All-Electronic Tolling Frequently Asked Questions
AET allows all customers to pay without slowing down or stopping at tollbooths. Motorists will no longer pay with cash on the roadway and all tolls will be collected electronically. In addition to E-ZPass, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is studying other electronic-tolling methods, such as license plate tolling, that would entail billing the vehicle’s registered owner. Under any circumstance, E-ZPass would continue to be the most affordable way to travel our system. E-ZPass customers are currently receiving a 25 percent discount on average over cash customers. Click here for a more detailed look at how AET works at other agencies.
The PTC is committed to converting to a cashless, nonstop system by 2018 because it is in the best interest of our customers and the agency. Agencies that have converted find it safer, quicker, more convenient for customers and better for the environment. Under any AET system, customers do not idle at toll plazas or stop to pay at a tollbooth, reducing commute times and vehicle emissions. In addition, other states that have implemented cashless tolling have seen a reduction in accidents, especially at toll plazas.
A full conversion to a cashless, nonstop system would not occur until 2018 at the earliest. We understand that this will be a significant change for our current cash customers. We will continue to keep customers informed throughout this transition to ensure a smooth conversion. Independent of this initiative, the Turnpike has three interchanges on its system today, with a fourth in development, that are E-ZPass only. These interchanges have been designed to take full advantage of the savings and efficiencies that a cashless, nonstop system provides customers and agencies.
All tolls would be assessed as customers drive at highway speeds beneath overhead gantries using E-ZPass transponders or other options. A variety of payment options are being explored to allow customers without E-ZPass to either pay tolls before or after traveling based on an image taken of their license plate. Click here to learn how AET works.
Yes. Motorists will always have other options to pay tolls besides E-ZPass. The PTC continues to study the various payment options that technology allows. It is important to understand that the higher costs associated with license plate tolling options would result in higher tolls for customers who decline the more-efficient E-ZPass payment option. As a result, E-ZPass will continue to be the least expensive way to travel the Turnpike. E-ZPass is now used by 1.2 million of our customers, who enjoy the savings and reduced travel time they realize as a result of enrolling. E-ZPass customers are already receiving a 25 percent discount on average over cash customers.
We understand going cashless will have a tremendous impact on our workforce, and we’re developing plans to assist employees. An Employee Communications Team will be developed to work with the AET Implementation Team by providing valuable insight as the plan is developed.
Yes. The safety of our customers and our employees will always remain our top priority. The Pennsylvania State Police and the State Farm Safety Patrol will continue to patrol our system and provide service to those in need. In addition, our maintenance crews will continue to ensure safe travel. The experience in other states has been that cashless tolling improves safety because there are fewer accidents at toll plazas.
No. By state law, toll-collection systems cannot be used for speeding citations. Speed limits on the Turnpike would continue to be enforced solely by the Pennsylvania State Police. Motorists who opt to use any new license plate tolling options would have the same privacy protections currently enjoyed by our existing E-ZPass customers.
AET will reduce travel time because customers will no longer stop at toll plazas and wait to pay. AET will also make our system safer by reducing the number of accidents that occur today as motorists shift lanes at toll plazas. Each interchange will be studied in detail to determine if modifications are required. AET would not require the closure of any interchanges and in fact would enhance traffic flow to and from the Turnpike.
A full conversion is a five-year process that will not be completed before 2018. Click here to review our Project Timeline. At each major benchmark, the Turnpike will provide updates on this web site so that our customers, employees and all stakeholders are apprised of progress.
The PTC has mounted an outreach campaign to ensure that the public — especially cash customers, public officials and stakeholders — has a chance to provide feedback and insights on the potential conversion to AET. To date this outreach included coverage by local print and electronic media, a website (www.paturnpike.com/aet), eight focus-group meetings, a survey of 10,000 cash-paying customers, an employee survey and multiple special interest meetings. The PTC will continue the public outreach effort through AET Implementation. If you would like a speaker to provide an overview of the project at your civic or group meeting please click here to request a presentation.
Toll rate information is currently available on the PTC website to allow travelers to plan their trip in advance. Under a cashless system without toll tickets the PTC is considering options such as printed fare schedules at service plazas, improved roadside signing and smartphone technology. When the studies are complete and the range of options is settled more details will be provided.
The current method of public notification begins six months in advance of any toll increase to allow our customers ample time to prepare for such a change. A press release is distributed six months before the change goes into effect and then again two weeks prior. The announcements are also conveyed on the PTC website. This process will be reviewed and expanded as needed to ensure our customers are informed and prepared.