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Press Release

Community, Collaboration Define 2021 Toll Excellence Award Winners

The winners of this year’s Toll Excellence Award competition, hosted by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), found strength in numbers as they built partnerships to decrease congestion and improve toll customer experience

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) today announced the winners of its 2021 Toll Excellence Awards.

IBTTA honored six different industry leaders for their groundbreaking work on projects that pushed the tolling industry toward a more efficient, less congested and more connected future. Each winner will have the opportunity to present their work to the industry in a session at IBTTA’s upcoming Annual Meeting and Exhibition, which will take place in-person on October 10-12 in Anaheim, CA.

“The projects honored by this year’s Toll Excellence Awards show how the industry has really continued to come together to support their customers and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Compton, CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and IBTTA president. “Each of these award-winning organizations put in the work to enhance their customers’ experience, increase safety and decrease congestion on the roadways they manage, all while pushing the industry to embrace innovation and new technologies.”

In addition to sharing their work at IBTTA’s Annual Meeting, one of the six award winners will also be honored with IBTTA’s President’s Award for Excellence. This year’s recipient will be announced during the General Session on October 11 in Anaheim.

“Each of this year’s winning projects demonstrates how the tolling industry has viewed the pandemic as less of a crisis and more of an opportunity,” said IBTTA Executive Director Pat Jones. “They each serve as excellent examples of how tolling operators and industry partners can work together to find innovative solutions that benefit their customers, their communities and their bottom lines.”

The winners of the 2021 Toll Excellence Awards are:

  • Administration and Finance: Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC)
  • Customer Service and Marketing Outreach: MTA Bridges & Tunnels
  • Social Responsibility: Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC)
  • Technology: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority
  • Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance: Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA)
  • Private Sector Innovation Award: Carma Technology Corporation

Each year, IBTTA presents the Toll Excellence Awards to highlight the very best projects, innovations, and solutions from the international tolling industry.  The awards encourage the industry to share and celebrate new ideas and emerging practices in six categories: Administration and Finance; Customer Service and Marketing Outreach; Social Responsibility; Technology; Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance; and Private Sector Innovation. 

For more information about the IBTTA Toll Excellence Awards, to interview Patrick Jones or any of the award recipients, please contact Jacob Barron, Director of Content Development at IBTTA at jbarron@ibtta.org.

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Background on 2021 Toll Excellence Award Winners

Administration and Finance Award: Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC)
Project Name: Bridging the Gap between Strategy and Execution during the Pandemic and Beyond

By implementing a strategic management philosophy with roots in the tech sphere (the Objectives & Key Results, or OKR, methodology), OTIC took steps to ensure that all day-to-day decisions and activities are aligned with five long-term strategic objectives—improve safety, improve customer experience, improve quality of work life, maintain excellent system conditions and maintain strong financial stewardship. The approach has yielded demonstrable results in all five areas, and only cost OTIC $60,000 per year to implement and maintain. OTIC’s Strategy Execution Program and its performance metrics are available to view via the Ohio Turnpike website.

Customer Service and Marketing Outreach Award: MTA Bridges & Tunnels in Collaboration with the New York State Thruway Authority, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Conduent Transportation
Project Name: Tolls NY Smartphone Application

A joint venture from some of the biggest names in the New York and New Jersey tolling industries yielded a smartphone application that both a) empowers tolling customers in the region to take full control of the relationship they have with the organizations that manage the toll roads, bridges and tunnels they use and b) gives the entities involved a new way to communicate critical messages directly to a diverse set of customers. The Tolls NY app has been downloaded more than 1 million times and has helped customers remit over $70 million in payments since its release.

Social Responsibility Award: Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC)
Project Name: Connecting Communities

ERC’s Connecting Communities program represented a massive commitment to being a good corporate citizen. By consolidating its corporate social responsibility activities into three categories—scholarships/education, health/homelessness and the environment—ERC wound up partnering with 11 local organizations and benefiting thousands of local residents by supporting existing initiatives or creating new ones to meet the specific needs of their community.

Technology Award: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA)
Project Name: OTA Fiber Development Initiative

With new toll roads and lane expansions under construction, OTA undertook a still-ongoing initiative to create a new fiber backbone and build enhanced network connectivity on its entire system. Officials at OTA had to get creative and find the right strategic partner to help them devise a plan to construct 68.3 miles of new fiber backbone within a three-year window, while also filling fiber gaps on existing turnpikes to prepare for the conversion to all electronic tolling (AET). The result of the project will be an Oklahoma turnpike system that is less congested and safer than it was before the new fiber backbone.

Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance Award: Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA)
Project Name: Selmon West Extension Design and Construction

THEA’s newly-completed Selmon West Extension is innovative not just for the fact that it’s helped alleviate congestion on one of Tampa’s busiest roadways, but also for its unique and aesthetically pleasing architecture. By conducting extensive outreach to nearby businesses and residents beforehand and deploying some very creative engineering, THEA was able to construct and operate the extension without causing major disruptions to the surrounding community.

Private Sector Innovation Award: Carma Technology Corporation
Project Name: DFW TEXpress Automatic Occupancy Verification

After finding that its manual high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) pre-declaration and roadside enforcement systems were ineffective, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation partnered with Carma Technology Corp. to launch the world’s first automatic occupancy verification system that provides HOV2+ users with a 50% toll discount on TEXpress managed lanes. Once customers using the Dallas/Fort Worth TEXpress lanes set themselves up in GoCarma, their vehicle’s HOV status can be automatically verified while on the roadway using Bluetooth technology. This eliminates the need for roadside law enforcement or costly photo image reviews.

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About IBTTA

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in more than 20 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. For more information, please visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.