Posted November 16, 2012

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE ALL ELECTRONIC TOLLING PROJECT
SCHEDULE UPDATE ANNOUNCED and
PUBLIC OUTREACH PLAN BUDGET APPROVED

Finance Committee Staff Report  |  PowerPoint Presentation to Board

ALL ELECTRONINC TOLLING CONVERSION SCHEDULE UPDATE

The conversion to all electronic tolling was approved by the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) in January 2011. The conversion was approved for several key reasons: It is a proven technology and its use is expanding around the world, it provides increased customer toll payment choices and will improve evening and weekend traffic flow. The conversion also brings the District significant cost savings totaling approximately $19 million over an eight year period following implementation.

The original project schedule was established as follows:

Functionality Testing = December 2012 start
Full Conversion = February 2013

As of November 16, 2012, the schedule is being modified modestly as follows:

Functionality Testing = moves to January 2013 start
Full Conversion = shifts to March 2013

The schedule change is needed to have the necessary time to verify functionality recently added to the project.

PUBLIC OUTREACH BUDGET APPROVED

On November 16, 2012, the Finance-Auditing Committee and full Board of Directors approved a budget increase in the amount of $296,000 for implementation of the Public Outreach Plan to support the public’s understanding and acceptance of the toll payment options available with the conversion to all electronic tolling at the Golden Gate Bridge.

While the technical developments for all electronic tolling enter their final stages, the project’s attention is shifting to the implementation of the Public Outreach Plan whose primary purpose is to inform key Golden Gate Bridge audiences about the all electronic tolling conversion, its timing, and the new toll payment options available.

The total cost of the Public Outreach Plan is $519,280. There are sufficient funds previously budgeted that will absorb $223,000 of the total cost through a combination of the current fiscal year All Electronic Tolling Capital Project, the current fiscal year FasTrak operating budget, and current fiscal year Marketing and Communications operating budget.

The remaining $296,000 will come from toll reserves and will be a budget increase to the All Electronic Toll Conversion Capital Project which is included in the Bridge Capital Budget for a total of $3,237,000. This additional funding would result in a new total budget of $3,533,000 that is 100% District funded.

Key Public Outreach Audiences Identified and Include:

  1. Cash Paying Golden Gate Bridge Customers (about 30% of all traffic)
  2. Tourists and Visitors to San Francisco, Wine Country, and beyond
  3. Travel Market including rental car companies, tour & charter buses, taxis, airport services, etc.
  4. News Media including local, regional, national, and international
  5. Partner Agencies & Community Organizations including Bay Area Toll Authority, San Francisco Travel, San Francisco Airport, Visit California, etc.

Tools for Communicating with these Key Audiences

  1. Customer signage
  2. Printed materials including informational brochure, take-one, frequently asked questions, short project overview, and point of sale posters.
  3. Web content including a short video animation that concisely explains the new toll payment options, and new web content on the District’s website as well as on the Bay Area FasTrak website. Additionally, resizable digital banners have been created for placement as website banner ads on partner websites such as 511, Spare the Air, San Francisco Travel, and other travel-related sites. They can also be repurposed for use in digital advertising.
  4. Technology will be used such as ** push to text function that allows customers to obtain toll information via cell phone. Also included is a monitoring tool for tracking and responding to traditional and social media.
  5. Traditional media buy for radio spots and print advertising. A one-time buy occurring at system launch to ensure the local public knows of the conversion.
  6. Email and social media postings with be a primary, cost-effective communication tactic. Comprehensive lists are under development now that include a wide range of stakeholders from taxi companies, to charter buses, hotel concierges, rental car agencies, as well as civic and community groups.
  7. On-going news media briefings will take place; plus outreach to news media contacts made with various global outlets through 75th anniversary.
  8. Direct outreach to partner agencies and organizations including San Francisco Travel, Visit California, AAA, and other community groups.