The electronic tollkeeper: States, drivers embrace electronic transponders

The electronic tollkeeper: States, drivers embrace electronic transponders

Summary: The number of cars zipping through East Coast tollbooths is ballooning, the Washington Post reports, as drivers take to the system and local governments consider building more toll roads without having to worry about traffic coming to a standstill at the tollbooth. The Post says: The effects of increased E-ZPass usage are significant.

SHARE:
0

The number of cars zipping through East Coast tollbooths is ballooning, the Washington Post reports, as drivers take to the system and local governments consider building more toll roads without having to worry about traffic coming to a standstill at the tollbooth. The Post says:

The effects of increased E-ZPass usage are significant. For drivers, whipping through tollbooths is a time- and stress-saver, especially on trips through the Northeast, where tolls are ubiquitous. More E-ZPass users also means fewer people lining up to pay tolls the old-fashioned way, lightening delays for other drivers.

For state officials, a large percentage of electronic toll payers means fewer backups to deal with and fewer harmful pollutants emitted while cars idle.

The results of increased usage are "better operations of roads, drivers are certainly not sitting in traffic as much, and they're not creating more pollution or air quality issues," said Barbara Reese, chief financial officer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Still there are privacy concerns, since the systems allow government to collect geospatial data as well as VIN numbers, license tag numbers, and the like. When the system kicked off in New Hampshire recently, to overwhelming public interest, privacy groups and state legislators raised concerns. According to the Portsmouth (NH) Herald,

 

State Rep. Neal Kurk said lawmakers ensured that E-ZPass records would be used for billing purposes only. But the Weare Republican said he is sure law enforcement and parties to lawsuits will go after the data.

"I have no doubt that the information will be subpoenaed by a variety of people in legal cases to prove that the husband was in fact out on the highway cheating on his wife, or in a murder case, which has already happened in a number of cases in the New York area, to prove that the individual and his car had passed through the ... tollbooth at a particular time when he claimed to have been at home."

Transportation Technology White Papers

Topics: Government, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

0 comments
Log in or register to start the discussion