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based payment systems. For proper operation, antennas must be mounted above the center-line of the lane, as opposed to some side-fire systems that are installed on the side of the lane. This requires appropriate overhead struc- tures on which to mount the antennas (a cost that can be mitigated if an over- head structure, appropriate for antenna mounting, already exists). Several inno- vative techniques have been developed to mount the equipment in a very cost- effective manner. Also, from a start-up cost perspective, the system as a form of payment is similar to many other rev- enue control systems that offer credit cards as a method of payment. Operating costs – Transaction fees


with this system are similar to many credit card agreements. Just as a park- ing operator is willing to accept per- transaction fees on credit cards, they have to be prepared to accept similar fees for these systems. Of course, the main question is –


with installation and transaction costs, why bother? The answers are varied: Speed – Depending on the deploy-


ment, these transactions can often be faster than a pre-paid ticket transac- tion. Customers can bypass pay-on- foot machines and go straight to their cars. Upon exiting the lot, the transponder is validated using a local “whitelist,” which allows the valida- tion to take place in less than 1/10th of a second. Cost savings – In comparison


with pay-on-foot machines, there is no cash to handle, no kiosk machines to maintain, no jamming, and virtually no paper (depending on installation). Savings over attendant/staffed lanes, especially during off-peak hours when there is little-to-no exit activity, may be substantial. Convenience – Toll customers


experience the ultimate in convenience when paying tolls. No stopping to pay a toll, no fumbling for cash, online access to view and maintain accounts, and a consolidated statement of all their toll activity. Non-toll customers enjoy most of the same benefits. They don’t have to worry about having cash on hand, and all their parking activity is reflected on their statement. Customer service – The system


enjoys extremely high customer satis- faction. A 2010 study by MTA Bridges and Tunnels in the Tri-State Area found that 94% of customers are satisfied or very satisfied. Adding this feature to a parking facility provides customers


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another option for making payments. The combination toll/commercial


parking system is a viable adjunct to any existing parking revenue control system. Deploying it at your parking facility can facilitate throughput, increase revenue control and improve the overall customer experience. To ensure a successful deployment,


make sure your vendors and consultants are experienced not only with transpon- der-based fee payments, but also with these commercial systems themselves.


Armed with this knowledge and


experience, they can help you navigate the world and the various toll agencies that manage it.


Michael Kolb, a Principal at Traffic Technologies Inc. (TTI), can be reached at michael.kolb@t-t-i.com. His company supports some of the largest tolling agencies in the U.S., and has been involved in every E-ZPass Plus installation to date. For more information, go to www.t-t-i.com.


PT


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