Pennsylvania Turnpike trials cashless tolling at two new locations

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is taking another step toward national toll interoperability with the launch of two more Cashless Tolling pilot projects on its road network, with state-of-the art all-electronic tolling (AET) systems to be implemented on April 29.

PTC has announced that the technology and equipment installations are on track for the Cashless Tolling pilot projects on the Findlay Connector section of the Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576), and at the Clarks Summit and Keyser Avenue tolling points on the Northeastern Extension (Interstate 476).

With the conversion of the Findlay Connector and the tolling points at Keyser Avenue (No. 121) and Clarks Summit (No. 130), the PA Turnpike will have four Cashless Tolling locations. In January 2016, the PTC opened a Cashless Tolling point near the Turnpike Bridge over the Delaware River at the eastern end of its system, and last spring the agency converted the Beaver Valley Expressway (Toll 376).

The introduction of AET will mean that there will be no coin baskets or toll collectors along the roadway, and cash will no longer be accepted. For drivers without E-ZPass transponders, an image of their license plate is captured as they travel through a cashless facility. Using the address on file with PennDOT, a bill is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, a cashless procedure known in the state as ‘PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE’.

As part of the upgrades on the Findlay Connector and at Clarks Summit and Keyser Avenue, the PTC will replace its axle and weight-based vehicle classification system with a new axle and height-based system. This innovative system, which is already used on the New York State Thruway and the Ohio Turnpike, among other toll facilities, offers improved accuracy, efficiency and predictability.

The axle/height system will detect the number of axles and height between the first two axles to assess the toll; vehicles under 7.5 feet (2.2m) are considered low profile (‘L’ designation), while those over that height are considered high profile (‘H’ designation).

TransCore has deployed its Infinity Digital Lane System, which integrates automatic vehicle identification, classification, and video capture and recognition systems, at the PA Turnpike’s four AET locations.

“These segments of our system are the next in our series of staged, cashless pilot projects,” explained PTC’s CEO, Mark Compton. “We are making good on our promise to innovate and keep our customers moving safely. Agencies across the country are introducing cashless systems, and we owe it to customers to continue to use the best technology available in every facet of our operations. We manage more than 550 miles (885km) of roadway serving rural areas as well as major urban centers, so we want to be sure cashless tolling makes sense for all of our customers.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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