The North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) is the first agency in the USA to implement the equipment needed to read all three of the tolling transponder technologies that are currently being considered for national interoperability.
In March, the NCTA and Kapsch TrafficCom IVHS Inc signed the contracts to provide Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) equipment for current and future toll projects operated by the Authority. The first order of business was to implement Kapsch’s tri-protocol reader on the 18.8 miles (30.3km) long Triangle Expressway. The Turnpike Authority coordinated with Kaspch and with the lane system provider, Conduent Inc (formerly Xerox) during an accelerated integration program. The new equipment that has been deployed:
Maintains current interoperability; Allows NCTA to read all transponders that it has currently in circulation; Reads the new 6C protocol transponders that are now being issued free of charge to existing customers.
The NCTA is also lowering the prices of the NC Quick Pass transponders that are used on its toll roads after switching to the new interoperable triple protocol reading system.
Currently, the NC Quick Pass transponders are only compatible with certain networks, such as those in Florida and Georgia, while compatible E-ZPass transponders work in 18 states primarily in midwestern and northeastern USA. Starting on August 30, the NC Quick Pass transponder will be free of charge (formerly US$5) and the NC Quick Pass-compatible E-ZPass transponders will drop from US$20 to US$7.40.
There are currently three tolled turnpike in North Carolina: The Triangle Expressway around Raleigh; and The Monroe Expressway; and the I-77 Express Lanes around Charlotte. Other tolling systems that have been approved by local planning authorities and are in development include: I-485 Express Lanes around Charlotte, the Complete 540 project around Raleigh, and the Mid-Currituck bridge.
“The North Carolina Turnpike Authority, with its world-class facility, partnerships and research, is proud to lead the nation with this modern toll technology,” said NCTA’s executive director, Beau Memory. “This is something that’s never been done before. We’ll be the first state in the nation to read all of the transponder protocols that are being considered for national interoperability. For us, what that means is, no matter what technology emerges from that process; we’re already ready for it, and we can do it. This is just another example of how we are paving the way for national interoperability, while also making great strides toward meeting this state’s future tolling needs. We’re simply passing the savings on.”