and (iii) hybrid tolling system. A description and a schematic used to provide interoperability. In the early 1990s, the E-ZPass representation of each toll-collection system are provided in Interagency Group (IAG) created a seven-state, fully inter- the subsequent sections. operable ETC network in the northeast United States by selecting common tag and reader technology and developing Controlled Ticket System or Closed Toll System account reciprocity procedures, allowing customers to use E-ZPass at any equipped facility with only one customer A toll-collection system is considered to be a controlled account. The IAG has expanded significantly since then to ticket system (or closed system) when all vehicles entering and include 13 states and 24 different agencies. Toll authorities in a exiting the system are monitored and tolls are calculated on the number of states have worked out similar cooperative agree- basis of vehicle class and distance traveled. In a controlled ticket ments that allow a transponder from one toll authority to func- system, both mainline toll barriers and ramp toll plazas are sit- tion properly on a road in another part of the state. Texas, uated such that no toll-free traffic movements are permitted. Florida, California, Washington, and Colorado have statewide Typically, a patron traveling without a transponder will receive interoperability programs. Other possible approaches to inter- a ticket upon entering the system and submit that ticket to a toll operability are being evaluated by the recently formed Alliance collector upon exiting. The toll collector will collect the toll, for Toll Interoperability, which has over 30 participating toll which is based on the vehicle class and distance traveled. In agencies. Under this initiative, toll-road agencies are explor- cases where electronic toll collection is available, entry and exit ing the application and widespread use of video tolling inter- from the system can be processed electronically. A representa- operability and exchange of license plate or ETC account tion of the controlled ticket system concept is presented in information. Figure 4. As demonstrated in the figure, a mainline toll barrier As ETC has expanded, some toll agencies have moved is located between interchanges D and E, and ramp toll plazas toward open-road tolling (ORT), where traditional toll plazas are located at interchanges B, C, and D. The controlled system have been modified or removed entirely to allow for higher is assumed to continue to the left of the schematic, whereas speed express lanes. ETC tags are detected by readers that are interchanges E and F are located to the right of the mainline mounted on overhead gantries. Figure 3 shows an ORT instal- toll barrier and, therefore, are considered outside of the con- lation in Austin, Texas. Tolls are collected electronically, either trolled system. A trip from B to C (shown in orange) will incur through customers' already-established ETC accounts or by a toll based on the distance traveled between interchanges B using automatic license plate recognition technology to read the and C. Similarly, a trip from B to E (shown in green) will incur license plates and obtain identification and address information a toll based on distanced traveled between the ingress point and for billing drivers. Toll authorities are beginning to consider the egress point to the controlled section of the road. converting to open-road and all-electronic tolling. At the very For toll-road users, the primary obligation is to carry suf- least, a number of agencies are implementing hybrid systems. ficient cash, use a debit or credit card, or maintain a valid Three basic toll-collection concepts are currently in use. transponder to pay for each trip. With a closed toll system, The toll-collection concepts are (i) controlled ticket system there is a greater risk of collisions at the cash lanes. During (closed system), (ii) fixed-rate barrier system (open system), Congressional hearings, the National Transportation Safety

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14 Source: Jacobs Engineering Group, 2010 Figure 4. Controlled system. Board (NTSB) stated that "toll booths are the most dangerous eling to the right would pay at the toll barrier located between place on the highway" (Miller, 2006). There is also increased interchanges B and C. The toll is a fixed-rate toll based on vehi- fuel consumption and higher emissions as vehicles idle at toll- cle class only; trip length may vary depending on the entry and booths. Peters and Kramer (2003) estimate that on the Garden exit points. In this same example, if the trip continued past State Parkway, pollution costs constitute 20.93% of the total interchange F, the patron would pay another toll at the barrier societal cost of toll collection, or 8.32% of revenue collected. located before interchange G. ORT can be applied along the entire toll facility or along part of the toll system. Full implementation of ORT entails the Fixed-Rate Barrier System or Open Toll System payment of tolls at highway speeds only. Examples of ORT A fixed-rate barrier system (open system) is a toll system in facilities are (i) the Westpark Tollway within the HCTRA toll which a toll is collected for all users at specific points along the network in Texas; (ii) the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway in roadway. A fixed-rate barrier system is different from a con- Florida; (iii) Toronto 407 Express Toll Route (ETR) in Canada; trolled system in that all trips throughout the system are not (iv) CityLink in Melbourne, Australia; (v) Loop 49 in Tyler, monitored, nor are tolls based on distance traveled. Toll barri- Texas; (vi) SH 121 in the DallasFt. Worth area; and (vii) four ers are located at strategic points, often across the mainline. A toll roads in Santiago, Chile. Partial implementation of this kind representation of the fixed-rate barrier system is presented in of system is in use today on toll facilities such as the Orlando Figure 5. Mainline barriers are shown between interchanges B Orange County Expressway (OOCEA), New Jersey Turnpike and C, as well as between interchanges F and G at the limit of and Garden State Parkway, Tappan Zee Bridge (NYSTA), Illi- the diagram. Patrons with trips originating from point B trav- nois Tollway, Georgia 400, and Massachusetts Turnpike. Pay- Source: Jacobs Engineering Group, 2010 Figure 5. Open road system.

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15 ment is typically conducted through debit and credit cards. Upon motorist use of a facility, a bill is then mailed to the Typically, transponder holders maintain a minimum balance, address listed with the DMV. Bills can be paid using check, which must be replenished once their account balance falls money order, or other methods. below a minimum threshold or becomes negative. With registered video tolling, the motorist must first regis- Open toll-road collection systems require the installation of ter the vehicle's plates with the tolling agency and then estab- toll gantries, the installation of intelligent transportation sys- lish an account by depositing funds or arranging some other tems (ITS) with the concomitant purchase of hardware and method of payment prior to using the toll system. The toll sys- software, and the construction of a customer service center tem will associate the plate images with the account holder and (CSC). The CSC is intended to oversee the distribution or sale debit the toll amount to the account. However, toll-road users of transponders, maintain and update customer accounts, with access to a credit/debit card may still pay the toll amount answer questions, resolve disputed transactions, and inter- through an unregistered video-tolling account if they opt not face with toll enforcement activities. Toll transponders may to register their license plates with the toll agency. be purchased from the toll agency or a third party provider. Video tolling systems may require toll-road agencies to pur- Toll agencies have introduced various strategies related to chase additional hardware and software needed for implemen- the distribution, sale, and pricing of transponders. These tation. Video tolling also requires interagency coordination approaches include charging potential customers full cost, sell- if the DMV database is operated and updated by a separate ing transponders below cost, linking transponder purchase to agency. Additionally, video tolling may require additional discounts on toll transactions, and giving transponders at no administrative staff to review the accuracy of toll transactions cost. By offering transponders at no or reduced cost to poten- and process payments received by mail. tial users, toll agencies have attempted to increase transponder With respect to ETC and video tolling, users may have con- penetration and increase throughput. Moreover, the distri- cerns relating to the privacy of credit/debit card information, bution of transponders at below or no cost also attempts to vehicle information, and home address information. There are address environmental justice issues related to the cost of pur- additional concerns associated with billing errors related to chasing transponders as well as the lack of access to credit/ toll amount, the inaccurate assessment of late fees, and ghost debit cards by low-income users. There are also administrative transactions. These errors increase compliance costs since the expenses related to the reconciliation of out-of-area or out-of- responsibility for rectifying toll accounts is placed on the cus- state transactions as well as marketing expenses to promote tomer. Customers may also have concerns with respect to toll road and transponder use. To convert an existing closed delayed payment or nonpayment, which typically result in the system to open road (or hybrid) toll collection, it is also nec- receipt of letters and telephone calls from collection agencies essary to remove tollbooths, modify or add highway lanes, and asking for full (or partial) payment of toll transactions along increase signage. with administrative and/or late fees. In an effort to improve the The primary advantage to users of open toll systems is that accuracy of customer billing and payment processes, toll agen- they improve traffic flow and permit free-flow movements and cies, especially those that operate open road facilities, have been faster travel speeds, subject to general traffic conditions. Toll- examining and implementing a variety of information technol- road users no longer have to stop at tollbooths, nor do they ogy improvements. However, this has had the effect of increas- need to wait while other drivers pay for their transactions. As a ing variable costs over time due to the integration between new result, the open toll-collection system has a quantifiable and and existing IT systems, operations and maintenance activities, potentially significant value of time benefit for users, especially and the replacement of obsolete hardware and software. commuters. Due to decreased stopping and idling, open toll- collection systems may lead to reduced fuel consumption and Hybrid Tolling System emissions. In addition, ORT facilities have improved safety conditions because the potential for rear-end collisions at toll- A hybrid tolling system is a combination of both a closed/ booths is reduced. controlled ticket system and an open/fixed-rate barrier sys- To allow for free-flow movements and to avoid discriminat- tem. Hybrid systems give customers the option to pay by var- ing against individuals who do not have a credit or debit card, ious methods. ETC equipment monitors the entry and exit of toll agencies have been implementing video tolling options transponder users to and from the toll road as in a controlled for toll-road users. There are two forms of video tolling: un- system. Electronic tolls are charged based on both vehicle class registered and registered accounts. Unregistered video-tolling and distance traveled. Cash customers, on the other hand, pay systems permit users without access to a credit/debit card to a fixed-rate toll based on vehicle class at a designated main- pay for the use of a toll road facility. Specifically, unregistered line toll-barrier location regardless of their point of entry or video tolling systems look up vehicle registration information exit between toll plazas. Figure 6 provides a schematic of a from the state department of motor vehicles (DMV) database. hybrid tolling system. Purple bars represent ETC gantries,