BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors today was provided an update regarding the successful transition to All Electronic Tolling following the ending of manual toll collections approximately one-year ago.
Crews have reached the “Full Beneficial Use” milestone at the majority of the former toll plaza locations on I-90 that began toll demolition and roadway reconstruction activities on the evening of October 28, 2016. Since that time, the AET system has processed approximately half a billion tolling transactions, with approximately 86% of trips occurring with customers using an E-ZPassMA transponder and receiving a toll discount in doing so.
“We set ambitious goals for All Electronic Tolling and have realized many important accomplishments,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “In one year’s time, we have transitioned from manual to electronic toll collections, taking down toll plazas at 23 locations, rebuilding roadways where toll plazas once stood, realizing travel time savings for drivers during a period when traffic volume in some areas has been slightly higher than a year ago, and meeting financial targets, including, making sure tolls were ‘revenue neutral’ and making sure that that the total number of delinquent payments would not be higher. We have met these goals and have also started to realize the long-term benefits of All Electronic Tolling such as reduced congestion, fewer harmful environmental emissions, and increased safety.”
Notable information conveyed to the Board of Directors today included:
• Drivers are already seeing time savings on I-90, as for example, drivers traveling on I-90 east from I-95 into Boston during the morning rush hour had an approximately 10 minute faster commute in September compared to the same route in September 2016.
• Tolling revenue is tracking as projected indicating a functioning All Electronic Tolling system. Revenue has also remained steady month to month meaning customers are paying charges and invoices.
• The use of E-ZPass has increased; 79.7% of tolling trips were made through E-ZPass prior to October, 2016, and that figure is now 86%. This has surpassed MassDOT’s original goal of having 85% of trips be through E-ZPass.
• Approximately 601,000 transponders and 276,000 E-ZPass accounts have been issued since October, 2016. There are now over 3.4 million transponders and 2 million accounts in existence.
• E-ZPass Customer Service Center wait times have greatly decreased despite steady walk-in volumes. The average wait time was approximately 2 minutes in October, 2017 despite having nearly 30,000 walk-ins during this month.
• Despite high call volumes from customers seeking to open accounts or perform over the phone transactions, call wait times have remained low – approximately 45 seconds on average – over the past 8 weeks.
• The majority of the former toll plaza locations that started construction work on October 28, 2016 have reached the “Full Beneficial Use” milestone meaning the public can now enjoy the full benefits of the roadway at this location.
• At the request of key stakeholders and the local community, MassDOT updated its original design for the former Sumner Tunnel toll plaza and separated it from the larger AET project by beginning construction operations in the spring of 2017. All reconstruction work is expected to be completed by summer 2018.