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North Texas Tollway Authority

Toll Enforcement Remedies: Equity of Toll Payment

Award Category: 
Customer Service & Marketing Outreach
Award Year: 
2014

North Texas Tollway Authority

Award Category: 
Customer Service & Marketing Outreach
Award Year: 
2014

Purpose and Objectives

The objective of NTTA’s Toll Enforcement Remedies Program is to ensure equitable payment by all toll road drivers and guarantee fairness to the 92% of customers who pay for their use of the region’s toll roads. As of June 2013, when the Texas Legislature authorized the program by adopting Senate Bill (SB) 1792, violators owed NTTA almost $50 million in unpaid tolls.

Over the short and longer term, the program was designed to:

Reduce the percentage of transactions that are invoiced and never paid to 7.4% in 2014 and 6.5% in 2015; Increase TollTag use to 80% in 2013 and 82% in 2014; Identify previously unmatched and unpursuable transactions; Streamline the collections process for unpaid accounts.

Between June and September 2013, NTTA offered a 90-day grace period to habitual violators. To encourage payment, the agency waived administrative fees on past due tolls for any customer who opened a new TollTag account or resolved an outstanding TollTag account balance.

Vital Stats

  • 50% decrease in habitual violators using toll roads

During the 90-day grace period:

  • More than 694,000 calls received
  • More than 71,200 front counter customers served
  • 22% year-over-year increase in new TollTags distributed
  • More than $4.7 million in past-due tolls collected
  • More than $4.4 million obligated in 5,300 customer payment plans to settle outstanding toll bills.

Innovative Features

NTTA grounded the three-year project in a commitment to fairness and meaningful consequences for drivers who routinely use the agency’s toll roads without paying for their use. In 2012, the Authority launched a communications and outreach project to encourage toll payment and build support for tougher toll enforcement legislation. The three-pronged strategy included a “Pay Up” education campaign targeting toll scofflaws, legislative education supported by key strategic partnerships and alliances, and legislative action to formally define habitual violators, then block their vehicle registrations and ban them from toll roads until their tolls are paid.

Thanks to the Toll Enforcement Remedies Program, millions of dollars collected from unpaid tolls help the North Texas Tollway Authority maintain high-quality roads and invest in much-needed transportation infrastructure across the region. The three-month grace period at the beginning of the program resulted in more than $9 million in collections and payment plans, boosted enforcement awareness among all TollTag and ZipCash customers, improved the consistency of toll enforcement remedies across Texas, and strengthened NTTA’s relationship with stakeholders and legislators.

By collaborating with tolling entities across the state, NTTA developed a consistent, universal approach to ensure payment across all customer groups. The program is a roadmap for improving tolling operations, for NTTA and all other toll businesses, providing a template for agencies to:

  • Keep faith with customers who consistently pay their tolls
  • Ensure due process for habitual violators and accountability for the agency
  • Provide expanded opportunities for prior notice and payment
  • Improve customer access to all-electronic toll tags.

Agency Contact: Kimberly Jackson, Senior Director of Public Affairs, kjackson@ntta.org