- Transportation officials in the San Francisco Bay Area are considering a fully electronic, open road tolling system on the region's bridges, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The plan likely would involve removing existing toll booths.
- Motorists would pay tolls through a fast pass system, invoice or a license plate account. These payment options already are in place on the Golden Gate Bridge.
- The concept would save drivers an estimated five minutes in addition to reducing fuel use and emissions from idling vehicles and preventing accidents from vehicles merging at toll booths.
Estimates indicate that about one-fifth of America's all-electronic bridges and tunnels use a completely electronic system, including in the Chicago area and portions of South Florida. Open-road tolling systems more easily allow transportation officials to add another feature that is currently employed in parts of Miami: congestion pricing.
Open-road tolling reduces a lot of costs for transportation agencies including labor and toll booth upkeep. It improves safety not just through accident reduction, but also by eliminating the potential for toll booth worker robberies.
As society increasingly turns toward cashless payment options, open-road tolling presents opportunities to increase efficiencies both for transportation agencies and for drivers. Unlike some other payment systems that convert to cashless, open-road tolling retains elements of equity. Most, if not all, of the systems have multiple ways for people to pay without being forced to use a credit card, which is a barrier for some low-income citizens.