2015 was a year of transition for the tolling industry. National toll interoperability progressed, particularly in southern and central USA: several interoperability hubs are now in development in Texas, California and Florida. The E-ZPass Group, the long-time defender of peer-to-peer connectivity, is studying hub architecture.
RFID technology continued to incite riotous disagreement and litigation over the 6c standard and intellectual property. Meanwhile, the 5.9 technology that was shunned by the toll industry several years ago has returned in V2V and V2I, and may end up being the ultimate standard by default. Mercedes’ 2017 E-Class sedans, for example, will include V2V and V2I along with the capability to be fully autonomous. Google, Ford, Chrysler, Tesla and Toyota are also investing in V2V and V2I.
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was packed with other new vehicle technologies that have potential tolling applications. TransCore and Gentex are offering their multiprotocol RFID-equipped rearview mirror, for example.
On the back office side we saw continued interest from insurance companies and new or revived interest from the likes of MasterCard and Visa, as the toll industry works to reduce its cost of operations by seeking payment solutions that are more commercial and less customized.
Now that the industry has become fully engaged with managed lanes, operators are becoming familiar with public transit operations, too. And as drivers become more familiar with all-electronic tolls and managed lanes, the need to develop and improve reciprocal violation enforcement has begun to develop.
So, after ‘Transition 2015’, what will we get in 2016? Revolution:
1) Autonomous vehicles won’t just arrive on the scene – they’ll explode onto it! We will see some high-end cars sold this year with much of the technology leaking down into some lower models.
2) IBTTA will pick a national transponder standard, which will be irrelevant by the time a ‘victor’ emerges.
3) The Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI), Florida, Texas and California will launch their tolling hubs. E-ZPass member agencies will look hard at these hubs and may even participate in some.
4) Several commercial hubs, including cell phone-based systems, will be launched with models similar to Bestpass.
5) Toll operators will work with the auto and banking industries to include in-car payments as part of future in-vehicle and commercial technologies.
6) Financial institutions will offer commercial back office solutions that will make some agencies question the need and cost of home agency solutions.
7) Parking, fast food and other commercial services will merge into the in-car payment system.
8) The toll industry will collaborate
with transit and ITS sectors.
9) Toll agencies in Texas, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Illinois will launch new back office systems.
10) At least two states will decide to convert free interstates into toll roads.
11) Rhode Island will start statewide truck tolling, and tolling on the Ohio River Bridges will go live.