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IBTTA/TRB Joint Symposium Explores a Wave of Tolling Innovation

By: 
Bill Cramer

René Moser, Head of Strategy, International Affairs and Innovation at ASFINAG, and Michael Davis, Vice President and Tolls Service Group Leader at RS&H, are Co-Chief Meeting Organizers for the IBTTA/TRB Joint Symposium on AET and Managed Lanes, July 16-18, 2017 in Dallas Texas. In this interview with Tolling Points, they explore the innovations that have swept the tolling industry over the last year, and the next wave on the near horizon.

What do you see as the biggest advances in all-electronic tolling over the last year, and how do you see the industry evolving over the next two to five years? 

RM: AET means greater comfort and convenience for drivers, less risk of collision, and less pollution due to stop-and-go traffic. More and more countries around the world are implementing AET solutions, and the electronic toll collection market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of over 9% between 2017 and 2022. That opportunity brings new focus to challenges like the interoperability of different AET solutions, cross-border enforcement of toll violators, and excellent service delivery for customers who may not be digital natives.

MD: Camera technology for license plate recognition, as well as the emergence of new technology for vehicle occupancy detection, reflect the growing sophistication of AET, both for traditional tolled facilities and managed lanes. As the connected vehicle industry continues to evolve, this new technology giant will reinforce the importance of smart corridors which are now being led by tolled facilities. Some automakers will be including connected and autonomous vehicles in their fleets as soon as 2020/2021, and they’ll be looking to toll roads as an ideal partner.

What do you see as the most significant new innovations in managed lanes in recent years? 

MD: Managed lanes are a proven, viable tool to manage congestion during the most trying times of day. As these lanes continue to evolve, and the United States sees more regional networks of managed lanes, the door will be open for other countries to consider this as an option for their congestion problems.

RM: As a European, I experienced managed lanes for the first time when I attended the IBTTA Annual Meeting and Exhibition last year in Denver, Colorado. They are an innovative tool to fight congestion and ensure reliable driving times. In Europe, we often rely on multimodal transport solutions and information services for that purpose. I don’t think there’s a one-fits-all solution, but I know we’ll all need new approaches to cope with a huge increase in traffic—and that’s why our Tuesday morning session in Dallas on international experiences with managed mobility will be so important. We’ll hear some great insights from different regions of the world and learn about the strategies they’ve followed.

This is the first time IBTTA has co-organized an event with the U.S. Transportation Research Board. What benefits do you see in IBTTA’s partnership with TRB, and what does it say about the growing prominence and importance of the tolling industry? 

RM: I’m very happy that IBTTA and TRB joined forces and organized this event together. I believe strongly in cooperation, and I've fully supported the idea of a joint event from the very beginning—because we know that knowledge is something that grows when we share it. Each organization has its own specific priorities and expertise, but we share a common goal: providing greater mobility to our customers. And tolling is an important tool that enables us to invest in our infrastructure, adequately maintain and operate our roads, and invest in the research that brings us innovative technologies.

MD: TRB is a key partner that brings the academic community together with state DOTs, and connects with the key providers of transportation services and technology. The working relationship between TRB and IBTTA will become even more important as states continue their adoption of priced managed lanes, which necessarily involves collaboration between tolling agencies and DOTs. As René said, one size does not fit all, and we can learn from each other as we address the complexities.

Business networking is one of the main purposes of every IBTTA event. What hot technology topics do you expect to hear about in the hallways during the Symposium? 

MD: The big buzz on the streets is the emergence of connected and autonomous vehicle initiatives across the world. The biggest unknown is how, and when, these emerging technologies will affect the transportation industry as we know it today. How will the enormous amounts of data being collected by these new-age vehicles be handled, distributed, and kept secure? How will the transition affect entities in and around the transportation industry, such as insurance carriers, maintenance crews, and first responders?

RM: Digitalization is already such a big part of our daily lives, but at this conference we will hear about how it affects the tolling industry. As digitalization and automation change mobility behavior, and with future vehicles operating autonomously, will we still need managed lanes? How will autonomous vehicles interact with the millions of conventional cars on our roads? And how readily will our customers accept the new technologies?

Sign up today for the IBTTA/TRB Joint Symposium on AET and Managed Lanes, July 16-18, 2017 in Dallas Texas. It’s IBTTA’s fastest growing meeting!