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Technology 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.


Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission receives the Technology Award for 511PAConnect, a new, trapped-traveler emergency communications tool that allows incident response teams to communicate via automated phone or text message directly with motorists who are trapped in a roadway backup. Extreme weather events are unpredictable, unavoidable, and can wreak havoc on travelers through road closures or by trapping them between exits. In 2016, Winter Storm Jonas stranded hundreds of travelers along a remote mountainous stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In emergency situations drivers will turn to any available source for news and updates, often including social media. 

This patchwork collection of news sources leads to misinformation, buried emergency communications, and overwhelmed agencies scrambling to monitor too many platforms at once. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) realized the need for unplanned, instantaneous, two-way communications for emergency situations.

511PAConnect delivers timely and accurate information to ALL effected travelers without prior registration or awareness of the program. When PTC opens an emergency event, an alert is immediately sent to all cell phones in the impact area. By following instructions on their phones, drivers select their preferred means of communication and can communicate questions or concerns directly with PTC. The tool asks for situational information (type of car, number of passengers, etc.) and allows users to share their location so PTC, PennDOT, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency can understand the scope of the emergency and quickly shape their response.

511PAConnect is a life saving tool created with existing technology familiar to the public and agency staff. In its first year of operation, it has proven tremendously successful by meeting and exceeding agency goals and expectations. During the first five emergency events, non-emergency 911 calls decreased, customers engaged with the tool and responded positively (including “thank you” texts), and a trapped queue was avoided thanks to a precautionary alert. 


Harris County Toll Road Authority

The Harris County Toll Road Authority introduced its Prohibited Vehicle/Rapid Alert System (RAS) as a spin-off project after replacing its legacy toll enforcement infrastructure. The original system upgrade included development and/or augmentation of software applications that generate an alert directly to law enforcement whenever a vehicle from a list of top 500 prohibited vehicles passes through a tolling gantry. For years, HCTRA knew the standard toll enforcement strategy of having deputies watch out for violators was becoming less effective. The authority had introduced video tolling for large corporate accounts, and allows customers to temporarily add vehicles to existing accounts without obtaining a transponder. The system also accommodates non-revenue accounts for disabled veterans and access for unmarked emergency vehicles. The added feature makes it feasible for a deputy to locate and stop a habitual violator to issue a citation. It also targets violators who try to avoid paying their outstanding HCTRA tolls and continue using the tollway by obtaining a valid toll transponder from another regional tolling agency.



Transurban and the Virginia Department of Transportation launched the 495 Express Lanes in November 2012 to reduce congestion and offer drivers more choices. The 14 miles of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in Northern Virginia, the product of a public-private partnership, introduced new traffic patterns, a new E-ZPass® transponder, and new rules of the road along one of the country’s busiest and most technologically advanced highway corridors.

A project budget of nearly $2 billion, made possible through an innovative combination of public funding, federal financing, and private partnerships, triggered the replacement of more than $260 million worth of aging infrastructure and culminated in the most significant package of highway improvements the region had seen in a generation. The project included complete reconstruction of 58 interchange bridges and overpasses, many of them including new bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways, as well as upgrades to 12 key interchanges and new access points at Merrifield and Tysons Corner, two of the region’s most heavily-travelled shopping and employment destinations.


Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)

Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)

Purpose and Objectives

Salik (“open” or “clear” in Arabic) is Dubai’s all-electronic, Open Road Tolling (ORT) system. The primary objective of the Salik ORT System Expansion was to reduce traffic congestion on the city’s main roads by adding new tolling points to encourage diversions to alternate routes. The project involved construction of three new electronic toll collection locations with six new gates, four on Ittihad Road and two on the Airport Tunnel corridor, in order to:

  • Minimize the use of right of ways by deploying new, free-flow tolling zones that do not require space for manual toll plazas; Operate efficiently and reliably, without interfering with the UAE’s GSM900 mobile phone system; Maximize vehicle image capture to support enforcement and protect revenue; Deploy all infrastructure above the roadway, with no in-road sensors or pavement modifications, and perform all maintenance above or beside the roadway, to eliminate any need for road closures and minimize traffic disruption at new tolling points.

Vital Stats

  • 14 ORT lanes (one zone in each direction at seven locations)
  • US$6.6 million budget, funded with internal resources
  • More than 1.4 million Salik accounts
  • Approximately 1.5 million transactions per day
  • 13 to 30% reduction in off-peak travel times on the Ittihad Road corridor
  • 43% reduction in off-peak traffic volume and 16 to 22% reduction in peak volume on the Airport Tunnel corridor
  • 43% reduction in off-peak traffic volume and 10% reduction in peak volume on the Ittihad Road corridor.


Project designers minimized use of the highway right of way by placing all the system’s sensors on two over-road gantries, with processing and support equipment housed in a 5.0 x 2.5-meter (16 x 8-foot), air-conditioned roadside enclosure. The sensor array includes overhead scanners for vehicle positioning and classification, an RF antenna to capture transponder data, and video imaging for enforcement.

To introduce electronic toll collection, the Roads and Transport Authority made RFID transponders available to all highway users. The system must operate at temperatures up to 85°C (185°F) and speeds up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour—and to accommodate extreme desert conditions, it must be powered without a battery.

The expanded system uses video capture to identify toll violators across up to seven lanes of fast, free-flowing traffic. Roadside processing systems have been optimized to manage the enormous volume of real-time imaging.

The system is reliable enough to allow for continuous, unattended operation, with high levels of redundancy and automatic failover and fault tolerance.

These success factors combined to provide Salik users with:

  • The world’s largest open-road, multi-lane, free flow tolling point
  • The world’s widest single-direction free flow tolling zone, at more than 44 meters (144 feet)
  • The world’s first 870 MHz toll system
  • The world’s first SMS customer notification system
  • A dedicated service team for fleets and special accounts
  • Complete over-the-road maintenance capability inside cladded gantries, so that road closures are never needed for routine maintenance.

The Authority has sold more than 620,000 Salik tags since the system opened in April, and processes 1.5 million transactions per day.

Agency Contact
Eng. Sofiene Jegham, Senior Manager - ITS Design & Implementation, ITS Department
+97 142 904969


The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited

The Open Road Tolling (ORT) Project comprises of three different entities. The ORT Operations consists of the road side system where transactions are generated; images are taken; reading of the tag; Vehicle License Plate information captured and toll tariffs applied as well as the ORT back office that applies discounts; verify compliance and carries out manual verification. The second entity is the TransactionClearing house operations where transactions are linked to an account and payments transacted. The third entity is the violations processing operations that manage overdue transactions, debt collection and enforcement. The Transaction Clearing House and violation-processing center are national assets from which all-electronic toll collection transactions and violations in South Africa are transacted. The integration of the processing of electronic toll transactions at the Bakwena toll plazas and the central Transaction Clearing House began in September 2012.
ORT objective was to centrally clear all-electronic transaction throughout South Africa from a central point. In addition, the aim was for users to have one tag and use it nationally in other South African conventional toll plazas, i.e. one tag and one account standard. The other objective was for users to have one account and manage numerous vehicles and tariffs payments through one account system this is also applicable to corporate fleets and organizations.
The successful integration between the ORT system, Transaction Clearing House and the violations processing center together with the interoperability with the ORT project with other conventional toll plazas is relevant to the overall toll industry. The ORT system is one of the largest of its kind in the world and interoperability is one of the first successful interactions internationally. The project has increased capacity and will continue to increase capacity through the conventional toll plazas and add convenience in the payment of toll tariffs in South Africa for users of the electronic toll collection system.


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission *

Trip Talk is an application used to deliver information to drivers via smartphone device. It is the first hands-free, eyes-free, interoperable smartphone 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 smartphones 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


ASF/VINCI Autoroutes

The project consists in three main components: maps, virtual VMS and emergency calls. Based on the real time knowledge of the road operator concerning their network, maps can be generated, figuring POI (tourist interests, hotel, etc.) rest areas and service areas of the networks (with a description of all the services provided), exit ramps, as well as road work, travel times, traffic information and traffic incidents (congestions, accidents, alerts on speed limits.) Based on the GPS of the smart phone, the same information can also be presented in a personalized way: virtual VMS is shown along the trip of our customers directly to their iPhone. Only the information concerning the specific road the customer is using is then provided. Finally, knowing the customers position on the network, a third innovation is offered to the users: in case of emergency, or car break in, a simple click on the emergency call button establishes a connection with the operator, exactly as if the customer had walked along the motorway to reach the next emergency phone. The call and position of the customer is presented to the operator directly on emergency management tool. Reaction delays can then be highly reduced and safety highly increased.


Queensland Motorways Limited

Queensland is Australia’s fastest growing state with more than 1,500 people migrating each week. In the capital city, Brisbane, more than 250,000 trips are recorded on the Gateway and Logan motorway toll roads each day. Over the past decade growing traffic numbers have contributed to heavy congestion, lengthened journey times and reduced trip time reliability. Toll plazas added to the problem, creating a choke point for motorists. In 2005 an AU$1.88 billion upgrade of the Gateway Bridge and motorway was announced by the State Government. It also announced that Queensland Motorways would transition from hybrid cash and constrained lane electronic tolling to a full open-road completely electronic tolling system known as free-flow tolling, prior to the opening of the second Gateway Bridge in 2011.  In 2007 the scope of the project increased to include the Logan and Gateway Extension motorways and its delivery was brought forward by two years, to provide the benefits of the system to customers sooner. The new system was implemented to reduce congestion, and improve travel times and safety. Queensland Motorways established partnerships and alliances with leading industry vendors to deliver the major program areas, which included: roadside systems and infrastructure; central back office systems and processes;  extensive civil construction works;  brand, product and channel development;  organisational change management; and Communication and stakeholder engagement.  In July 2008, Queensland Motorways successfully delivered the project’s first phase with the introduction of the advanced SAP system for the company’s human resources and payroll processes. This was followed by the delivery of a new SAP finance system in December 2008. In parallel with these activities, the Logan Alliance – comprising Queensland Motorways, BMD Constructions, and Kellogg, Brown and Root– carried out civil works to upgrade interchanges and toll points on the Logan and Gateway Extension motorways. The Leighton Abigroup Joint Venture carried out the civil works on the Gateway Motorway as part of the Gateway Upgrade Project. The works also involved installing 13 tolling gantries and associated infrastructure across the road network. On 1 July 2009 the transition to free-flow tolling began with the launch of the new Central System, eCommerce website, IVR system, brand and suite of product and payment channels. On 22 July, cash tolling on the roadside ceased permanently when the cash booths and toll plazas were closed and the new roadside system commenced full free-flow tolling operation. Queensland Motorways successfully transitioned to the new tolling system, with no unexpected loss of revenue and minimal impact on customers.


407 ETR Concession Company, Ltd. *

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.


Illinois Tollway

Having a web site is old news, but having a customer-centric Business Portal is the new standard by which your customers judge their relationship with you. The Illinois Tollway is enhancing customer service by providing Web-based tools and services to more than 2.6 million I-PASS customer accounts that pay tolls electronically and demand account management features in a timely manner. With the implementation of system-wide Open Road Tolling, the Illinois Tollway upgraded its traditional Web site to a Business Portal to meet customer eCommerce demands. These demands became business critical as the primary method by which the Tollway received its revenue shifted from 62 percent cash usage in 2003 to 80 percent electronic usage in 2007. Web-based services include the ability to add funds to I-PASS accounts, maintain account information, activate transponders purchased at retail stores or calculate toll rates. In addition, more than $52 million in revenue has been processed through the Portal and a substantial monetary savings has been realized of more than $16 million by processing customer transactions electronically rather than through the contracted 1-800 customer service phone line.


Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) – which operates 537 miles of toll roads – has long recognized the critical nature of effectively communicating roadway conditions with the traveling public, media, emergency responders and internal management. With a goal of expanding its information-dissemination capabilities, the PTC launched a new Turnpike Roadway Information Program – TRIP. TRIP gathers information through automated data and video feeds from the PA Turnpike’s 24/7 Traffic Operations Center along with information from roadway crews, police, and emergency responders and delivers it to the public via its Interactive Travel Web Map, service-plaza message boards, the toll-free telephone call-in advisory system, and the automated Preferred Traveler e-mail and text message notification systems. This integrated communications network program enables the PTC to deliver accurate and consistent real-time travel information to nearly 190 million annual customers, further proving the PTC’s axiom, “You’re never alone on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”


BRISA / VIA VERDE PORTUGAL (member of APCAP - Portuguese Association of Toll Motorway Operators)

Under the framework of services related to the vehicle and driver, the goal was to conceive and develop new Electronic Identification and Payment Services, based on the existing OBU and same Via Verde Central System. The following services were identified: (1) Parking Lots (2) Gas Station (3) Access Control to Historical Areas (4) Loading/Unloading in Special dedicated areas (5) Street Parking. Besides increasing the customer base, the goal of Via Verde Portugal was to broaden the range of services supported on the same platform, thus strengthening its business model and technology option.


Harris County Toll Road Authority

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 our numbers continue to grow.



Via-T is a post-payment ETC system. Motorists only use one OBU to drive through the whole Spanish Network. This interoperable ETC system has resulted in a greater number of motorists using Spanish toll roads. In addition to this, prices for the OBU units have dropped, because VIA-T is the first multi-vendor system where currently six different ETC manufacturers are potential suppliers. The VIA-T can easily be implemented in other countries. Recently, Spain has been focusing on extending the VIA-T service to Portugal and France.


Societe des Autoroutes du Nord et de l'Est de la France

The SANEF radio broadcasts on the frequency 107.7 Mhz and gives information to clients related to traffic and weather conditions or to any event disrupting traffic flow.  However, there is no permanent presence of speakers during the night shift.  In order to be able to give traffic information when no “human” speaker is at the studio, SANEF implemented a program that extracts traffic and event information through software and system known as SYLVIA and is broadcast using ELIOTT, a virtual speaker.  Therefore, traffic information may still be disseminated on a real time basis in correspondence to changing traffic conditions.


Autoroutes du Sud de la France

The initial objective of traffic forecasting was to provide information support for motorway operations, in planning road maintenance work, in decision-making for implementing operations measures, for toll station shift organization, and other needs. However, with the increasing emphasis on customer service, there is the clear need to enable the public at large to benefit from traffic forecasts so that each driver can best prepare his or her travel plans. Therefore, in addition to the usual information diffusion means traditionally used to inform its customers about traffic conditions (the radio station, the telephone information center, and the variable message signs), ASF now provides a new traffic forecasting service based on the two-fold principle of "dynamic" and "personalized" information. This new service, which has been on line since summer 2001 on the ASF Web site (, provides ongoing and evolving information which specifically responds to the users requests. Thanks to historical data gathered on the whole network and processed with powerful and "state-of-the art" statistical techniques, customers have now on-line personalized traffic forecasts allowing them to choose the right time to plan their trip on the motorway.