Sice awarded maintenance contract for Humber Bridge hybrid toll system

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The Spanish tolling systems integrator Sice, which installed the new hybrid tolling system on the Humber Bridge in northeast England, has been awarded a maintenance contract for the project.

The Humber Bridge Board has awarded Sice with a maintenance contract for its tolling system for the next four years, with the expiry date of July 31, 2020. Sice designed and implemented a new hybrid tolling system on the bridge, which combines traditional toll and free flow lanes. Linking the counties of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, the 7,280ft (2,220m) suspension bridge is currently the seventh longest single-span bridge in the world. Following extensive civil, electrical and mechanical replacement work, Sice developed a bespoke end-to-end tolling system that went live in November 2015, making it the first hybrid tolling system in the UK.

The migration to the new system consisted of the replacement of the existing conventional cash-based tolling system with barriers across six lanes in each direction, with a hybrid manual/electronic toll collection system (ETC) across three lanes in each direction, together with a high-speed open road tolling (ORT) system across two lanes in each direction. The outer lanes accept manual and dynamic payments and the four center ones represent the cutting edge free-flow technology that was developed by Sice, which is based on a pre-paid radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder system known as HumberTAG.

The entire tolling system is supported by and enforced with a camera-based automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system. For the bridge’s operations and commercial back-office, Sice developed a completely new toll operation system (TOS) and a billing invoice system (BIS) to enable the Humber Bridge Board to control/operate the toll plaza and to manage/support its customer services.

During the first year of the contract, maintenance works of the system hardware, the software applications, networks and servers will be implemented on site. During the remaining three years of the contract, servicing of the software applications will all be carried out remotely, using cloud-based systems. The new contract award strengthens Sice’s position in the UK as one of the leading tolling systems contractors in the country.

Together with the Humber Bridge’s systems, Sice also installed and now maintains the traditional tolling system on the Itchen Bridge in Southampton, and the ‘shadow’ tolling system of the A13 trunk road that connects central London with the eastern part of the city and southern Essex. The shadow toll is a contractual payment made by a government per driver using a road to a private company that operates a road that was built or maintained using private finance initiative funding. Payments are based, at least in part, on the number of vehicles using a section of road, often over a 20- to 30-year period. In the case of the A13, the UK government pays Sice directly, with no payment coming from the road’s users.

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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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