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TIN news: In advance of what turned out to be blizzard conditions along the US East Coast over the weekend, tolling authorities throughout the region shifted into high gear to prepare for the extreme, winter weather developments. 

“Toll facility operations sweat the details, plan well ahead, have the necessary tools and equipment needed for severe weather events and know how to use them,” said Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA).  “Our tolling authority members throughout the country, particularly this weekend along the East Coast corridor, are taking this winter weather advisory very seriously. Tolling authorities take a consistent, serious and professional approach to emergency preparedness and response. Roadway and maintenance crews have been training and preparing for this type of situation for years. Toll road customers can expect a strong emphasis on traffic safety and road clearance. Please pay attention to any roadway advisories and guidance.”

According to IBTTA’s 2015 Report on Tolling in the United States, the fatality rate on toll roads throughout the country is about one-third (0.50) the rate of all US roads (1.47 per 100 million vehicle miles travelled.)  One major reason for the improved safety on toll roads is because they are typically operated centrally on a 24-hour basis from modern operations centres linked to dedicated maintenance, emergency response and police personnel. In fact, more than US$14 billion in capital investment was made over three years by the top 40 US toll facilities.

In May 2015, IBTTA brought together experts for a panel discussion and presentation on the “Interagency Emergency Operation Support” for roadway operations, maintenance, and manager personnel interested in collaboration amongst agencies, dealing with emergencies, and learning lessons from industry experience. 

The webinar and presentation focused on lessons learned during a major snow emergency in November 2014 in Buffalo, New York and how collaboration between tolling authorities on snow removal assisted in helping drivers stay safe and roadways remain clear.

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