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Tolling Points

Connected Mobility, Customer Service Take Center Stage at Global Tolling Summit

By: 
Bill Cramer

René Moser, Head of Strategy, International Affairs and Innovation at ASFINAG, and John Davis, Regional Director at AECOM, are Co-Chief Meeting Organizers for IBTTA’s Global Tolling Summit, September 5-7, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. In this interview with Tolling Points, they talk about the features of IBTTA’s annual international event that will deliver unique insights and contacts for participants from every part of the world.

Why is this summit so important to the global tolling industry?

RM: The first key message for me is that connected mobility is close (automated will follow), and it will influence our industry. Vehicles are getting more and more intelligent and will soon be ready to exchange information, among themselves and with the infrastructure. The summit will discuss how the tolling industry can benefit from vehicles collecting data about our infrastructure every second, and how shared mobility services might influence our business case.

The summit will also share best-practice examples for upgrading existing tolling systems, with lessons learned from creative and successful tolling projects around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to travel around the tolling world in 90 minutes!

JD: Toll entities, whether they’re in the public or private sector, are constantly striving to improve customer service, safety, and bottom-line performance, enabled by new concepts, new technologies, and new private industry services. The rapid pace of digitalization is leading to ever-increasing cooperation and connectivity between systems, operations, and organizations. This is a major disrupter to our tolling business that brings many challenges and opportunities.

The summit will leverage lessons learned within the international tolling community to ensure that the digital transition enhances our business, empowers our people, and improves our customer service.

You mentioned tolling in a connected and automated world. How is that work progressing in Europe, and what new information will participants pick up when they attend from other parts of the world?

JD: Europe has made significant progress on a layered C-ITS ecosystem that cuts across transport modes and industries. The focus is no longer solely on the infrastructure layer, but on a data layer that feeds a menu of innovative services and applications, which in turn are made available over a layer of networks. The European model also includes a regulatory layer to assure standards, market access, and fair competition across a cooperative, connected ecosystem.

This whole effort developed through a “learning by doing” approach, producing a suite of new regulations and standards for tolling systems and operations that have opened the door for the tolling industry to become a connected component of a digital transport network. The summit will be an opportunity for the European industry to share the strengths and weaknesses of that approach with the rest of the tolling world.

IBTTA’s international summit is always the best opportunity to share ideas and strategies across the entire global tolling industry. What knowledge and insights do you expect this conference to share that simply wouldn’t be available to tolling professionals in North America?

RM: Europe has had quite recently some great real-life experience with replacing nation-wide, free-flow, electronic tolling systems, with no inconvenience for customers. The summit will also feature a technical tour of the Austrian motorway system, a complex, integrated network that connects to three major European transport corridors and is managed by a single motorway management company, ASFINAG.

And of course, the summit will be a great networking opportunity, bringing together the who’s who of the European tolling industry at a single event.

IBTTA’s theme for this year is Trust and Accountability. How is that theme being applied in Europe, and in tolling agencies around the world?

RM: To me, trust and accountability is part of our business DNA. Tolling agencies are service providers. We are paid by our customers. We have to ensure that our physical infrastructure and our services are well maintained and available. We work hard to ensure safety and availability, and we must steadily improve our services to fulfill our customers’ expectations. The Salzburg summit will focus on convenient payment solutions, how existing tolling regimes can be replaced at the end of their lifetime, and how new technologies might affect our business. We’ll also look at the additional services our customers might expect, and whether they would be willing to pay for them.

JD: Trust and accountability has always been an integral and essential part of our business. But with the rise of digitalization and connected, cooperative services, we’re seeing more sharing of roles, responsibilities, and data, which brings new governance challenges that can only be overcome through collaboration. Delegates at the Salzburg summit will gain an understanding of how tolling organizations around the world are adapting their operational models to ensure that trust and accountability remains a solid cornerstone of their business in a constantly-evolving, digitalized environment.

IBTTA conferences always highlight the host community, region, or country, but Austria has a particularly powerful story to tell. What do you find most compelling about that history?

JD: Beautiful countryside, rich heritage, and fantastic hospitality combine to make Austria a great place to visit. The Austrian culture of resilience, practicality, and creativity extends throughout its business methodology, and has made the country a leader in cooperative, connected mobility.

RM: When we talk about Salzburg, we have to think about music and W.A. Mozart. We also have to think about the Alps, the famous skiing heroes for whom Austria is well known all around the world, and the rich cultural history that is reflected in so many Austrian cities. That’s why we’ve organized a post-summit tour to some of the most spectacular places around Salzburg, including a boat tour on the “Wolfgangsee” and stops in the historic cities of Bad Ischl and Hallstatt.

Register today for IBTTA’s Global Tolling Summit, September 5-7, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria.

 

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