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Supplemental Lane Analysis and Monitoring (SLAM)

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise

Award Category: 
Toll Operations, Maintenance & Engineering
Award Year: 
2018

Overview

One of the primary risks of converting to an All Electronic Tolling (AET) system is the loss of revenue. If the technology system that supports the toll collection system in any way fails to perform at peak levels, it may prevent a toll agency from collecting all revenues due from its customers. In other words, problems on the front end of the system can cause collection problems in the back office. The objective of Florida's Turnpike is to reduce, to the maximum extent possible, any uncollected revenue. In November 2005, Florida's Turnpike opened the SunWatch Operations Center. In fact, the SunWatch Operations Center won the IBTTA Toll Excellence Award in the Operations Category in 2008. SunWatch was a first in the toll industry, providing 24/7 monitoring of the toll collection system with the ability to detect and diagnose problems remotely, often making repairs from the SunWatch Center. While SunWatch is still operating today and continues to have enhancements for real-time monitoring and response, the SLAM Program takes the next step in revenue assurance by examining the lane and back office systems to detect degraded modes of operation. The analogy to SunWatch is going to the doctor as a result of an acute injury, like a broken leg – you detect the problem and resolve it; while the analogy to SLAM is going to get an in-depth annual blood analysis to detect any potentials problems and then taking corrective action, such as starting a vitamin regiment, to ensure your body is functioning optimally.

Objectives

The primary objective of the Turnpike's SLAM Program was to improve the Turnpike's revenue collection efficiency. The Turnpike has many established performance metrics which are monitored by a government oversight body, the Florida Transportation Commission. Revenue performance is a major factor in the evaluation for the Commission and to Bond Rating Agencies. Although several individuals at the Turnpike were engaged in analyzing system performance, there was not a concerted or coordinated effort. The SLAM TEAM developed the program and implemented on a Turnpike-wide basis with a team of professionals from diverse backgrounds including finance, network communications, toll lane systems and computer network and hardware expertise.

Results

The results of the SLAM Program have been outstanding. The Turnpike estimates that the team efforts have resulted in over $10 million in collected revenues and operational cost savings per year over the past three years, for a total savings in excess of $30M. This has been accomplished through a combination of detecting degraded equipment; lane system improvements and implementing video toll processing improvements. The application of performance metrics in equipment and system performance in a coordinated and documented way is innovative and has improved the bottom-line for Florida's Turnpike.

SLAM's track record of precise findings, detailed reports, and successful recommendations for improvements has quickly gained respect within the agency and made them the "go-to" team for any problem requiring in-depth analysis. In the three years of operation, they have logged and closed over 250 investigative issues, including 12 complex issues that included system upgrades and gained the agency $14M in revenue through a combination of increased toll revenue and decreased operations costs.