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MassDOT to convert to AET by 2016

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is intending to convert the state’s toll road network to all-electronic collection (AET) by the middle of 2016. The state’s highway administrator, Frank DePaola, has said that the agency will make the Tobin Bridge a cashless AET system first, as a demonstration project to familiarize the public with the E-ZPass-based methodology. The Tobin Bridge has been selected as it already has high E-ZPass usage of between 70-80%. MassDOT will be pushing to increase E-ZPass transponder usage between now and the conversion date, in order to minimize the reliance on ANPR camera-based tolling systems. The agency is converting to AET because: it is the most cost-effective way to collect tolls; it reduces delays to motorists; and improves air quality and safety at toll points. MassDOT has estimated it will save US$45 million a year in operating expenses by adopting an AET system.

TransCore, which has a maintenance and operations contract with MassDOT, will deploy the AET system at the Tobin Bridge as an extension of their contracted work. However, the state’s full conversion to an AET system will go to a competitive procurement and MassDOT hopes to have a system integrator and civil works contracted by spring 2014. AECOM is the agency’s major consultant for the system conversion, with Traffic Technologies Inc (TTI) acting as an independent consultant. MassDOT estimates the total cost of the AET conversion at US$118 million, which includes US$44 million anticipated for the toll system and equipment. The majority of the remainder will be for civil engineering and infrastructure, including a refurbishment of ageing toll plazas. The Tobin Bridge currently deals with 32,000 toll transactions per day, with a total of US$33 million in revenue collected in FY2012.

March 14, 2013

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