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Tolling Points

MaaS, Connected Vehicles Lead IBTTA Technology Summit Program

By: 
Bill Cramer

Laura Kelley, Executive Director of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, and Fran O’Connor, Vice President of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, are co-Chief Meeting Organizers of IBTTA’s Annual Technology Summit, March 31-April 2, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. In this interview with Tolling Points, they talk about the rapid evolution of tolling and surface transportation technology and the way those shifts have changed IBTTA’s annual technology event.

What do you see as the most important and innovative elements on this year’s Summit program?

FO: The Summit program really has something for everyone. The industry is changing fast, and that means technology has to serve every tolling agency’s needs, even as those needs gradually shift and change. So we’re covering the nuts and bolts of managed lanes, facility operations, and back office systems in an era of electronic toll collection. We’re also talking about Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and autonomous and connected vehicles, both areas that are developing and becoming tremendously important to the tolling industry. And we’re looking to the future, with MaaS raising questions about who’s in the cars that are driving our toll roads. That starts to get into pool vehicles, how people get to the airport, and how they get from their homes to mass transit—all questions that were not on the agenda five years ago, but that tolling agencies have the experience and versatility to address.

LK: The intermodal discussion is very important. The tolling industry has a history of innovative solutions, and as we begin discussing intermodal connectivity, the key is developing technologies that connect services that are individualized to the customer. Many of us are already exploring how we participate in these conversations, and this conference will give our industry the opportunity to compare notes.

How does the evolution of this annual program over the last few years reflect the key strategic directions in surface transportation technology?

LK: You’re going to have the opportunity to experience a wider variety of presentations and conversations than you’ve ever encountered at previous IBTTA conferences.  We will be talking about all types of innovations, including a wide range of emerging technologies and new tolling solutions.

FO: Recent conference participants will remember this event as the summit on managed lanes, AET and Interoperability. Those three topics are now far along in their implementation, and IBTTA members have some great lessons learned and best practices to share. Not too many years ago, this was the annual event that  looked ahead to the future impacts and opportunities in electronic toll collection. That technology has now matured, and a new generation of opportunities is on the horizon.

That’s why there’s so much going on at this event. The pre- and post-Summit roundtable discussions have expanded the program content and will give participants a chance to be part of smaller, more interactive session where they can choose topics they’re interested in.

We’re also launching a new Young Professionals’ Council to create space for the next generation of tolling professionals and encouraging veteran members to bring along their younger colleagues to get involved with the conference and the industry.

What specific knowledge, ideas, and insights will participants take away from attending a conference in Orlando?

LK: You’re going to hear about transportation solutions providing connections across mobility platforms, including airports, major transportation corridors, and the alternative modes of transportation under development today.  Central Florida has more than $10 billion being invested in transportation solutions, and Orlando has really arrived as a test bed for emerging technologies, with SpaceX and now Virgin Group engaged with the region.  We have the world’s most cutting-edge technologies being tested here. Bloomberg Philanthropies recently selected Orlando as one of 25 American Cities Climate Challenge winners. This grant brings important support to continue to lead on climate action, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, including emissions associated with transportation.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

LK: Everyone has a tendency to think of Orlando as the place to enjoy theme parks. Our business community’s motto is: ‘You don’t know the half of it.’  After attending this conference, you’ll walk away seeing us differently. The scheduled tours for this summit will showcase just how diverse Orlando is and how emerging technology is an ongoing conversation in our community.   This is the perfect location for the IBTTA Annual Technology Summit.

FO: If there’s one conference IBTTA members should attend this year, it’s this one. The track leaders and planning group members who put this program together really did a fantastic job, and it shows.

Register today for IBTTA’s Annual Technology Summit, March 31-April 2 in Orlando, Florida.