TxDOT hires TransCore for front-end "statewide toll systems integration, maintenance," cancels FSTech BO/CSC
By Peter Samuel
2012-07-21: TransCore has won a front-end toll contract to do Texas "statewide toll integration and maintenance" in competition with Raytheon (teamed with ETCC, VESystems) and Telvent. This means TransCore takes over from Raytheon which has run a similar operation for TxDOT for several years.
In a separate move TxDOT says it has "terminated for convenience" a $68m three year backoffice operations contract with FSTech after just seven months. We know no more on that but have begun inquiries.
On the front end contract TxDOT has made no announcement but TransCore says in a press release:
"The contract is to develop, install, integrate, test, and maintain all of TxDOT's new open road tolling (ORT) and cash collection systems deployed throughout the state and maintain all existing ORT and cash collection lanes currently in operation. A key aspect of the proposed solution includes integrating all existing lane technology installed by (Raytheon) the previous system integrator with TransCore's technology."
TransCore has been providing its readers and transponders (brand eGO and SeGO, as secured version of ISO 180000-6B stick tags) as TxDOT's RFID 'front end' for some years.
TransCore again: "The approach allows TxDOT to seamlessly transition to TransCore as its toll lane technology and maintenance provider. The end result will be a highly robust and efficient toll collection system that promotes statewide interoperability and reduces long-term operational costs through efficient maintenance processes and highly proven and technologically advanced toll products.
The procurement started in September 2011.
TxDOT said then: "The goal of this procurement is to collect toll revenue with a highly effective open road toll collection process and to reduce costs through efficient maintenance processes and proven technical applications. This includes costs associated with the maintenance of both mixed-mode (cash and electronic) and open road toll facilities."
The work is, first, on the Central Texas Turnpike System in the Austin area:
- Loop 1, 3 miles long Parmer Lane to SH 45N
- TX130, 46 miles I-35 north of Georgetown to US183S in Creedmore
- TX45N 13 miles Lakeline Mall Blvd Cedar Park to TX130 in Pflugerville
The system has seven mainline toll plazas and forty-five ramp toll plazas.
In its current configuration there are 148 toll lanes plus a communication infrastructure, equipment for facility operations and a System host computer located at the TxDOT CSC.
The CTTS is a fully integrated toll collection system with three modes of collection:
electronic toll collection (ETC), automatic coin machine (ACM) and attended toll collection (ATT).
Currently it is: 14 ATT lanes with ETC, 12 ACM-only lanes, 22 ACM lanes with ETC, 9 ATT lanes with ACM and ETC, 59 Dedicated ETC lanes, 32 Open road toll lanes
All toll plazas are linked by a 192 strand, single-mode, closed loop fiber optic network.
All toll lanes use a lane controller that controls the sensing equipment in the lane, processes transaction data, generates equipment alarms and communciates with a plaza host computer (PHC). Each of these PHCs report to the CTTS host computer located at the customer service center.
Each toll zone is supported by uninterruptible power supplies and a generator for continuous operation.
The RFP said: "TxDOT may elect for the Integrator to maintain some or all of the CTTS, upgrade one or more cash, ETC, or ORT lanes, and replace some or all of the entire CTTS toll collection system."
Second the work is for the so-called Statewide Open Road Tolling System (SORTS), all-electronic toll systems. SORTS now covers
- TX45SE in Austin
- Cameron Entrance and Exit Ramps on TX130, Pflugerville north of Austin
- Loop 49 in Tyler in NE Texas, 2 lanes
- Camino Colombia Toll Road (CCTR) in Laredo, 2 lanes
The SORTS presently has 4 mainline toll gantries and 10 ramp toll gantries with 20 toll lanes (plus dovered shoulders), communication and power infrastructure, and 2 project host servers (PHS) located at the TxDOT CSC.
SORTS is a fully integrated all-electronic toll (AET) system based on transponder-reader RFID and license plate imaging.
Three more SORTS projects are in train:
- Grand Parkway/TX99, Baytown
- DFW Connector Managed Lanes, Grapevine
- Loop 49 Phase 3A and 5, Tyler (6 mainline toll gantries and 2 ramp toll gantries)
Other projects that may be added are:
- Loop375 Cesar Chavez ML
- I-30 W Tom Landry ML
John Simler president of TransCore ITS Group is quoted: "TransCore's experience in Texas, deploying the nation's first electronic toll collection system in Dallas as well as supporting Austin and Houston's growing network of toll roads, includes a statewide footprint of more than 300 toll collection engineers, technical experts, software developers, and technicians. This provides TxDOT the ability to bridge the past with the present and build for the future. TransCore's toll collection products are the most technologically advanced in the industry and this selection is a strong testament to the long-term benefits and reduced risks associated with selecting TransCore and our technology."
The company says it maintains and operates over 30 toll collection systems across the US, making it the country's largest provider of toll maintenance services.
No word on the value of the TransCore/TxDOT front-end contract.
NOTE: "The nation's first" claims often generate lively argument.
TransCore, we think, can validly claim the first electronic toll system for a tollroad in the US - the Dallas North Tollway - by Amtech. Amtech became TransCore with the merger with Syntonic.
But some toll bridges had earlier electronic toll systems - the Coronado Bridge San Diego CA, Crescent City Connection LA for example.
And electronic toll technology in the form of a RFID reader-transponder system was used even earlier at the PANYNJ Lincoln Tunnel to track buses in the Express Bus Lane, but not for tolling purposes.
The Swedes through Combitech later to become Kapsch and a Norwegian company were even earlier in Europe.
TERMINOLOGY: normally open road tolling is multi-lane free flow highway speed toll collection alongside lane-based stop-or-slow-to-pay systems but linguistic dissidents in Austin TX and Miami FL use the terms ORT and AET interchangeably. They risk a Summons-to-Justify (StJ) before the Bureau of Toll Terms Interoperability (BURTTIOP) head officed on the northern fringe of Washington DC - editor