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President's Awards


Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Catch it Early is the mantra for a new geographic information system (GIS) web application created by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The application helps duty officers respond proactively to traffic flow and travel times across the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Historically, the Computer Aided Dispatch System (CADs) database was used to track fire stations and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers that service various sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The PTC's GeoAnalytics team in conjunction with the Traffic, Engineering and Operations (TEO) department, developed a suite of tools to increase the visual awareness of traffic operations. The PTC partnered with Waze, AccuWeather, INRIX and Verizon, to gain access to real-time data-feeds. GIS applications and dashboards were developed to display real-time data feeds, video, photos, radar, wind, travel speeds, weather, traffic conditions and the PTC safety and truck locations. These data layers help users and duty officers quickly identify major traffic incidents. With this suite of tools, the PTC is able to "Catch it Early, Act, Analyze and Review" (CAAR). The applications and dashboards allow the TEO to quickly detect, view, and evaluate affected areas and identify relevant emergency service providers for any given section of monitored roadway.


North Carolina Turnpike Authority


In September of 2017, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) became the first agency in the nation to read all three transponder protocols being considered for national interoperability, in a tolling-environment. Specifically, the NCTA successfully replaced the legacy reader technology on 80 lanes of the Triangle Expressway with tri-protocol reader technology. The implementation of new reader equipment was completed under live traffic, without interruption to toll collection activities, and minimizing any impact to NC Quick Pass customers. In addition to directly supporting IBTTA and the Moving Ahead Progress in the 21st Century Act's (P.L. 112-141), (MAP-21) efforts for nationwide interoperability on electronic toll collections programs, the implementation allowed the NCTA to introduce free 6C transponders and reduced cost E-ZPass interoperable transponders to its customers.


With two new toll projects scheduled to open within 18 months, the NCTA began investigating options to reach a new customer base by offering low cost transponder options and avoiding disruption to existing customers by preventing a transponder recall. The NCTA also wanted to prepare for the future of national interoperability by implementing cutting edge technology capable of reading all three candidate protocols, establishing the NCTA's path forward for technology to be utilized on all future toll facilities in North Carolina. In conjunction with the tri-protocol reader technology, the NCTA procured new, low cost 6C transponders that are offered to NC Quick Pass customers for free. The NCTA also procured lower cost TDM transponders, providing for the sale of these transponders at a lower price point. Considering the new transponders and the tri-protocol reader technology, the established objectives were mutually beneficial for the NCTA and its NC Quick Pass customers. The top priority was to offer free/lower cost transponders, which also saves customers 35% off tolls in North Carolina. Other goals included increasing transponder usage on the Triangle Expressway and converting government, fleet and first responder users to transponder accounts (previously registered license plate account customers).


Since go-live in September 2017, the tri-protocol reader implementation and lower cost transponders have positively affected both the NCTA and its NC Quick Pass customers. The decrease in unit pricing for the three current transponder options averaged nearly 70%, and total savings passed along to NC Quick Pass customers have totaled nearly $600,000 over the past eight months. More specifically, the NCTA achieved a primary goal of offering a free transponder to customers. Between January 2012 and August of 2017, the NCTA sold approximately 4,400 NC Quick Pass transponders per month. For the eight months since offering lower cost transponders, the NCTA has sold approximately 8,900 transponders per month, more than doubling the previous average. In addition, the NCTA has verified a notable rise in transponder-based transactions on weekdays before and after the implementation (59% and 63% respectively), thus reducing the costs associated the postpaid (license-plate based) billing program. Further, for the first time in NCTA's history, overall transponder-based transactions exceeded 60% for an entire quarter (January-March 2018).

The NCTA continues to put customers first and worked diligently to utilize state-of-the-art technology in the tolling industry. By procuring new transponder offerings and tri-protocol reader technology, the NCTA was able to immediately pass on the cost savings to its customers and has identified and incorporated operational efficiencies accordingly. In addition, all toll roads in North Carolina will be equipped to read the three transponder protocols being considered for national interoperability. In addition, the NCTA has demonstrated that tri-protocol technology can work in a tolling environment, with accurate transponder reads at high speeds, and without impacting the customer experience, revenue, or interoperable partnerships. By taking the risk of being the first agency to install this technology, the NCTA has helped reduce the risk to fellow agencies considering similar implementations.

The NCTA has been at the leading edge of implementing new toll collection technologies and is the first agency in the United States to read the three transponder protocols in a tolling environment being considered for national interoperability.


State Road and Tollway Authority

In 2014, the state of Georgia integrated the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and the George Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) as a means to meet evolving demands for mobility through shared infrastructure, operations, and costs. SRTA receives the Customer Service & Marketing Outreach Award fo the Commuter Credits Program, an innovative initiative from the newly integrated agency. Commuter Credits are intended to help commuters think about their transportation in a more integrated way, reduce congestion along the heavily traveled I-85, and reduce SOV usage of Georgia’s Express Lanes during peak hours. The pilot program included three components:

Shift Commute – 243 existing Peach Pass users were offered weekly $3 toll credits for reducing their weekly peak period commutes from 4+ trips to 3 or fewer; Start a Carpool – SRTA attracted carpools to the express lanes by offering daily $3 toll credits to carpools with at least one Peach Pass user; Ride Transit – SRTA offered Peach Pass users daily $2 toll credits for taking the GRTA Xpress bus routes during peak periods.

Over the course of the pilot program 210 commuters took 4,500 trips using Ride Transit. Through Shift Commute, drivers moved almost 500 trips to off-peak periods or to another mode of transit. A vast majority of users said they found both programs easy to understand and would likely continue to use them in the future. SRTA plans to continue Ride Transit and Shift Commute on a permanent basis beginning in 2018.

Commuter Credits’ positive effects and tremendous user feedback demonstrate SRTA’s exemplary commitment to community outreach and engagement. The Community Credits Program has garnered global recognition for successfully highlighting the first steps agencies can take to serve users’ increasing demands for efficiency through a unified transportation system.


North Carolina Turnpike Authority

After the North Carolina Turnpike Authority(NCTA) achieved toll interoperability with  Florida’s SunPass® in July 2013 and Georgia’s Peach Pass® in November 2014, its next step was to promote NC Quick Pass® transponder ownership as an opportunity for customers to pay lower toll rates across the U.S. east coast. NCTA’s outreach campaign offered users a more convenient customer experience, with quicker, more reliable mobility than they would achieve without a transponder. In April 2015, the Authority formed a promotional partnership with the Durham Bulls—a local baseball team, and the most popular sports franchise in the North Carolina Triangle—to build customer and brand awareness. Much of the campaign focused on reaching Bill by Mail customers through a table presence at 11 Bulls games between April and August, combined with print advertising and email marketing, in an effort to promote transponder use. In June NCTA and NC Quick Pass® began distributing 200,000 promotional inserts with paper invoices mailed to North Carolina residents. The insert offered users savings of up to 35 percent, plus the ability to pay their tolls effortlessly in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and all states in the E-ZPass® Group.


Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau

Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau

The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau introduced its electronic, distance-based toll collection system to increase fairness and equity across the highway network, boost operational efficiency, streamline traffic flow through variable pricing, and deliver superior accuracy. The agency introduced manual and electronic tolling in February 2006, followed by an eTag system in May 2012, and now averages 14 million transactions per day with a tolling accuracy rate of 99.97% and detection accuracy of 99.9%, the world’s highest. The new system consists of 319 single gantries that feature a modular design for rapid deployment. It took only 10 months to install all the gantries, with no on-the-job accidents or loss in quality. A brief presentation and video were shown during the ceremony, held in Dublin Irleand on August 31. 

View Slides

View Project Video (this link will direct you to YouTube)


Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

Purpose and Objectives

On May 19 and 20, 2013, several tornados touched down in central Oklahoma, causing widespread destruction and devastation in several communities. A deadly EF5 tornado tore through heavily-populated Moore, OK, and also hit smaller communities north and east of Moore. The damage inflicted by the tornados included 24 dead, 377 injured, and 3,937 homes and businesses destroyed. Following a declaration of emergency by Oklahoma Governor Fallin and President Obama, OTA stepped forward to help clean up the aftermath of the storms and restore key transportation corridors, enabling emergency responders and volunteers to get to the scene of the devastation.

Given the widespread destruction,  restoration of transportation infrastructure was a critical need. With obstructions limiting access to the disaster area, OTA crews worked to clear inbound and outbound roadways, removing debris and hauling it to a local dump. OTA’s efforts made it possible for first responders, relief agencies, and volunteers to respond to the significant needs experienced by local residents and businesses, thereby contributing to a sense of hope and recovery for the communities that were devastated by the storms.

Under state protocols, the Turnpike Authority was deployed through the state Secretary of Transportation as part of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM). Emergency services were underwritten by reallocating hourly and overtime salaries from routine maintenance activities—all of which are funded through OTA toll revenues.


The Oklahmoa Turnpike Authority focused its cleanup efforts on city streets and residential lots, using heavy equipment to help people who had no other way to quickly remove large volumes of debris.

OTA was onsite the morning after the May 20 tornado, with crews putting in long, hard days under tough conditions until their portion of the work was complete. OTA mobilized the human resources required to get the job done quickly and efficiently. When the situation called for more or different equipment, field managers had the authority and ability to buy what they needed. The Authority’s efforts earned praise from the Secretary of Transportation, ODEM, the affected communities, and local media.

Innovative Features

When the OTA crews were first deployed, they arrived with large front-end loaders. It quickly became clear that these large pieces of equipment were less than ideal for the confined space between city street curbs, so the Authority quickly brought in skid-steer loaders that were more suitable for the work that had to be done. When work crews realized that grapple attachments on the skid-steers would make recovery operations more efficient, the grapple attachments were purchased and used.

OTA’s response to the Moore tornados showed how tolling agencies can help citizens who are unable to help themselves in a time of emergency and devastation. By being good neighbors and answering the call, the Authority quickly cleared essential access routes and established closer bonds with its community. Working together, OTA crews from different turnpikes built their own sense of connection and achieved greater pride and team spirit.

Agency Contact
David Murdock


E-470 Public Highway Authority

E-470 Public Highway Authority, The Solar PoE-470’s commitment to being socially responsible and a toll industry leader is demonstrated through its recent effort to rely on cleaner and less costly energy sources. In 2012, E-470 completed one of the largest photovoltaic system installation projects of any toll road in the United States. E-470 is now one of only a few tolling agencies that rely extensively on solar generated electricity. 
Within the 47-mile E-470 corridor, this system powers a 17-mile stretch served by the Xcel Energy electrical grid. The 22 solar sites host solar generated electricity panels for road surveillance cameras, road signage, variable message signs and streetlights, toll collection equipment, toll plazas, maintenance facilities and the E-470 Administrative Headquarters Facility. This project has significantly reduced electricity costs and E-470’s reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. This accomplishment sets the stage for further development of E-470’s long-term plan to increase its use of renewable energy. E-470 is currently pursuing solar power systems for other segments of the toll road.
E-470 embarked on the solar project with three primary objectives: (1) combat rising energy costs, (2) reduce E-470’s environmental impact and (3) achieve these objectives with minimal financial investment. E-470 reached these objectives through the installation of a 707.52-kilowatt (kW) solar system consisting of 22 solar array sites along a 17-mile stretch of the toll road from 64th Avenue to Gartrell Road.
E-470’s solar installation project, among the largest of any toll road agency in America, provides an exemplary case study and blueprint for the tolling industry. The successful implementation of 22 solar sites along E-470 has resulted in reduction of energy costs with no capital investment or operational costs for E-470. Other tolling agencies can look at how these demonstrable results were achieved in order to guide their own similar projects.


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Submission Category: Technology

Trip Talk is an application used to deliver information to drivers via smart phone device. It is the first hands-free, eyes-free, interoperable smart phone application that broadcasts travel advisories to drivers without requiring any interaction, therefore complying with state anti-texting and distracted driving laws. Drivers receive only those advisories that are within the range of the driver, thus a custom queue contains only relevant advisories for that area. When advisories are in range of the driver, their smart phones immediately “come to life” to begin broadcasting the message. Through its web interface, any agency may have its data integrated into the system so that drivers can continuously receive travel advisories, even as they cross state and agency boundaries. The interface also allows agencies to track anonymous probe data for traffic management, without recording any information about the individual user.


Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Submission Category: Customer Service
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission developed three web-based programs to help improve communications with customers and internal staff. Alone, each was an effective package. However, integrated and used together, they make a powerful Communications Management Suite (CMS) that improves customer service, increases efficiencies and provides a potential new revenue source for the Commission. The first phase of the CMS was “TRIP” (Turnpike Roadway Information Program) a first generation automated travel advisory system. The PTC has expanded TRIP – added a customer contact and tech dispatch system, made use of mobile devices, social networking and cloud computing to create this suite of programs. Each of the new programs rests on the same web-based technology platform which was built in an expandable and modular fashion. Each has a mobile app or telephony component that leverages cloud technologies. Each program has components that improve work/cost efficiencies. Two of the programs have the potential for revenue generation. The three integrated programs in the CMS are:
  1. Customer Assistance Center Ticketing Utility System (CACTUS). CACTUS is a customized ticketing system that interfaces customer inquiries and trouble reports with PTC depts and functions. What makes CACTUS different from other ticketing systems is that it is integrated with other initiatives and serves as an overall controller.
  2. TRIP II – The Next Generation. TRIP was  designed to improve customer service by disseminating travel conditions through a web map/web site, via email/text alerts, on VMS signs, and through an interactive voice response (IVR) dial-in phone line. 
  3. Reports from the Road Crews (REPORTS). REPORTS is a web and telephony-based tool for PTC maintenance staff to report weather/roadway conditions while on the road. A Blackberry Application allows crews to enter conditions and view other reported conditions. It allows managers to view/approve reports from virtually anywhere. Reported conditions are automatically stored in the system and can be viewed by staff or crews for proactive response. Conditions are disseminated to the public via the TRIP II system. These three programs, made possible by leveraging new technologies, work in an integrated fashion to improve timeliness and accuracy of roadway reports to the public, to manage tech dispatch and repair tracking and provide a potential for producing revenue.


North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)

Submission Category: Customer Service
The NTTA, has a responsibility to deliver to service to their customers and stakeholders regardless of the economic environment. The NTTA is committed to providing the “highest level of service for the least amount of cost that is valuable for its customers and responsible for the NTTA. Having committed to an All Electronic Tolling (ETC) strategy, the NTTA customer experience has become a much larger challenge. The elimination of toll booths, the implementation of ZipCash payment systems and new facilities have put increased volume and pressure on all customer touch points. Seeking a solution to the pressure of providing value added services with less resources and capital, NTTA turned to an unlikely partner: their customers. NTTA put their “customers to work” providing advice, coaching employees, auditing customer experience and training NTTA personnel. And not just a “couple” of customers helping out “every once and a while”, thousands of NTTA customers provide valuable coaching, advice and insight daily throughout the agency. Utilizing Tamer Partners Corporation’s CDM (Customer Driven Management) application the NTTA can access customer’s 24x7 for input. This results in hundreds of customers assisting individuals (and their managers) in addressing specific performance areas by providing coaching, advice, encouragement and training. The impact is seen in reduced management expenses, increased customer loyalty, streamlined process, changed employee behavior and perhaps most importantly dramatically improved customer experience. In addition to synchronizing with customers, the NTTA also leverages CDM to facilitate virtual focus groups. The NTTA was considering two sign designs to communicate a rate change based on vehicle axles. Instead of using a traditional focus group, the NTTA was able to use this technology to get feedback regarding the two signs. These customers viewed the designs online and provided enough detailed feedback and advice that the NTTA was able to produce a third and final design that is in place today. A similar process allowed customers to view and provide feedback on new invoice layouts that were being considered. These two instances alone save tens of thousands of dollars in traditional focus group costs as well as reducing contact volumes and their associated costs. NTTA increased their level of service at a minimal cost while reducing the operational costs of quality monitoring and coaching staff. Imagine — Customers and a public agency working together for the people of North Texas.


407 ETR Concession Company, Ltd.

Submission Category: Operations
In May 2006, 407 ETR implemented Vehicle Fingerprinting, state-of-the-art technology in vehicle recognition, also referred to as Vehicle Data Tag (VDT). The implementation of this leading edge application has had a significant impact. It has dramatically reduced the number of plates requiring manual verification and the number of staff performing this function. 407 ETR’s customers make over 375,000 trips each workday and are sent over 1.3 million toll bills each month. With 20% of these trips being captured by video, a significant amount of revenue relies on being able to accurately identify these vehicles. Experience has shown that plate character information alone is not sufficient for processing some video transactions. VDT technology enhances overall vehicle recognition accuracy by providing the ability to identify vehicles using more than the plate. Available VDT software was integrated with the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software already used by 407 ETR. Considerable customization was required to build the interface between these two applications and to integrate with 407 ETR business rules. VDT technology was piloted in the second half of 2006 to allow for fine-tuning, quality assurance and learning and then was officially launched in the first quarter of 2007.


Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, SunWatch Operations Center

Submission Category: Operations
The SunWatch Operations Center is a command-and-control technical support center specifically designed to manage toll collection systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As the hub of FTE’s complex tolling network – FTE operates more than 750 toll lanes across 606 miles from Miami to north Florida – SunWatch computers track equipment, systems, software and facilities, allowing staff to keep their fingers on the pulse of the system’s performance throughout the entire state. Through technology, they can detect and diagnose problems remotely, often making repairs from their work stations. In addition, a toll-free number into the Center allows toll-plaza personnel to report problems. SunWatch staff assess critical incidents, and when warranted, dispatch a technician to the site for speedy maintenance. SunWatch is FTE’s “high-tech eyes” on the system that work to maintain peak performance by effecting repairs swiftly, whether remotely or by efficiently deploying the 150 technical support professionals stationed across the state. In keeping with its sophisticated technology, and to allow SunWatch staff to quickly access information about the system and deploy resources, all information is depicted graphically, utilizing high-tech wall-size monitors with map overlays, status charts and alarm screens.


The Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority

Submission Category: Operations
The Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority has built an exceptional transportation project to address the severe traffic congestion facing daily commuters to downtown Tampa — a 10-mile long set of reversible express lanes using a state-of-the-art open road tolling (ORT) system. The heart of the new facility is an elegant, distinctive three-lane, reversible bridge, constructed in segments at an off-site factory, then delivered to the Expressway and assembled in the median of the existing fourlane roadway. Because of its unusual design, the bridge was built entirely within the existing right-of-way, dramatically reducing project costs and virtually eliminating any impacts to the adjacent community or the environment. The reversible lanes are for cars and express buses only and have more than doubled the capacity of the existing tollway, completely eliminating congestion during peak commuting hours. And, in addition to the world’s first reversible ORT solution, the toll system also includes an innovative video toll collection product to provide non-stop travel for customers on the new bridge. This combination of timesavings, convenience, reliability and safety has resulted in traffic volumes that are more than 25% over original projections for the first year of operation.


E-470 Public Highway Authority

Submission Category: Customer Service
With a goal of increasing productivity and improving customer service through employee involvement, the E-470’s mission was to evoke a culture change that would enhance toll operations by utilizing business analytics and employee commitment. Applying process analysis and quality measurements such as Six Sigma and Lean Speed to isolate operational inefficiencies, the objective was to focus on these identified areas and maximize productivity by employing creative measurement techniques in a dynamic, competitive team environment that rewards for success.






Harris County Toll Road Authority

Submission Category: Technology
Construction of the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s new Westpark Tollway, a first-of-its-kind, totally electronic toll facility, began in June of 2001. The Toll Road Authority opened the first 8 miles of this EZ TAG-Only facility in May of 2004 and completion of the entire 14 miles of mainlanes was celebrated in June of 2005. The alignment of the Westpark Tollway begins in Houston’s Galleria area, just west of the 610 Loop and terminates at FM 1464 at the Harris/Ft. Bend County line. The Ft. Bend County Toll Road Authority has connected their new toll road with Harris County’s, which provides direct access to the Grand Parkway (US-99). Since opening the mainlanes in June, the new Westpark Tollway processed over 2.2 million transactions during the month of July, and numbers continue to grow.



Concessionaria de Rodovias do Oeste de São Paulo – Viaoes

Submission Category: Social Responsibility
The “Back Home” program is conducted in collaboration with the Brazilian Association for the Search and Protection of Missing Children (ABCD). The Program focuses on two major fronts: mass dissemination of victim information and heightened societal awareness of the problem. Pictures and data on missing children are printed on the back of millions of toll vouchers handed out daily, as well as on billboards, leaflets, web sites, VMS and through the media. Truckers are particularly targeted as a group who sometimes contribute to this tragedy by inadvertently offering rides to such persons. As a result of this initiative, three children were found and many more people have been exposed to this important information.




Florida's Turnpike Enterprise

Submission Category: Social Responsibility
First and foremost, the Turnpike Enterprise recognized the permanent and potentially devastating impact that the Suncoast Parkway could have on the natural environment and surrounding communities. In response to this concern, the Turnpike Enterprise developed and implemented the ADG to control the design process and ensure that the Parkway be compatible with the environment. In addition, the Turnpike Enterprise recognized the opportunity for a multi-modal shared-use along the corridor and constructed a multi-use “linear park” adjacent to the roadway facility.