Discussion:
Massachusetts Turnpike transition to all-electronic tolls
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Garrett Wollman
2016-08-03 03:23:09 UTC
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Over this spring and summer, MassDOT has been constructing electronic
toll gantries over the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), in preparation
for switching to all-electronic tolling and demolishing the existing
toll plazas. One thing which I have not seen discussed before, but I
noted just now on the MassDOT site, is that the change eliminates some
tolls in central and western Mass. In particular, there are no toll
gantries between Westfield (MP 40.86) and Ludlow (MP 57.68), nor
between Charlton (MP 89.10) and Hopkinton (MP 104.86). This will
allow untolled travel between I-91 (exit 4) and I-291 (exit 6) in the
Springfield area, and between I-290/I-395 (exit 10) in Auburn and MA
122 (exit 11) in Millbury. It will, however, restore tolls on the
Trans-Newton Expressway (the new Newton toll gantry is between exits
15 and 16) and would preserve the ability (not used in the current
toll structure) to charge higher tolls for through traffic at "exit"
19 in Allston than for those entering or exiting there.

When the new system is implemented, they will also be switching to
revenue-neutral bidirectional tolls on the Tobin Bridge and the Boston
Harbor tunnels. The page says that all of the toll gantries have been
installed except for the one at the Sumner and Callahan Tunnels (given
the geometry that will have to be on the East Boston side near the
present toll plaza). They are currently testing the software, and if
it passes acceptance testing before September (which seems aggressive
to me) they plan to go live in October.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Garrett Wollman
2016-08-03 03:28:06 UTC
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It will, however, restore tolls on the Trans-Newton Expressway (the
new Newton toll gantry is between exits 15 and 16)
Whoops! Off-by-one error: it's between exits 16 (MA 16/Washington
St., West Newton) and 17 (Newton Corner). Thus, the new system will
be unable to distinguish between vehicles entering/exiting at exits 15
and 16. Before Bill Weld pulled an election stunt and demolished the
toll booths at exit 16, the toll there was 25 cents, half of the toll
at the exit 15 barrier -- where it is now $1.25. Expect the new
system to send significant shunpiking traffic onto parallel Washington
St. (MA 16).

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
John Levine
2016-08-03 04:28:16 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Over this spring and summer, MassDOT has been constructing electronic
toll gantries over the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), in preparation
for switching to all-electronic tolling and demolishing the existing
toll plazas. ...
I hear that if you live in Vermont, all of these open tolled roads are
free!

Vermont has no toll roads, so even though Mass (and Florida and Texas
and Ontario and other open toll states) can take a picture of your
plate, VT won't provide your info so they can't tell who to bill.
Garrett Wollman
2016-08-03 04:45:34 UTC
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Post by John Levine
I hear that if you live in Vermont, all of these open tolled roads are
free!
Vermont has no toll roads, so even though Mass (and Florida and Texas
and Ontario and other open toll states) can take a picture of your
plate, VT won't provide your info so they can't tell who to bill.
I'm willing to bet that they have other ways of getting that
information. (Automotive data brokers are a thing, after all.)
Although there would be a cost to that which might outweigh the
revenue (unless you could bill collection costs). But I also suspect
Vermont probably cares about being able to collect fines from
Massachusetts drivers and they would find the quid for that quo easily
enough.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
John Levine
2016-08-03 16:22:51 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by John Levine
I hear that if you live in Vermont, all of these open tolled roads are
free!
Vermont has no toll roads, so even though Mass (and Florida and Texas
and Ontario and other open toll states) can take a picture of your
plate, VT won't provide your info so they can't tell who to bill.
I'm willing to bet that they have other ways of getting that
information. (Automotive data brokers are a thing, after all.)
Although there would be a cost to that which might outweigh the
revenue (unless you could bill collection costs). But I also suspect
Vermont probably cares about being able to collect fines from
Massachusetts drivers and they would find the quid for that quo easily
enough.
I'll see if I can find better documentation.

Until now the closest open tolled roads are the 407 in Toronto and
some roads in Maryland, Illinois, Texas, and Florida, none of which
are likely to have a lot of Vermont traffic so it's down in the noise
along with the plates that are too dirty to read. With an open tolled
Mass Pike next door, it might be enough of an irritant to force some
negotiations.
Joe Morris
2016-08-03 18:16:35 UTC
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Post by John Levine
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by John Levine
I hear that if you live in Vermont, all of these open tolled roads are
free!
Vermont has no toll roads, so even though Mass (and Florida and Texas
and Ontario and other open toll states) can take a picture of your
plate, VT won't provide your info so they can't tell who to bill.
I'm willing to bet that they have other ways of getting that
information. (Automotive data brokers are a thing, after all.)
Although there would be a cost to that which might outweigh the
revenue (unless you could bill collection costs). But I also suspect
Vermont probably cares about being able to collect fines from
Massachusetts drivers and they would find the quid for that quo easily
enough.
I'll see if I can find better documentation.
Until now the closest open tolled roads are the 407 in Toronto and
some roads in Maryland, Illinois, Texas, and Florida, none of which
are likely to have a lot of Vermont traffic so it's down in the noise
along with the plates that are too dirty to read. With an open tolled
Mass Pike next door, it might be enough of an irritant to force some
negotiations.
Interesting that Georgia (Peach Pass), Florida (Sun Pass) and NC (Quick Pass)
are finally all working together but I have no idea how other states in the
area would feel about trading info about a particular driver.... woo

With the Mass thing, would they have to have cruisers nabbing people who
blow through the gates?
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Joe Morris
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Michael Moroney
2016-08-03 05:58:03 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Over this spring and summer, MassDOT has been constructing electronic
toll gantries over the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), in preparation
for switching to all-electronic tolling and demolishing the existing
toll plazas.
...

I was wondering what they were for. There seems to be an awful lot of
hardware on those gantries, more than just the EZPass readers and plate
cameras. I did notice that they seemed to be "live" earlier this month as
lights for the cameras flashed (not very brightly) around dusk and they
produce some interference to AM radio tuned to a weak station as you pass
under. I was almost tempted to write a paranoid "what is Big Brother up
to now?" post... :-)
Garrett Wollman
2016-08-03 15:10:59 UTC
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Post by Michael Moroney
I was wondering what they were for. There seems to be an awful lot of
hardware on those gantries, more than just the EZPass readers and plate
cameras. I did notice that they seemed to be "live" earlier this month as
lights for the cameras flashed (not very brightly) around dusk and they
produce some interference to AM radio tuned to a weak station as you pass
under. I was almost tempted to write a paranoid "what is Big Brother up
to now?" post... :-)
According to that MassDOT Web page, this is part of the software
testing. I guess what they're testing is the license-plate
recognition (whether it's accurate and works at highway speeds and
traffic volumes) since the transponder part doesn't require any new
software.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Ed-M
2016-08-03 18:49:34 UTC
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Trans-Newton Expressway!? I never heard that name for the Mass. 'Pike Boston Extension before. And I grew up in greater Boston and lived there until the end of 1999.
Garrett Wollman
2016-08-03 19:20:30 UTC
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Post by Ed-M
Trans-Newton Expressway!? I never heard that name for the Mass. 'Pike
Boston Extension before. And I grew up in greater Boston and lived there
until the end of 1999.
That's not a name for the Boston Extension, that's the name for the
specific stretch in Newton that's currently toll-free because of the
aforementioned election-eve stunt by Bill Weld.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
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