Dallas TX area to go cashless by year's end, Miami HEFT next spring

April 2, 2010
By Peter Samuel

Major moves toward cashless tolling will be made this year and next, with the largest conversions to all-electronic tolling (AET) on major toll systems in Texas and Florida. In the Dallas area North Texas Tollway (NTTA) plan to collect their last cash tolls before the end of this year. NTTA already has two major all-electronic tollroads operating: President George Bush Turnpike and Sam Rayburn Tollway.

They announced today they will go cashless on the Mountain Creek Lake Bridge in the third quarter of this year and the Addison Airport Toll Tunnel in the fourth quarter.

Dallas North by year's end

Their biggest conversion this year will be the Dallas North Toll Road, their oldest and busiest pike which does 560k toll transactions per day and is collecting about $140m/year in tolls. 51km (32 miles) long and mostly 6 lanes the DNT has four mainline plazas and 16 ramp plazas. It will cease cash collection in four segments in turn during the last quarter of this year.

Most of the system integration work for the move to cashless at NTTA is being done by in-house IT staff, a spokesman said. They are working with ETC Corp which has a longstanding relationship wioth NTTA.

Demo & clean up through to summer 2011

During the first six months of 2011 with AET in operation the length of the DNT there will be demolition work to remove the unneeded cash structures.

No decision has been made about treatment of surplus pavement - the 'belly-out/belly-in' wide areas needed to organize traffic in multiple lanes going by cash booths.

For the moment these large areas of concrete will simply be barriered off.

Total cost of conversion to all-electronic tolling of the Pres Geo Bush Turnpike, the DNT and bridge and tunnel toll plazas is put at $92m.

HEFT to go AET by spring 2011

In Florida the biggest conversion effort to cashless is on the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike (HEFT) the Turnpike's busiest tollroad at 440k toll transactions per day and $99m in revenues.

One evening less than a year from now Turnpike staff plan to take the last cash tolls at 16 ramp plazas and four mainline plazas of the HEFT simultaneously. The HEFT mostly 8 lanes goes 75km (47 miles) on the west and north sides of Miami. All traffic will go under gantries and pay by SunPass brand transponder or Pay-by-Plate, the term being used there for video tolling or license plate reading cameras.

Raytheon is the systems integrator for the AET conversion and a Miami company MCM is doing civil construction. Cost of the conversion of the HEFT is around $85m (Two 'civil' construction contracts totalling $58m, plus toll system work of $18m, management costs, & marketing.)

MDX four tollroads more leisurely conversion

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) also has AET conversion under way and cash collection will be ended progressively over their four tollroad system between June this year and some time in 2013.

The Gratigny Expressway SR924 with just a single mainline plaza is due go AET June 7 this year.

In July the Don Shula SR874 will cease cash collection, and the associated Snapper Creek SR878.

The two biggest MDX tollroads conversion is less advanced, but the Airport SR112 should go in 2012 and the Dolphin SR836 in 2013.

ETC Corp is MDX's system integrator.

Florida doing prepaid video toll & postpaid

In Florida there will be three payment options:

- SunPass transponder

- Pay-by-Plate Prepaid video toll to an established account

- Pay-by-Plate Postpaid video toll with bill by mail


NTTA changing violations policy

NTTA are adjusting their violations procedures to ease the transition.

Going through the central open road toll lanes without a TollTag or other texas brand transponder where there are cash to the sides - on the DNT - is still technically a 'violation' but the transaction is now being processed as a video toll via the ZipCash brand.

The so-called  'administrative fee' charged has been reduced from the old $25 as a violation penalty to $8.33 so long as it is paid before it goes off to the collections agency.


Traffic heavier in Dallas

Toll conversion in Florida is much less difficult because of the dramatic drop in traffic in the Miami area. The HEFT traffic is off 13% on 2007 (and revenue is down 15%) and the HEFT now carries less traffic on 8 lanes than the Dallas North carries on six lanes.

DNT tolls up 39%, HEFT down 15% since 2007

Texas' economy has held up way better than Florida's. DNT traffic is up 5% (and revenue is up 39%) over 2007. The higher intensity of traffic in Dallas makes staging of conversions essential. They don't have the luxury of doing a one-hit switchover like Florida.

see

http://www.ntta.org/AboutUs/Projects/AllETC

http://www.floridasturnpike.com/all-electronictolling/index.html

http://www.mdxort.com/

previous report on HEFT conversion:

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4300

TOLLROADSnews 2010-04-01 SMALL ADDITIONS 2010-04-02 12:00, 2010-04-05 15:30

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