Anyone involved in toll operations understands the importance of enforcement to a successful toll operation. Given the growing prevalence of ORT and ETC, the challenge is becoming even more acute. Yet many tolling organizations are limited in their ability to identify (let alone collect from) foreign or out-of-state vehicles and most require police support to stop violators. Clearly, there is still much room for improvement.
While controlling and reducing revenue leakage is a key concern for toll operators, our survey suggests that many still struggle to optimize their enforcement and collections. In particular, the management of foreign (or out-of-state) and rental cars creates significant concerns and demonstrates that there is no consistent approach to solving these issues.
Those ‘out-of-jurisdiction’ vehicles (often foreign or out-of-state) create a particular challenge for toll operators; only 15 percent said they are effective at identifying the owners of out-of-jurisdiction cars in case of violation. More than two-thirds said they had no specific provisions for collecting from out-of-jurisdiction vehicles at all. Not surprisingly, therefore, the vast majority (85 percent) admitted that they do not prosecute violators in their home jurisdiction.
Those that do collect tolls from foreign vehicles tend to use multiple approaches. Nearly one third (30 percent) said they use video cameras to identify foreign users. Less than a sixth (15 percent) of respondents said they outsource the process to an external service provider, such as Euro Parking Collection plc (which has been authorized by various toll agencies across Europe to act on their behalf in issuing toll violation notices) or collection agencies.
Another key area of concern for enforcement is the treatment of rental cars. Our respondents seem equally split on who should bear responsibility for rental car charges with 52 percent saying it is the responsibility of the rental car driver and the rest placing the burden on the company.
Our survey suggests that toll operators are rapidly adopting new technologies to help improve their Violation Enforcement System. As noted earlier, 59 percent say they already use technologies such as CCTV and automatic plate recognition solutions to identify violators.
However, when it comes to enforcement, our survey suggests that most toll operators are highly reliant on external agencies and providers. Almost half of respondents say they rely on public enforcement agencies and a further 12 percent say that both private and public authorities are part of their enforcement mix.
Just over a third (37 percent) of all respondents say their enforcement team is empowered to act autonomously while the remainder either rely upon or coordinate with police agencies to conduct enforcement measures. Most respondents (81 percent) said they require police assistance to stop drivers onthe road in the case of a violation.
While privacy concerns are often raised by users (and tolling opposition groups) and may influence the type of enforcement technology used by toll agencies, two-thirds (66 percent) said they had no special data privacy or personal data laws that impacted their enforcement activity.
Those that do face specific privacy laws report a wide range of challenges. In parts of the US, for example, video can only be used to capture license plates (not driver’s faces) meaning that operators need to select and implement their enforcement technology carefully. In some jurisdictions tolling organizations are often not permitted to share data on violators by statute.
Once in court, our survey suggests that there are a range of evidence that could be considered ‘eligible’ for use in prosecution. By far the most acceptable evidence seems to be photographs of license plates (cited by over two thirds of respondents) followed by photos of the vehicle (cited by 57 percent of respondents) and owner/driver or OBU identification (14 percent).