NH/I-95 open road toll contract to Telvent for Hampton mainline plaza

September 15, 2009

New Hampshire DOT have selected Telvent Caseta to install open road toll systems at their biggest toll plaza - at Hampton on I-95. The $1.98m contract will cover toll systems work associated with the conversion, while civil works are being done under three separate contracts likely to total around $20m. Some rehabilitation of the existing plaza is included in the cost, but the existing TRMI toll system installed when E-ZPass became operational in mid-2005 will remain unchanged.

Telvent's price is well short of the $3m NHDOT estimated before the procurement. Other bidders we understand were TRMI, ACS and TransCore.  (NHDOT requires an elaborate right to know application to be made for information most DOTs provide freely, so we can't confirm this or provide competitors' prices - editor)

The conversion will take out the inner six single lanes of the existing sixteen lane toll plaza and install 2 x 2 open road lanes with shoulders and a central median barrier in a total width of 28.2m, 93ft (rightside shoulders 10ft (3.05m), leftside shoulders 8ft (2.44m), travel lanes of 12ft (3.66m).

The barriers separating the ORT lanes from the slow lanes on the sides will be around 3,000ft (915m) in length through teh plaza area.

An existing staff tunnel under the line of toll booths will be left in place to allow toll collectors and technicians to move safely under the ORT lanes.

Providing for expansion to 2x3 ORT/AET

ORT equipment will be mounted on a dual truss gantry system that spans another set of stop-to-pay/slow toll lanes on either side (see section drawing nearby), to allow expansion of ORT to 2x3 lanes in the future without having to rebuild the overhead structure.

For the time being six single toll lanes lost to ORT will be replaced with an extension of the plaza canopy both ends and extra pavement to add an extra slow toll lane in each direction on the outsides of the plaza.

That will make the toll plaza 4 ORT lanes and 12  single toll lanes - the usual mix of cash collection and  slow-speed transponder tolling in six toll lanes each direction.

Presented as mid-ground solution

Open road tolling was presented to decisionmakers in New Hampshire as a mid-ground solution between all-electronic tolling (cashless) and simply adding slow lanes to the existing toll plaza on the outsides.

The plan was argued as allowing quicker trips by transponder-equipped vehicles and as the most efficient way to reduce congestion at the toll plaza.

Congestion is especially bad during summer weekends when visitors swarm north from Boston and New York to the cooler mountains and beaches of northern New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada's maritime provinces.

Bridge MA to ME

Two thirds of the traffic through the Hampton Plaza on I-95 is out-of-state.

Reversible lanes to go

In the toll plaza's present 16 lane configuration four central lanes are reversible. It can therefore can do up to ten toll lanes in the peak direction or an estimated 5,150 vehicles/hour with the present mix of cash and roll-through single lane transponder tolling.

In 2008 peak flows at summer weekends were typically in the range 5200 to 5650 veh/hour.

Projections put 2020 August peak volumes in the 6k to 7k veh/hr range.

HNTB modeled the new toll plaza assuming capacity of:

- cash lanes 380 veh/hr

- single transponder toll lanes 1,100v/hr

- open road toll lanes 1,800v/hr

At this rate the new configuration will have a peak one-direction capacity of:

- ORT lanes 2x1800 = 3,600v/h

- cash lanes say 4x380 =1,520v/h

- single transponder lanes, say 2x1100=2200v/h

Our calculator shows that as 7,320v/h, or a 42% increase on the present max of 5,150v/hr in 10 mixed lanes.

3rd laning ORT

Going to third ORT lanes in the future would allow more vehicles (5,400v/h) through one direction of ORT than through ten slow toll lanes now. With five slow lanes to the right of the ORT total throughput would be boosted to 8740v/hr, a 70% improvement on the current throughput of 5,150v/h.

Greening via ORTing

Environmental benefits were demonstrated in modeling, with significant reductions in tailpipe emissions and CO2 through improved toll plaza throughput (see VOCs nearby)

Tight schedule

ORT systems work is due to be completed end-May 2010.

Glenn Deitiker head of Telvent Caseta says the open road toll design offered to New Hampshire is straightforward. "Caseta ORT" as they call it uses parallel lane-controllers with two streams of data, constantly checked for errors, the less error prone one being used.

They use IDRIS loops in the pavement for vehicle tracking and classification.

Caseta, as it then was, did a similar open road toll system for Central Texas RMA in Austin TX about three years ago on the 183A Toll Road.

Major uncertainty in the Hampton ORT project, Deitiker says, is "the New Hampshire winter" this year. That makes the eight month schedule (Sept thru next May) a demanding one.

BACKGROUND: Telvent is a publicly traded international IT company based in Madrid Spain and Rockville Maryland. It is listed on NASDAQ. Telvent grew in the US acquiring PB Faradyne formerly the ITS arm of Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2006, and by acquiring Caseta an established Texas-based toll systems company in 2007.

Telvent has corporate offices in PB Farradyne's old buildings just north of the Capital Beltway in Rockville Maryland.

Telvent Caseta, the north American tolling arm of Televent is based in Austin TX.

TOLLROADSnews 2009-09-15

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