This Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, marks the 20th anniversary of E-ZPass electronic toll collection interoperability. Drivers equipped with a single transponder throughout 15 states and 25 member organizations are able to use any toll road, lane or facility within the E-ZPass network without worry of being a violator.
"The E-ZPass program defines innovation, customer service and serves as a model for the successful implementation of interoperability in the transportation tolling marketplace,” said P J Wilkins, executive director, E-ZPass Group.
Originally formed in 1990 by seven toll facilities in the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the E-ZPass Interagency Group’s goal was to implement a regionally compatible electronic toll collection system that would meet the needs of the participating agencies and, more importantly, provide a convenient system of toll payment to customers. Within three years, interoperability between the agencies became a reality.
“As one of the founding members of the E-ZPass Group, it is remarkable to see how this program has grown since its inception to encompass member agencies across the Northeast, Southeast and even into the Midwest United States,” said Veronique Hakim, executive director, New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Today the E-ZPass Group operates the largest, most successful interoperable toll network in the world. There are more than 25 million transponders in use, and last year more than 2.4 billion transactions were processed.
The original concept has expanded to allow customers to use their E-ZPass transponder accounts to pay for parking at participating airports and garages. In addition, purchasing a prepaid transponder has never been easier, with units on sale at convenience stores, rest areas, departments of motor vehicles and online.
“More than 86 percent of the Illinois Tollway’s 2.2 million daily transactions are electronic,” said Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “E-ZPass interoperability gives our customers faster, safer and more convenient travel on our own system and throughout 14 other states. Whether a business traveler, tourist or a trucker carrying goods across the country, all customers are better served through this seamless network.”
As modern tolling becomes a highly preferred alternative to fund our roadways without raising traditional gas taxes, Wilkins said it’s more important than ever that all of the nation’s toll agencies become interoperable for seamless travel.
“This 20th anniversary highlights the promise and potential of interoperability,” he said. “E-ZPass clearly has laid the groundwork to advance interoperability throughout North America. Our goal remains to provide both our affiliated members and the driving public with a seamless experience, whether it’s on a toll road, bridge or tunnel.”
The organization is partnering with regional, national and international organizations to advance toll interoperability and identify related transportation solutions. A significant partner in this endeavor is the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.
Patrick Jones, executive director and CEO of the IBTTA said, “The founders of E-ZPass were visionaries who saw the opportunity to improve the efficiency and widespread use of tolling by making it more convenient for motorists. As we approach this 20th anniversary, we salute the men and women whose passion and dedication led to the creation of the largest, multi-state, non-interfering electronic toll collection system in the world.”
For more information on the E-ZPass Group, please visit www.e-zpassiag.com.