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2017 Toll Excellence Award Winners


View the Project Overviews from the 85th Annual Meeting & Exhibition


Administration and Finance Award

ITR Concession Company LLC

80/90 PUSH Project

The ITR Concession Company (ITRCC) receives the Administration and Finance Award for its innovative methods of procuring and contracting the 80/90 PUSH project along the Indiana Toll Road. The Indiana Toll Road runs 157 miles east-west across the entire state of Indiana, from the Illinois to Ohio state lines. 80/90 PUSH is massive in scope and includes upgrading 292 lane miles (73 linear miles), 9 interchanges, and 53 bridges, and installing a fiber optic backbone along the corridor as a step to implementing an Intelligent Transportation System. With a $220 million budget it is the largest investment in the Indiana Toll Road since its initial construction in 1956.

80/90 PUSH incorporated an aggressive procurement and delivery schedule to deliver the project swiftly and with minimal travel disruptions. To meet deadlines and minimize costs ITRCC utilized an innovative blend of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and Design-Build project delivery strategies. ITRCC involved contractors early in the project, ran concurrent design processes, and remained committed to transparency and communication with prospective partners. ECI is typically performed with one contracted design team, but by offering $250,000 to the unsuccessful team ITRCC kept multiple parties involved and maintained competitive pricing tension.

Considering the scope of investment in 80/90 PUSH, ITRCC maintained a strong contractual position throughout the project and implemented specific penalties for delays, traffic queues, and cost overruns. ITRCC mitigated future risks by negotiating an extended 7-year warranty thus assuring a well maintained, high quality product. Today 80/90 PUSH is ahead of schedule and under budget. Over 100,000 working hours have been logged without a single lost time injury. The safety, speed, and cost effectiveness of the project reflects the exemplary partnering and procurement strategies demonstrated by ITRCC.


Customer Service and Marketing Outreach 

State Road and Tollway Authority

Commuter Credits

In 2014, the state of Georgia integrated the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and the George Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) as a means to meet evolving demands for mobility through shared infrastructure, operations, and costs. SRTA receives the Customer Service & Marketing Outreach Award fo the Commuter Credits Program, an innovative initiative from the newly integrated agency.

Commuter Credits are intended to help commuters think about their transportation in a more integrated way, reduce congestion along the heavily traveled I-85, and reduce SOV usage of Georgia’s Express Lanes during peak hours. The pilot program included three components:

  • Shift Commute – 243 existing Peach Pass users were offered weekly $3 toll credits for reducing their weekly peak period commutes from 4+ trips to 3 or fewer;
  • Start a Carpool – SRTA attracted carpools to the express lanes by offering daily $3 toll credits to carpools with at least one Peach Pass user;
  • Ride Transit – SRTA offered Peach Pass users daily $2 toll credits for taking the GRTA Xpress bus routes during peak periods.

Over the course of the pilot program 210 commuters took 4,500 trips using Ride Transit. Through Shift Commute, drivers moved almost 500 trips to off-peak periods or to another mode of transit. A vast majority of users said they found both programs easy to understand and would likely continue to use them in the future. SRTA plans to continue Ride Transit and Shift Commute on a permanent basis beginning in 2018.

Commuter Credits’ positive effects and tremendous user feedback demonstrate SRTA’s exemplary commitment to community outreach and engagement. The Community Credits Program has garnered global recognition for successfully highlighting the first steps agencies can take to serve users’ increasing demands for efficiency through a unified transportation system.


Social Responsibility

North Texas Tollway Authority

Spreading the Dangers of Driving “Intexticated” and Urging Red Thumbs for All

Texting and driving has quickly become one of America’s leading causes of roadway accidents, injuries, and fatalities. At any given moment roughly 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while operating their car. North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) receives the Social Responsibility Award for its campaign to spread the dangers of driving “intexticated” as part of the nationwide Red Thumbs Movement.

Red Thumbs is an old-school solution to a 21st century problem. The movement aims to educate drivers about the dangers of texting and driving, and encourages them to mark a small portion of their thumbs red as a reminder to put down their phones behind the wheel. As part of the campaign NTTA distributed 95,000 red thumb straps emblazoned with the NTTA logo and the phrase “W8 2 TXT”.

The creative efforts of NTTA resulted in extensive regional coverage of the program through traditional media outlets, social media engagement, and nearly two dozen community partners including municipalities, other transportation agencies, and various local businesses. The agency distributed video shorts over social media and changed electronic signs along roadways to alert drivers to the campaign. Plano Presbyterian Hospital invited NTTA to offer educational courses on safety to local residents, businesses, government officials, police officers, and teenage drivers to help make the roads of North Texas as safe as they can be.

Because Texas is one of four states without a statewide ban on texting and driving, the campaign was critical to ensuring the safety of Texas roads. The result was a fun and memorable movement benefiting NTTA and their community partners while, most importantly, saving lives and making Texas a safer place to drive.


Technology

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

511PAConnect

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission receives the Technology Award for 511PAConnect, a new, trapped-traveler emergency communications tool that allows incident response teams to communicate via automated phone or text message directly with motorists who are trapped in a roadway backup. Extreme weather events are unpredictable, unavoidable, and can wreak havoc on travelers through road closures or by trapping them between exits. In 2016, Winter Storm Jonas stranded hundreds of travelers along a remote mountainous stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In emergency situations drivers will turn to any available source for news and updates, often including social media. 

This patchwork collection of news sources leads to misinformation, buried emergency communications, and overwhelmed agencies scrambling to monitor too many platforms at once. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) realized the need for unplanned, instantaneous, two-way communications for emergency situations.

511PAConnect delivers timely and accurate information to ALL effected travelers without prior registration or awareness of the program. When PTC opens an emergency event, an alert is immediately sent to all cell phones in the impact area. By following instructions on their phones, drivers select their preferred means of communication and can communicate questions or concerns directly with PTC. The tool asks for situational information (type of car, number of passengers, etc.) and allows users to share their location so PTC, PennDOT, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency can understand the scope of the emergency and quickly shape their response.

511PAConnect is a life saving tool created with existing technology familiar to the public and agency staff. In its first year of operation, it has proven tremendously successful by meeting and exceeding agency goals and expectations. During the first five emergency events, non-emergency 911 calls decreased, customers engaged with the tool and responded positively (including “thank you” texts), and a trapped queue was avoided thanks to a precautionary alert. 


Toll Operations, Engineering & Maintenance

Roads & Transport Authority, Dubai

Salik Toll System Expansion – A Model of Tolling Success

The Road & Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai receives the Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance Award for “Salik Toll System Expansion,” which recognizes RTA’s effort to revolutionize their Smart Salik app and online self-service system.

Project goals included: upgrading the Interactive Voice Response phone system – alleviating stress on the call center; revamping the website and Smart Salik app interface; a recharge by mobile and plate feature, thereby removing the frustration of forgotten PINs; a user portal with real time road and account information including pending and unpaid tolls; better integration across platforms and with smart device features such as fingerprint login on the app, back-end stability improvements, and a marketing campaign to educate customers on the changes.

Perhaps most impressive is RTA’s commitment to flexibility both now and in the future. Accounts can be recharged with cash at over 9,000 locations across Dubai, including at ATMs and through vouchers redeemed via SMS, the Smart Salik app, and the website. The redesigned back-end of the Salik network allows for advanced data analysis of user trends so RTA can stay ahead of the curve and remain proactive in meeting the needs of customers for years to come.

Results of the redesigned system are excellent across the board. Operational costs have fallen, call center calls have decreased 30%. Calls to retrieve forgotten PINs have almost been halved. Self-service transactions exceed 90 percent, well beyond the 80 percent government goal. Mobile adoption exceeds the 25 percent goal. In line with the Dubai Government’s Happiness strategy – to make Dubai the happiest city on earth –  the system’s happiness rating has risen from 73.2% to 93.2% following the launch of the renovated app and website.


Private Sector Innovation

Raytheon

MassDOT All Electronic Tolling

When the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) decided to convert the entirety of its toll road network to All Electronic Tolling, the project was sure to be a massive undertaking. MassDOT contracted Raytheon for a Design-Build-Maintain effort to deliver the new network of 32 AET toll zones on a tight deadline before the 2016 holiday season.  Raytheon receives the Private Sector Innovation Award for its implementation of MassDOT All Electronic Tolling.

Three months into the project, MassDOT issued a change order to change from Janus (E-ZPass) Readers to Multi-Protocol Readers (MPRs) in support of nationwide interoperability efforts. The change in technology required significant redesigns of gantries and wiring, and was expected to delay the project three months.

Raytheon remained committed to the original deadlines and responded to the change with an innovative accelerated construction schedule: gantry construction was performed concurrently instead of sequentially. Overhead cross members – with tolling technology attached – were assembled off-site as the vertical supports, power, and communications infrastructure were put in place along the road.

MassDOT anticipated 2-4 consecutive nights of road closures at each toll zone to construct the overhead components. Building the cross members off-site and delivering them to the toll zone shortened lane closures to six hours per zone. Traffic was fully stopped for only 15 minutes. This innovative process cut a remarkable 90 days from the construction schedule and completely negated the anticipated MPR delays. The new AET network went live on its original schedule in October 2016, 21 days before Thanksgiving.

The project’s quality has had an immense measurable impact on drivers. Not only did Raytheon’s innovative schedule minimize travel disruptions, converting to AET has shaved 12 minutes in each direction off the commute to Boston from suburbs in Western Massachusetts. Spread over the average 132,000 daily commuters, the AET network saves drivers 264,000 hours every week.