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Fare and Toll Payment Technologies: Potential Benefits for Sustainability and Society

Fare and Toll Payment Technologies


Over the past two decades, E-ZPass and Metrocard have changed the way New Yorkers travel in and through the city. Transportation agencies are now developing and piloting the next generation payment systems with cashless tolls and contact-less fare cards. This symposium Fare and Toll Payment Technologies' Potential Benefits for Sustainability and Society, held on April 26, 2011, at the New York Academy of Sciences, explored the implications of developments in how we price and pay for transportation. The potential for improved customer convenience, enhanced customer information, smarter and more responsive system operations, integration across transportation providers, and incentives for peak and off-peak travel can create opportunities for better meeting the city's travel needs and for achieving sustainability goals.

By the end of 2017, the Metrocard will join the token as a relic of New York City's transportation payment system. Amy Linden identified contactless payment technology as the future of public transport fare payment. Patrons of the subway and bus systems may have noticed or participated in the pilot program that allowed transit riders to pay by tapping their credit cards on a designated reader. Linden pointed out that the new, 'open' system would have the additional benefit of being easily adaptable and configurable as technology improves, this 'future proofing', means that the MTA will not have to purchase new systems whenever a new advancement in technology is made.

Mark Muriello from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey provided an overview of the EZ-Pass toll collection system and described its successes. Eliminating payment by cash and moving to post-paid systems enhance the current gains of electronic tolling while creating new opportunities and new challenges. For the consumer, privacy is the main concern. The proposed systems require the acquisition of user data—by, for example, associating a signal emitted by a particular vehicle with the vehicle's owner and subsequently to the owner's credit card. The service provider in turn will have to deal with the challenges that are likely to arise with enforcement and information leakage. The result of these new payment systems, according to Muriello, will likely involve the creation of new institutional linkages, business models that focus on value-addition, and the integration of paying for road-use into other related systems such as personal banking, insurance, and auto manufacturing.

Jack Opiola of D'Artagnan Consulting LLC expounded on the open system architecture that will be central to both public transportation and road-toll payment technologies in the future. Opiola explained that we are moving in the direction of a more holistic travel system that emphasizes customer choice. He argued that the open system should be mediated by a commercial entity, rather than by a government agency. The commercial entity would interface with users and the service providers—those who will provide the modes of payment. A scenario where commercial entities take the lead would require mechanisms for consumer protection such as a way of certifying service providers based on their adherence to a certain set of standards. On the other hand, such a system would allow for innovation in the marketplace. Opiola provided international, best practice case studies that demonstrated the opportunities presented by new technologies and their application.

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Bruce Schaller

New York Department of Transportation
e-mail | website


Amy Linden

New Fare Payment Systems, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Amy Linden was named MTA's Senior Director for New Fare Payment Systems in January of 2010 and is responsible for the implementation of a contactless open payment standard fare system across all of MTA's operating agencies. She's actually making a return trip to MTA, having been the director of MTA's first capital financing program in the mid-1980s where she executed over $5.5 billion in innovative financings. As the chief executive for school facilities for the New York City Board of Education, she oversaw the upkeep of 1,100 buildings and developed the school system's first five-year multi-billion dollar capital program—modeled on the MTA capital legislation and program—and was instrumental in the creation of the NYC School Construction Authority.

At Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor unit, Linden's responsibilities included strategic and capital planning; and partnerships with states, commuter rail, and freight railroads. She most recently worked at Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering consulting firm as Director of Strategic Planning just prior to her current tenure at MTA.

Mark F. Muriello

Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department, PANYNJ

Mark Muriello is the Assistant Director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Muriello is responsible for the six vehicular bridges and tunnels between New York City and New Jersey and two interstate bus terminals, which collectively serve 1.25 million customers each weekday. Muriello directs a wide range of functions including transportation planning and policy, traffic and revenue programs, business and strategic planning, and the operation and maintenance of the Port Authority's E-ZPass electronic toll collection system and the Port Authority time-of-day toll pricing program. He has twenty-eight years of experience in transportation and public finance. Muriello holds a BS in in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Columbia University and a MBA from New York University. He has served as co-chair of the Transportation Research Board's Congestion Pricing Committee since 2005, represents the Port Authority on the E-ZPass Inter-Agency Group's Policy Committee, chairs the Technical & Operations Committee for TRANSCOM, co-chairs the Policy & Strategic Planning Committee of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, and chairs the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association's Government Affairs Committee.

Jack Opiola

D'Artagnan Consulting LLC

John A.A. Opiola is the Senior Partner with D'Artagnan Consulting LLC. Opiola has been a pioneer and global thought leader for road user charging including cashless, multi-lane, free flow (MLFF) tolling, all electronic tolling (AET), Congestion Charging and Vehicle Miles Travelled Taxes to replace existing fuel excise taxes with a fair, equitable, reliable, and sustainable solution. He has designed systems and converted conventional tolling into multi-lane, free-flow tolling and advanced the technology for other road user charging and ITS applications. Since 1997, Jack has worked to integrate global Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), computerized parking control and traveller demand management with electronic road pricing/congestion charging policy working in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Europe the UK and the USA. He received his Operations Research/Systems Analysis Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and his MBA from Columbia University.