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Press Release

IBTTA Announces 2018 International Toll Excellence Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, August 1, 2018
CONTACT: Bill Cramer, Communications Director
bcramer@ibtta.org or 202-210-2962 (mobile)


As Toll-Financed Infrastructure Continues to Grow Across the Globe, Awardees are Unleashing Innovative Solutions to Enhance Mobility

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the worldwide embrace of tolling continues, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) today announced the winners of the 2018 Toll Excellence Awards recognized for their creative, innovative solutions helping to meet the needs of drivers throughout the world.

IBTTA, the worldwide association representing the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them, presents the Toll Excellence Awards annually, to highlight the very best projects, innovations and solutions from the international tolling industry.  IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Awards assists in the transmission of new ideas and emerging practices throughout the industry to the benefit of the driving public around the globe. 

“Localities throughout the globe continue to harness the power of toll-financed transportation and this year’s Toll Excellence Award winners represent the industry’s most innovative practices to promote greater mobility for drivers from North Carolina to the United Kingdom,” said Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA.  “Today’s transportation challenges require creative strategies and new technologies to meet the demands of the driving public. The tolling-industry has become a worldwide incubator for the implementation of cutting-edge solutions.”

David Machamer, Chair of IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Award Committee and Assistant Executive Director for Toll and PIKEPASS Operations with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said, “Each year the committee sees a growing number of entries from both the public and private sectors. The process has become quite competitive with entries from across the globe. The industry is proud to share the good works, successful projects and solutions to advance the tolling and transportation industry.”

Recipients of IBTTA’s 2018 Toll Excellence Awards are:

  • E-470 Public Highway Authority (Colorado) - Administration & Finance
  • Halifax Harbour Bridges (Nova Scotia, Canada) - Customer Service & Marketing Outreach
  • Virginia Department of Transportation - Social Responsibility
  • North Carolina Turnpike Authority - Technology
  • Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise – Toll Operations, Engineering & Maintenance
  • emovis (France) - Private Sector

A full description of each award winner and the project or program for which they are being recognized is included in the background document below. 

The awards will be presented during IBTTA's 86th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, October 14th – 16th in Baltimore, Maryland. One recipient will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award for Excellence during the awards ceremony.

For more information about the awards or to interview any of the award recipients, please contact Bill Cramer, Communications Director, IBTTA, bcramer@ibtta.org; 202.210.2962.

IBTTA’s 2018 TOLL EXCELLENCE AWARDS WINNERS

Administration & Finance Award: E-470 Public Highway Authority

Colorado Senate Bill 90: Temporary License Plate Legislation - This program improved the overall effectiveness of Colorado’s temporary license plates by introducing a standardized tag design, specifications for tag placement on the vehicle, and a database for vehicle owner identification. The legislative effort, initiated by E-470 in 2012, earned the support of several Colorado government agencies, auto dealers, county clerks, and law enforcement.

The legislative effort and subsequent collaboration with the Colorado Department of Revenue will help reduce lost revenue and improve safety for law enforcement officers. The project demonstrated how a local toll authority could partner with several state agencies, state and local law enforcement, statewide local governments (64 county clerks), and private businesses to support legislation aimed at streamlining business processes for all key stakeholders. Through a one-time grant, E-470 was able to spare taxpayers the cost of implementing the project.

Customer Service & Marketing Outreach Award: Halifax Harbour Bridges

Big Lift Communications and Engagement Plan - Halifax Harbour Bridges is a provincial Crown corporation that manages and operates the Macdonald and MacKay Bridges in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The two tolled suspension bridges join Halifax and Dartmouth, with combined annual crossings of approximately 33 million. The Macdonald Bridge accounts for approximately 40 percent of the region’s daily commuter traffic, and its sidewalk and bike lane provide the only active transportation route across the Halifax Harbour. 

The Big Lift was HHB’s largest capital project since the MacKay Bridge opened in 1970, extending the life of the Macdonald Bridge by at least 75 years and reducing maintenance costs. Construction began in March 2015 and concludes in 2018.

The Macdonald Bridge was operating safely after 63 years in service, but the deck was wearing out. The Big Lift replaced the infrastructure on the suspended spans of the bridge including the road deck, floor beams, stiffening trusses and suspender ropes on the suspended spans of the Macdonald Bridge. The $205-million project budget was covered by a provincial government loan that will be repaid entirely with toll revenue. 

To manage a unique, tremendously complex, and disruptive project, HHB orchestrated the removal and replacement of 46 deck segments while keeping the bridge open to traffic most of the time. The work was completed with overnight and weekend bridge closures over a two-year period. It was only the second time in the world that suspended spans of a suspension bridge have been replaced while keeping the facility in operation.

The HHB communications team of two developed a comprehensive strategy to educate and engage all stakeholders. The communications motto of the project was to “show don’t tell” by sharing stories, videos and photos so people could understand the engineering wonder that this was and to communicate early and often the reality of the project: it would be disruptive but necessary to extend the life of the bridge. A final survey to see if the objectives were accomplished will be completed in the latter part of 2018. The overall sentiment from the community is that the project wasn’t as disruptive as initially anticipated and that it was a fascinating project to watch unfold.

Social Responsibility Award: Virginia Department of Transportation

Toll Relief: Reinventing Equity in Mobility - Toll Relief, the first program of its kind in the United States, provides meaningful financial relief to qualified residents who travel the Elizabeth River Tunnels in Virginia eight times or more a month and have a personal, annual income of  $30,000 or less. The relief is the equivalent to as much as a 57 percent reduction in tolls.

Transportation equity for those most in need has always been a challenge. With the Commonwealth planning more tolling projects, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) committed to build public awareness of the role tolling plays in delivering funding for much-needed highway improvements, while simultaneously ensuring equity for individuals in lower socio-economic brackets.
In addition to implementing an aggressive outreach program to educate the public around the need for and benefits of tolling projects, VDOT introduced Toll Relief to assist citizens facing the biggest financial impacts from tolls. In October 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Norfolk and Portsmouth residents would receive help paying tolls on the Elizabeth River Tunnels through a new Toll Relief program. The operators of the Elizabeth River Tunnels are contributing $5.5 million over 10 years to help offset
the cost of tolls on those individuals most financially stressed. The agreement is part of a broader deal to reduce the financial impact of major construction improvements for motorists in Hampton Roads

In its first year in 2017, Toll Relief delivered $458,000 in financial relief to 2,094 residents. Enrollment for 2018 is over 3,000.

Technology Award: North Carolina Turnpike Authority

Customer Value and Interoperability through Tri-Protocol Reader Technology - In September 2017, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) became the first tolling agency in the United States to read all three transponder protocols being considered for national interoperability in a tolling environment. The NCTA successfully replaced its legacy reader technology on 80 lanes of the Triangle Expressway with tri-protocol reader technology.

The new reader equipment was installed without stopping traffic or interrupting toll collection activities and with minimal impact on NC Quick Pass customers. In addition to directly supporting the drive for nationwide interoperability of electronic toll collection systems, the project allowed NCTA to offer customers NC Quick Pass sticker transponders for free for the first time. NCTA also permanently reduced the cost of the E-ZPass interoperable transponders for its customers, while still supporting all previously purchased transponders.

Toll Operations, Engineering & Maintenance Award: Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise

Supplemental Lane Analysis and Monitoring (SLAM) - One of the primary risks of converting to an All Electronic Tolling (AET) system is the loss of revenue. If the technology system that supports the toll collection system in any way fails to perform at peak levels, it may prevent a toll agency from collecting all revenues due from its customers. In other words, problems on the front end of the system can cause collection problems in the back office.  Traditional maintenance monitoring teams focus on detecting hard failures or severe degradation.  The Supplemental Lane Analysis and Monitoring (SLAM) Team, by contrast, focuses on more subtle performance degradation that might otherwise go undetected.  Such degraded performance causes revenue leakage that accumulates over time.

To accomplish this mission, SLAM is composed of a multi-disciplinary staff with experience in maintenance, lane and back office engineering, and finance.  The team defined a set of performance metrics that could be derived from transaction and back office data, then set up means to collect, summarize and monitor the data via reports and dashboards.  A regular schedule was established for daily monitoring and weekly trend analysis.  Hard failure issues that are found are immediately forwarded to front-line maintenance teams.  More subtle design-level issues or performance improvement opportunities are logged and investigated over time with assistance from appropriate outside parties, such as lane vendors and back office software architects.  Design issues are tracked until the desired changes are fully implemented and deployed to production.

The results of the SLAM Program have been outstanding. The Turnpike estimates that the team efforts have resulted in over $10 million in collected revenues and operational cost savings per year over the past three years, for a total savings in excess of $30M. This has been accomplished through a combination of detecting degraded equipment, lane system improvements, and video toll processing software and workflow improvements. SLAM’s application of system performance metrics monitoring in a coordinated and documented way is innovative and has improved the bottom-line for Florida’s Turnpike.

Private Sector for Innovation Award: emovis

New Mersey Gateway Bridge - The New Mersey Gateway Bridge in Cheshire, England is an innovative response to a seemingly impossible situation faced by many local transport authorities around the world. Congestion on the aging local bridge had reached dangerous levels, with traffic volumes that risked community access to essential services on either side of the River Mersey. With no government funding available, the community knew it would never have the funds to complete the project unassisted.

The Silver Jubilee Bridge over the River Mersey, built in 1961, constitutes a vital link for the residents of the Halton borough. Fifty-five years later, the bridge was approaching 10 times its intended traffic capacity, with daily peaks of up to 85,000 users in late 2017.

The community wanted a second bridge across the River Mersey. But funding from the national government was denied due to scarce public funding resources. With the responsibility pushed back to the borough council, it fell to a community of 125,000, with an annual budget of just over $130 million, to fund an $800 million infrastructure project.

To get the mobility it needed, the community accepted tolling on the existing bridge as well as the new one, after traffic modelling indicated that revenue from the new structure alone would not cover capital and operating costs. Given a choice between tolling both bridges or having no new bridge at all, the borough council overwhelmingly supported the project, as did local businesses and most residents.

Halton needed an experienced toll service provider that could capture and channel the community’s vision. emovis met that challenge with an innovative tolling solution that earned community support, while delivering the revenues the borough needed to meet its contractual obligations.


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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 tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 26 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, visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.