New Pa. Turnpike Online Survey Seeks Input from Cash-Paying Customers

August 5, 2011

Contact: Carl DeFebo
Public and Media Relations Manager

717-920-7176
New Pa. Turnpike Online Survey Seeks Input from Cash-Paying Customers
Questionnaire is part of yearlong study on feasibility of All-Electronic Tolling.
HARRISBURG, PA (08/04/2011) -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission launched an online survey earlier this week for its cash-paying customers as part of a yearlong feasibility study to determine what impact a potential conversion to a cashless All Electronic Tolling (AET) system would have on motorists and turnpike operations. 
AET would allow all Pennsylvania Turnpike customers to pay without slowing down or stopping. With AET, traditional tollbooths would be removed and everyone would pay electronically with E-ZPass or new payment options that would be developed for non-E-ZPass customers. These new options would involve capturing an image of a license plate and billing the registered owner of the vehicle for the tolls.
The survey, which takes only about eight minutes to complete online, can be accessed at www.paturnpike.com./aet. It includes questions on subjects such as turnpike travel habits, payment-method preferences and perceptions, possible toll-rate structures and other cashless-tolling queries. Those who complete the survey can choose to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Sunoco gas card. The survey ends Aug. 22.
"We want to engage as many cash-paying customers as possible so that we can design a system that works for all turnpike users, including passenger and commercial motorists," said Timothy M. Scanlon, P.E., the turnpike's traffic engineer manager who is overseeing the feasibility study. "Clearly, any possible future conversion to an AET system would impact cash-paying customers the most, because E-ZPass operations would remain essentially unchanged under such a conversion."
Scanlon pointed out that E-ZPass is by far the preferred Pennsylvania Turnpike payment method today, with cash-paying customers making up about a third of all toll revenue. 
The online survey is just one way the commission's study team is reaching out to customers and other stakeholders. In February and March, the team hosted eight focus-group sessions in four cities across the state to get input from Pennsylvania Turnpike users.
The study team has surveyed other states currently operating AET systems and has completed a preliminary analysis of the impact a conversion could have on operations and revenue. A number of toll agencies across the nation have already or are implementing All-Electronic Tolling, including California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and others.
AET is largely seen in the industry as the future of toll collection because it's safer and faster for customers and more efficient and cost effective for toll-road operators. In addition, AET eradicates tollbooth cues and idling vehicles - which brings the environmental advantages of lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
The commission's yearlong feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year, with a full report to follow sometime during the upcoming winter. For more information on the AET study, please visit www.paturnpike.com/aet.

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