Daily News Briefs, July 16, 2019

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Waze Introduces Highly-Requested Toll Price Display Feature

CNET’s Roadshow reports that Google’s traffic monitoring app, Waze, “will now offer to estimate route costs including toll pricing to help drivers plan their travels in advance — the app won’t just offer toll alerts en route. The new feature roll[ed] out across iOS and Android apps in the US and Canada starting [yesterday]. “According to CNET, Waze said, “The feature required creating a new database into which Waze editors ‘input a large amount of data, from the pricing for different types of toll road passes to the entrance and exit points for toll roads.’” (Links inserted.)

Business Insider notes, the new feature will display the cost of taking a fast route that requires payment of a toll and compare that route to non-tolled alternatives.

The Verge notes that Waze “isn’t tracking the [toll] costs itself; users have to report the prices within the app.”

Mobile Navigation and Traffic Monitoring Apps Waze


PA Lawmakers Propose State Tax Credit for Toll Payers

Pennsylvania Business Report looks at a proposal by two Pennsylvania lawmakers to provide a tax credit “to cover 50 percent of a taxpayer’s toll-related expenses for the taxable year up to $500.” The article quotes State Senator Steven Santarsiero (D-Bucks County) as saying, “Commuters, families, and businesses across southeastern Pennsylvania, who regularly pay tolls to maintain our roads and bridges, deserve the tax relief outlined in SB 451. With this tax credit, local commerce can thrive and expand.” The bill would provide a credit for tolls paid on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and toll bridges operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and the Delaware River Port Authority. (Link inserted.)

Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Pittsburgh-Based IRISE Focuses on Practical Highway Infrastructure Research

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at a consortium set up by the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering to undertake academic research projects that are particularly relevant and beneficial to builders of highways and bridges. The organization — Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering, or IRISE — supports government, industry and academic collaboration on research, and it has a five-year funding commitment underwritten by the Pennsylvania Turnpike, PennDOT and Michael Baker International, among others.

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Transportation and Infrastructure Research & Development


New Toll Tunnels, First Segment of Sydney's WestConnex, Open to Traffic

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “After more than three years of construction and decades of debate, Sydney’s M4 East tunnels opened to motorists in the early hours of Saturday.” The tolled tunnels are the “early section of the WestConnex motorway, which in time will extend for 33 kilometres [20.5 miles]. . . .” Transurban leads a consortium that acquired a majority stake in WestConnex last year. (Links inserted.)

The newspaper also reports that New South Wales transportation officials are warning motorists who fail to heed signs about approaching tolls against stopping in traffic, crossing barriers or backing up to avoid driving through the tunnels. The article mentions that several hazardous situations involving cars and trucks have occurred since the Saturday opening.

The Guardian notes, although most major traffic apps are displaying the new motorway, Google Maps is playing catch-up. A Google spokesperson reportedly stated that the company is “working to resolve the issue.”

Australia Mobile Navigation and Traffic Monitoring Apps New South Wales Transurban WestConnex Project (New South Wales)