CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Parkways Authority awarded a contract for $24.8 million to technology company TransCore for critical upgrades to the toll collection system on the West Virginia Turnpike this week.
“This is probably the single biggest project Parkways has done in 20 years,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the Parkways Authority. “The ultimate goal is to enhance the overall patron experience both on the roadside and with the customer service center on the West Virginia Turnpike.”
The contract includes installation of state-of-the-art technology to expand E-ZPass and other forms of electronic payment to potentially allow cashless toll payments at all Turnpike toll booths if the Authority decides to pursue this in the future. The project will also include upgrades to the Turnpike customer service software to make it easier and more efficient for customers to apply for an E-ZPass or transact other business with the Parkways Authority.
The contract also calls for the installation of license plate cameras in every Turnpike toll booth to bill motorists who fail to pay their tolls.
The new technology will also allow Turnpike tolls booths to accept payments from transponder systems other than E-ZPass as those systems are developed, further preparing for the future.
Full implementation of the new system is expected to take 18 months. Miller stressed that any changes to electronic toll collections will be thoroughly tested before going live.
E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection system using a vehicle-mounted transponder to allow drivers to proceed through toll booths without having to stop to pay tolls. West Virginia offers a single fee discount plan to drivers of passenger cars that allows unlimited use of the Turnpike for a year for $26.25, plus a one-time fee of $13 for a transponder.
The discount plan offers considerable savings compared with paying a toll each time a driver passes through a Turnpike toll booth. Miller said the E-ZPass can almost pay for itself with a single trip on the Turnpike.
Parkways has been working with TransCore since 1997.
“TransCore has worked in close partnership with the West Virginia Parkways Authority for decades to provide highly accurate and reliable toll system technology and services,” said TransCore President Tracy Marks. “We are honored that the Authority has again placed their trust in us to deploy the most advanced roadside and back-office toll system technology available in the industry. TransCore’s robust and scalable technology will support the Authority for many more decades as they continuously enhance the safety and efficiency of travel for their customers through the Mountain State.”