All-electronic consultants eTrans hawk need for better ops plans
By Peter Samuel
Daryl Fleming, Ramon Grijalva and Tom McDaniel who comprise the eTrans Group all have PhDs in engineering. But just as impressive they were heavily involved in the nitty-gritty of getting the first electronic toll systems to work during the late 1990s. We first met them back then in Toronto Canada when they were on the job at 407ETR on the world's first big all-electronic startup.
They've been at it here and there ever since.
Most engineers focus on front-end issues - getting the gantry-borne equipment, the antennas, the profilers, the loops, the lights and the cameras to work at high rates of accuracy.
Meanwhile the public relations people focus on preparing motorists with clear information about their new options and how to take advantage of them.
Fleming and colleagues are starting a regular 'blog' or opinion piece on their website.
The first argues against a front-end and PR focus detracting from a thorough Operations Plan process.
They note: "The advent of open road tolling (ORT) has introduced even greater variety into our toll operations.
As a result, some operators have 'discovered' that they require a small army of administrative staff to manage accounts, review transaction anomalies, process violations and manage collections for their ORT systems - all at significant expense. The ill will this type of operation typically generates with patrons also comes at a real cost."
They argue for using the move to ORT or AET as an opportunity to completely rethink tolling, working up a full operational plan, then revisiting and revising it regularly in the light of experience: