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Tolling Points

Kansas Turnpike’s New Open Road Tolling System Gets the Transition Right

By: 
IBTTA

The mark of a smart, mature business is its ability to not only do the right thing, but also to do things right. So, it is great news that the Kansas Turnpike is not only making the transition to open road tolling (ORT), but timing the process to minimize job disruptions for long-time staff.

There’s no question that efficient, tag-based tolling systems are a big job creator: by reducing traffic gridlock and moving people and goods more quickly and reliably, they speed up the pace of business itself, driving economic growth and opening up opportunities for businesses and the people they employ.

But it takes sensitivity and care to get from here to there. In many of the country’s oldest tolling agencies, toll collectors have been on the job for decades. They’ve been devoted to their work, often building strong, friendly relationships with regular customers. They’re the face of the tolling industry and part of the tolling family, and they deserve fair consideration when their collections’ jobs come to an end.

In Kansas, the rhythm of an aging work force was one of the factors in play when the Turnpike Authority opened its ORT facility in December 2017. The system is designed to be safer and deliver better customer service, the agency’s Director of Business Services and Customer Relations, Rachel Bell, told local media. But the changeover is also beginning at a moment when 70% of the Turnpike’s employees are at retirement age, or will be in the next 10 years.

That makes the Kansas Turnpike a textbook example of how to get a technology-driven transition right. Managers are thinking about the best possible outcome for the people who are already on their team. Creating jobs downstream by boosting their customers’ day-to-day efficiency. And when they do hire a new generation of young, tech-savvy employees, they’ll be able to attract the talent they need for a modern, 21st-century tolling system.

The $13.4-million conversion project will be complete in the next couple of months, depending on weather, the Kansas City Star reports. The ORT system accepts Oklahoma’s Pikepass as well as KTA’s K-Tag.

Register now for IBTTA’s Managed Lanes, AET & Technology Summit, April 22-24, 2018 in Charlotte, NC, to learn more about Open Road Tolling.

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