PANYNJ to get new toll system allowing move to all-electronic/cashless

February 25, 2010

Port Authority New York New Jersey (PANYNJ) will completely replace their existing toll system with one allowing easy conversion to all-electonic toll (AET) collection. The new system will support existing cash collection so the move to all-electronic or cashless tolling can be made separately from the switchover from old to new systems.

At their monthly meeting today the board of the authority heard as their first agenda item a proposal for the new toll system from director of bridges, terminals and tunnels, Victoria Cross Kelly. She asked them to approve moving forward with the procurement of the new toll system estimated to cost - all up - about $175m. (see ADDITION at bottom)

The board voted in favor without questions or a dissenting vote.

Authority was also granted for the appointment of PBS&J as project managers to help manage the toll system procurement.

Kelly said the new system is needed because the present one - installed in 1997 - is obsolete. New capabilities are needed, not least all-electronic tolling (AET).  The new system will also eliminate the need for system-associated lane closures and improve billing accuracy.

Kelly said: "The new system will address this obsolescence, while building for the future."

The new toll system will support the existing cash toll collection so the move to cashless can be done when the PANYNJ is ready to make that move.

Timetable switchovers from mid-2012 through end 2014

The plan is do an RFP this year and select a toll system supplier and sign a contract by mid-2011 so that the first toll plaza can be switched to the new toll system by late 2012. Other plazas will follow one by one with all eight toll plazas on the new system by the end of 2014.

Kelly said once the whole system is modernized the PANYNJ can continue to collect cash plus E-ZPasss electronic tolling or they can move to cashless all electronic tolling. This is a combination of E-ZPass transponder tolling and camera reads of license plates.

The switch to AET can occur "either immediately or at some later date," Kelly said. "In short the system will be able to handle cashless tolling when we are ready to turn it on."

Phase-in "significantly reduces both cost and risks," she said.

All system software and hardware will be replaced - all in-lane equipment, cameras, computers, software and the main system computer and backup computer, customer signage and signals.

The PBS&J project management contract will be for up to $10.5m through the end of 2013 and extensions. PBS&J's project management proposal was the "highest rated" of competitors for the management work, Kelly said.

In planning the new system PANYNJ were assisted over several years by Traffic Technologies Inc led by Michael Kolb. see

Four bridges, two tunnels, 8 toll plazas

PANYNJ have four toll bridges and two toll tunnels. The large 14 travel lane George Washington Bridge has three toll plazas, the others one each for a total of eight toll plazas.

There are a total of 72 toll lanes in the system.

Tolling will remain eastbound-only.

BACKGROUND: PANYNJ is the one of the top grossing toll agencies in the US after New York City's MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

In 2009 243m vehicles were handled or an average daily 665k. Toll revenues were $967m.

Eastbound the PANYNJ operates congestion pricing - variable toll rates with higher rates in peak hours.  This has considerably reduced queueing times and speeded travel between northern New Jersey and New York City.

COMMENT: With all-electronic tolling they should consider tolls in both directions so the congestion mitigation of variable pricing can be brought to westbound traffic as well as eastbound.

ADDITION: we're told the PANYNJ hope to get a contract for well under $175m, a number which they say has to provide for the PANYNJ engineering, planning, administrative and financing costs as well as the procurement.

TOLLROADSnews 2010-02-25 ADDITION 2010-02-26 10:00

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