For the first time since the Golden Gate Bridge opened 76 years ago, drivers can now move freely through the toll plaza without stopping. All-electronic toll collection went into effect on March 27th, and is a trend occurring across the country, according to Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA).
Jones was interviewed this morning on NPR’s Marketplace offering comment regarding the national trend to high tech toll collection systems happening on roads throughout the country. Jones said, “You’ve seen it happen on the Tobin Bridge in Boston. You’ve seen entire systems switching to all electronic tolling in Denver, Colorado; Dallas, Texas; the North Texas Tollway Authority; Austin, Texas.”
“In the old days, you paid a toll by stopping at a toll booth and handing your money to a person or dropping your coins in a basket. This frustrated motorists because they had to stop and wait to pay a toll. Not anymore,” said Patrick Jones, IBTTA Executive Director and CEO. “Tolling once meant stop, but today high tech tolling means go, go, go.”
Also in this morning’s NPR Marketplace story, Christopher Zegras, a transportation and urban planning professor at MIT, predicted a system in the next 10 years, “much less based on the gas tax and much more based on we pay for what we use.” Zegras went on to add that electronic tolling is paving the way.
Jones continued, “According to a November, 2012 Reason Foundation study, the cost to collect a toll in a mature all-electronic tolling system is about the same as the cost to collect the gas tax.”
In January, IBTTA launched Moving America Forward, a public awareness campaign that highlights the benefits of tolling to policy-makers, the media, and other interested parties.