Traffic Solutions: Tolling and dynamic pricing

The ICC’s beneficial technologies
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 6:54 PM

The politicians on hand for the ribbon-cutting to open Maryland’s new Intercounty Connector [Metro, Feb. 22] took great pains to pay homage to the people who made this new roadway possible.

I wish that they had also paid homage to two of the most important and innovative features of this new road.

First, it is an all-electronic toll road. This means motorists will not need to slow down or stop to pay their tolls. Motorists will pay tolls electronically as they pass beneath overhead gantries that read E-ZPass tags mounted on their windshields (with video tolling for some motorists). It also means that the ICC will have a continuing revenue stream to support operations, maintenance and future improvements.

Second, the toll road is dynamically priced. This means the level of tolls can be increased based on the time of day (and, ultimately, based on the amount of traffic) to ensure free-flow conditions at all times.

Tolling and dynamic pricing address two of the biggest transportation challenges we face in this country: a chronic lack of funding and increasing congestion. We should praise the courage and foresight of those who insisted on including these two critical features in the ICC.

Patrick D. Jones, Washington

The writer is executive director and chief executive of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

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