Washington state going with Sirit and a new family of 6C tags

October 20, 2010
By Peter Samuel

Washington State DOT say they are going with a new family of ISO 18000 6C transponders from Federal Signal/Sirit (FS/S) at the front end of their "Good To Go!" brand electronic tolling. They are presently using eGo Plus sticker tags from TransCore - a proprietary development of the previous generation ISO 18000 6B system.

The basic 6C sticker tag measures 4.25in x 1.125in (108mm x 28mm) "about the size of a band-aid" they say. It will retail for $5 apiece vs $12 for the current TransCore eGo Plus tag.

Given 'fulfillment' costs - enrollment, mailing etc - of about $1.50 - this suggests costs to WsDOT of approximately $3.50 vs $10.50.

The basic sticker tag permanently adheres to the windshield.

WSDOT will offer customers four 6C variants:

- Velcro attached transponder that can be moved between vehicles and stored in a metalllized bag, $8

- a hardcased transponder also mounted with velcro that has a 'pulldown switch' for use in HOT lanes by motorists who sometimes are driving solo and need it 'On' but other times are carpooling and want it 'Off' because they are eligible for a free ride, $12

-  a motorbike permanently fixed sticker tag transponder that goes on the headlamp (and they say is sufficiently translucent it doesn't mess up the headlamp beam, $8

-  external hardbody transponder mounts with screw to the top of the license plate, $12

Program price and options key to procurement

Craig Stone head of tolling for WSDOT and Pete Briglia, director toll operations told us in a telephone hookup that Sirit proposed the best program price and the full range of form factors and features.

TransCore proposed Encompass 6 multiprotocol readers and a choice of eGo Plus and 6C transponders including moveable hardbodies and sticker tags, but no switched hardbody for HOT lanes.

5.9GHz proposed by Kapsch

Kapsch proposed a move to a beautiful 5.9GHz technology, but Stone said the $30 price of a transponder rules that out: "I don't think we could persuade people a $30 transponder was the right choice when there's another one available at $5."

520 bridge tolls to begin spring 2011

WSDOT will begin issuing the new 6Cs in early 2011, they say. They'll be used first on the WS167 HOT Lanes south of Seattle. And in the spring they plan to begin tolls on the WS520 floating bridge due east of Seattle. A stream of toll revenue from the existing bridge will help finance a replacement bridge that will continue to be tolled.

The 5204, a multiprotocol reader from Sirit will be installed on WA167 and the 520 bridge. In the HOT lanes 20 readers will be changed  out from TransCore to Sirit readers which can read 6B, 6C and ATA (used in the trucking weigh station bypass).

At the Tacoma Narrows bridge toll plaza the TransCore readers won't read 6C sticker tag transponders. For the time being they'll make do with license plate reads to identify 6C accounts.

WSDOT's toll consultants were IBI.

Telvent are doing front end toll systems integration for the 520 bridge and ETC is doing business back office systems for the newly enlarged Good To Go! customer service and accounts center. Three off-road walk-in centers will allow people to enroll by cash, check or credit card.

TransCore set up the cash plus open road toll system for Tacoma Narrows Bridge but their maintenance/operations contract expires next year.

WSDOT currently has about 250k Good To Go! transponders on issue attached to 150k transponder accounts. Tacoma Narrows bridge tolled one way does about 40k transponder toll transactions/day and the WA167 a bit less than that. The 520 bridge with all-electronic tolling (AET) is expected to do around 90k to 100k transactions/day ore more than the existing toll facilities combined.

WSDOT's handout on the new transponders:

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/sites/default/files/WsDOToptions.pdf

TOLLROADSnews 2010-10-20

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