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News

RFID toll equipment of Florida highway

TransCore : 16 April, 2009  (Application Story)
High occupancy toll lanes on the I-95 motorway through Florida have been equipped with RFID toll equipment for speed of passage
TransCore provides integration and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for the deployment of high occupancy tolling or HOT lanes on I-95 in Miami-Dade County, Florida's first variably priced toll facility. The project known as "95 Express" received $62.9 million in funding from the US Department of Transportation as part of the Urban Partnership Agreement to fight grid lock, which after a nationwide competition selected Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Seattle to implement variable pricing programs to reduce congestion on America's transportation network.

I-95 between Miami and Fort Lauderdale is one of the most heavily traveled highways in the nation. South of the Golden Glades Interchange, I-95 carries over 290,000 vehicles per day, with traffic volumes expected to exceed 360,000 vehicles per day by year 2030. It was cost prohibitive to widen the corridor, so congestion management strategies were explored to increase capacity on the existing infrastructure.

95 Express was designed to create "non-stop, express" toll lanes, two lanes in the north bound direction, along I-95 utilizing the existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to carry high occupancy vehicles as well as tolling single drivers. Variable pricing is used during peak travel times to manage capacity and help maintain traffic flow at speeds greater than 45 miles per hour. 95 Express includes the portion of I-95 between SR 112, also known as I-195 and the Airport Expressway, and the Golden Glades Interchange. In the first two weeks after opening, the average weekday volume in the express lanes was 21,500 vehicles with the average speed differential between the general use lanes and the express lanes 23 mph faster in the evening peak hours. Future development of HOT lanes is slated to complete and extend the express lanes from Downtown Miami north 21 miles to I-595 in Broward County by 2010.

"TransCore's particular experience with open road tolling integration throughout Florida and the versatility of their RFID technology already in use for the statewide SunPass system was a crucial component of the successful deployment," said Bill Kesselring, deputy director for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise.

John Simler, TransCore Intelligent Transportation System Group president, explained, "Deploying HOT lanes is one of the most compelling uses of existing transportation infrastructure to expand capacity, particularly in major metropolitans which have limited roadway real estate but need to relieve congestion. Transportation authorities around the country are looking to use this approach. There are already deployments under way in San Diego, Houston, Minneapolis, Seattle, as well as Miami."

Florida Department of Transportation implemented 95 Express in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade & Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Miami-Dade & Broward County Transit, Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and South Florida Commuter Services.

TransCore's scope of work included installing HOT lane readers, antennas, violation enforcement systems and violation detection systems to enable roadside identification by Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) of HOT lane violators. TransCore also installed all the necessary roadside equipment and connectivity between FDOT Districts 6 Traffic Management Center and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise back office operation in Boca Raton. This system enables the department to readily assess variable tolling as necessary and roadside equipment. TransCore also provides 24/7 maintenance and monitoring of the system to ensure accurate revenue collection. This was done in an extremely short period of time by leveraging existing fully automated electronic open road tolling (ORT) equipment similar to that already in use along SR 836 and Florida's Turnpike. Software engineers and installation professionals designed, installed, and operated this system on an accelerated schedule from concept to tolling in six months, with installation occurring over two consecutive weekends.

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