E-ZPass and the Ohio Turnpike: Adoption and Integration of Electronic Toll Collection

E-ZPass and the Ohio Turnpike: Adoption and Integration of Electronic Toll Collection

Eliot Rich (University of Albany, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0981-5.ch014
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“Stop Stopping, Get Going.” The commonwealth of Virginia’s Web site slogan (2005) tells much of the E-ZPass story.1 E-ZPass uses computer technology to automate vehicle toll collection and payments across most of the northeastern and eastern sections of the United States. E-ZPass participants have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags installed in their cars to signal their trip through a tollbooth. Each entry and exit is recorded in a database and charged against an account on file. Bills for tolls may be paid automatically through a credit card charge or from deposits in a cash account. Electronic toll collection reduces delays at tolls, eliminates fumbling for change, trims air pollution from idling vehicles, and accelerates travel. By most accounts, E-ZPass has been a resounding success. Within the northeastern and midwestern United States, over 9 million account holders subscribe to the program, recording over 2 billion transactions each year for road, bridge, and tunnel use in 2006. Customer satisfaction is high, and program enrollments continue to grow. E-ZPass represents a state-of-the-art practice in electronic toll collection as well as a significant success in the use of RFID technology for consumers (U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 2005).
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Setting The Stage

The use of innovative technology has long been seen as a critical enabler to competitiveness (Hammer & Champy, 1993), though the discussion of its ability to sustain leadership has been disputed (Carr, 2003). In the public sector, however, competitive pressures are less important than the provision of services to the public in a useful and cost-effective manner. The absence of a financial “bottom line” makes the analysis of the value of a public sector IT investment more challenging and subject to multiple and subjective interpretations. In addition, limited budgets and technical resources can constrain the range of options available to a public agency (Dawes et al., 2004). There are also concerns about privacy of personal information (Hinnant & O'Looney, 2003), particularly when it can be combined with legal or financial records. These factors all contribute to the challenges faced when governments decide when and how to adopt technology.

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