Continuing its commitment to ensure a 21st century experience for its customers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) plans to install cashless open-road tolling (ORT) at the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland tunnels by 2021.
At its monthly meeting, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a US$240m project to provide the infrastructure required to replace the existing toll collection system at the three crossings with an ORT system. Under cashless open-road tolling, all travelers drive at roadway speeds under an overhead gantry equipped with tolling equipment and traffic sensors. E-ZPass account holder have their toll debited from their account, while motorists without E-ZPass will have an image of their license plate captured by gantry-mounted cameras so that a toll invoice can be mailed to the registered vehicle owner. The cashless system will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2020 at the Holland Tunnel, the first quarter of 2021 at the Lincoln Tunnel, and by the third quarter of 2021 at the George Washington Bridge.
The three trans-Hudson River crossings will be the last of the agency’s facilities to activate the advanced ORT technology, joining the three Staten Island bridges in implementing a state-of-the-art toll collection system. The Port Authority first implemented a cashless tolling system at the Bayonne Bridge in February 2017 and at the Outerbridge Crossing in April 2019. The system will be activated at the Goethals Bridge later this summer. PANYNJ projects that cashless tolling will reduce crashes by 75% at toll plazas of the three Hudson River crossings, which equates to approximately 975 fewer crashes each year. It is also expected to reduce travel time for commuters, saving nearly 201,000 driving hours annually and 333,000 gallons of fuel per year. The project’s environmental benefits include reduced vehicle emissions of 2,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which the EPA estimates translates to 635 passenger cars for one year and energy use of 350 homes for one year.
“This action will complete our efforts to bring all of our tolling facilities up to 21st century standards, while reducing travel times and toll plaza delay, improving safety and reducing vehicle emissions from idling cars,” said Port Authority chairman, Kevin O’Toole. “As our legacy facilities continue to handle growing traffic demand, it’s imperative that we embrace best practices, such as cashless open-road tolling, that allow greater efficiency and improved travel time reliability at our crossings.”
PANYNJ vice chairman, Jeffrey Lynford, added, “Implementing this state-of-the-art toll collection system will benefit travelers, improve safety and benefit the environment across the region’s bridges and tunnels, following the MTA’s cashless tolling conversions and a similar system installation at the new Mario Cuomo Bridge. We are committed to having a cashless tolling system in place that will align our tolling operation with the introduction of New York City’s congestion pricing program.”