Posted April 6, 2010

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APRIL 9, 2010, DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIC PLAN FOR ALL ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION ON GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE APPROVED

On Friday, April 9, 2010, the Board of Directors approved actions relative to a Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion on the Golden Gate Bridge including the following:

  1. Execute a $292,500 agreement with Traffic Technologies, Inc., for a Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Tolling Collection Conversion on the Golden Gate Bridge;
  2. Add $39,000 (not to exceed) to the existing contract with Traffic Technologies, Inc. for Technical Support, FasTrak® System Enhancement and Special Analyses for an operational support person for the existing toll collection system during the six months that the Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Tolling Collection Conversion on the Golden Gate Bridge is developed.
  3. Establish a Capital Project for the Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion, in an amount not to exceed $337,000. This project will be 100% District funded.

The GGBHTD’s Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability (Plan) includes 33 initiatives for consideration to balance the current projected $132 million five-year deficit. Initiative #4 is listed as “All Electronic Tolling Conversion.” All Electronic Tolling (AET) involves the use of FasTrak transponders to collect tolls for pre-paid customers and the use of license plate images to facilitate payment for vehicles that do not use FasTrak transponders.

Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion will serve as the road map for such a conversion on the Golden Gate Bridge, establishing a solid foundation for realizing the operational changes that will be required. The process will begin in April 2010 and is anticipated to take approximately six months.

Planning for and operating in an all-electronic environment is becoming standard practice in the toll collection industry. North American toll facilities currently operating with AET include E-470 outside of Denver, facilities operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and the 407 Express Toll Road near Toronto. Other facilities such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are planning ahead to give themselves the option of converting their bridges and tunnels to AET.

In addition to improved operational efficiency, the additional benefits that may be realized through AET collection conversion include the following:

  • Safety – reduction or elimination in abrupt vehicle speed and lane changes;
  • Environment – emissions reductions through the elimination of unnecessary vehicle decelerations and accelerations at the toll plaza;
  • Travel Time – customers can proceed to their destination with fewer obstacles;
  • Service – non-FasTrak customers are not required to have cash on hand; and,
  • Efficiency – operation of a single toll collection system – different from the current system that is manual and electronic

Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion

Realizing the potential benefits of AET while transitioning the means of toll collection for the 34% of Golden Gate Bridge customers that pay their toll in cash will be a significant challenge. To investigate the potential ramifications, best meet the demands presented by AET, and to serve as the roadmap for implementation of AET on the GGB, a Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion is required. The Plan will include:

  1. projected cost
  2. conversion schedule
  3. toll collection hardware changes
  4. signage improvements, enhancements, changes
  5. back office processing upgrades
  6. proposed toll policy changes
  7. costs and benefits analysis of AET
  8. identify cash payment alternatives for those that cannot use FasTrak
  9. identify the constraints and, where appropriate, the pros and cons of the proposed approach.

The Strategic Development Plan for All Electronic Toll Collection Conversion will involve three phases:

  1. Appraisal of Existing Conditions - The first phase will be comprised of two primary tasks: a comprehensive internal assessment of the environment, objectives and constraints in which AET will operate at the District and an external review of existing AET facilities and the state of the industry. The external review will focus in particular on the transition period for AET conversion as we will look to learn from the experiences of other AET facilities. This will take place in the first two to three months.
  2. Alternatives Analysis - As the first phase nears completion, the consultant will begin the third and fourth tasks, assembling AET options and assessing their viability for the Golden Gate Bridge. This will involve the creation of implementation scenarios for various AET alternatives and an evaluation of the corresponding strengths and weaknesses. The anticipated impact on public adoption, cost and benefits, schedule, revenue generation and the regulatory environment are several of the factors that will be considered. This is the longest phase in the project; work will begin in the second month and will be completed in the fifth month.
  3. The Strategic Development Plan - The final phase of the project will build on the assessment of the first phase and the alternative analysis and review in the second phase to create a recommended Strategic Development Plan for AET. The Plan will be based on the ongoing interaction with District stakeholders at all steps of the process and it will reviewed by all levels of District staff prior to completion.

Since 1997, TTI has provided oversight of the design, development, testing, and installation of the District’s toll revenue systems. Through its work with the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), TTI also has a detailed understanding of the FasTrak Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC) system and its interface with the District’s toll collection system. While other firms exist that may have expertise in all electronic tolling, none possess both the breadth of TTI’s knowledge, and the depth specifically of the District’s system. Any other firm would need to spend unnecessary time and expense learning about the District’s tolling systems, as well as its operating methodologies. TTI has always provided the District with excellent services, and charged very competitive rates. TTI has submitted a proposal for its services in developing the Strategic Development Plan. Staff finds that its proposed rates are fair and reasonable--they are both consistent with what it has always charged the District, and less than the District could expect to receive through a competitive process.