Illinois Tollway creating Tri-State site to test new technologies

SHARE Illinois Tollway creating Tri-State site to test new technologies

(PARK RIDGE) The Illinois Tollway will build a $2.7 million site on the Tri-State Tollway near northwest suburban Park Ridge to test new tolling technologies on live traffic conditions.

The site will consist of two overhead structures near the Touhy Avenue Toll Plaza, and will allow the agency observe how new technologies respond to a typical mix of cars, large trucks and other vehicles, the tollway said in a statement.

“This project will help us fine tune current technologies to improve their performance and control our costs,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Ladler said in the statement. “The test site also will keep the tollway a leader in the development and implementation of exciting new tolling technologies that will make traveling on our system easier for our customers.”

The structures are expected to be completed by 2015, the agency said. The “living laboratory” could help the tollway analyze how universal I-PASS transponders react to different tolling systems in other states, and experiment with improved camera technology.

Other technologies that might be tested at the location include smartphone applications that could allow customers to pay their tolls while driving, according to the statement.

The agency’s current 2014 budget will cover the $2.7 million project. Officials hope the test site could also generate new revenues, by allowing the tollway to charge other agencies or private manufacturers to test new equipment there, the statement said.

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