Ez-Pass Case Study

E‑ZPass is an electronic toll collection system used on most tolled roads, bridges, and tunnels in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, as far south as North Carolina and as far west as Illinois. The E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG) consists of 38 member agencies in operation within 16 states, which use the same technology and allow travelers to use the same transponder on toll roads throughout the network. Since its creation in 1987, various independent systems that use the same technology have been folded into the E-ZPass system, including the I-Pass in Illinois and the NC Quick Pass in North Carolina. Negotiations are ongoing for nation-wide interoperatibility in the United States (see List of electronic toll collection systems § United States).

Functionality[edit]

Technology[edit]

E‑ZPass tags are active[1]RFID transponders, made exclusively by Kapsch TrafficCom (formerly Mark IV Industries Corp—IVHS Division). They communicate with reader equipment built into lane-based or open-road toll collection lanes by transmitting a unique radio signature. The most common type of tag is an internal tag that can be mounted on the inside of the vehicle's windshield in proximity to the rear-view mirror. Though toll agencies advice adherence to the windshield with mounting strips (usually 3M's Scotch brand "Dual Lock" fasteners), third-party options using trays with suction cups to adhere a pass to a windshield temporarily if used in multiple vehicles are available. Some vehicles have windshields that block RF signals; for those vehicles, historical vehicles, and customers who have aesthetic concerns, an external tag is offered, typically designed to attach to the vehicle's front license plate mounting points.[2]

Although a tag can be used with a motorcycle, there are usually no official instructions given for mounting due to the numerous variations between bike designs and the small area of a motorcycle windshield which could prove a hindrance if the transponder is attached following automobile instructions. Transponders may be put in a shirt or jacket pocket, if necessary.[3]

Most E‑ZPass lanes are converted manual toll lanes and must have fairly low speed limits for safety reasons (between 5 and 15 miles per hour (8 and 24 km/h) is typical), so that E‑ZPass vehicles can merge safely with vehicles that stopped to pay a cash toll and, in some cases, to allow toll workers to safely cross the E‑ZPass lanes to reach booths accepting cash payments. In some areas, however (typically recently built or retrofitted facilities), there is no need to slow down, because E‑ZPass users can utilize dedicated traffic lanes ("Express E‑ZPass") that are physically separate from the toll-booth lanes. Examples include:

  • Delaware Route 1,
  • Hampton toll plaza on I‑95 in New Hampshire
  • Hooksett toll plaza on I‑93 in New Hampshire
  • Interstate 78 Toll Bridge,
  • Newark Toll Plaza on the Delaware Turnpike,[4]
  • Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia
  • Express lanes of the Atlantic City Expressway,
  • Three locations on the New Jersey Turnpike (near the Delaware Memorial Bridge (Exit 1), near Exit 18W, and the Pennsylvania Extension, which connects to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Exit 6)),
  • Garden State Parkway,
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike's Gateway, Warrendale, Neshaminy Falls and Mid-County (I‑476) toll plazas,
  • New sections of the Mon–Fayette Expressway,
  • New York State Thruway at the Woodbury toll barrier

In October 2006, Illinois completed open road tolling for I‑Pass and E‑ZPass users; it was the first U.S. state to have done so.[5]

Each E-ZPass tag is specifically programmed for a particular class of vehicle; while any valid working tag will be read and accepted in any E‑ZPass toll lane, the wrong toll amount will be charged if the tag's programmed vehicle class does not match the vehicle. This will result in a violation and possible large fine assessed to the tag holder, especially if a lower-class (e.g., passenger car) tag is being used in a higher-class vehicle such as a bus or truck. In an attempt to avoid this, E‑ZPass tags for commercial vehicles are blue in color, contrasting with the white tags assigned to standard passenger vehicles. The blue E‑ZPass is also used in government employee vehicles. In New York, an orange E‑ZPass tag is issued to emergency vehicles as well as to employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and New York State Thruway Authority.

For purposes of interoperability, all agencies are connected to each other by a secure network (the "reciprocity network"). This network provides the means to exchange tag data and process toll transactions across the various agencies. Tag data is exchanged among the agencies on a nightly basis. This data can take up to 24 hours on the primary network the unit is issued by (e.g., i‑Zoom, i‑Pass, E‑ZPass), but may be delayed by as much as 72 hours on other networks.[6][7]

Technology details[edit]

The E‑ZPass transponder works by listening for a signal broadcast by the reader stationed at the toll booth. This 915 MHz signal is sent at 500 kbit/s using the TDM (formerly IAG) protocol in 256‑bit packets. Transponders use active Type II read/write technology. In April 2013, Kapsch (purchasers of Mark IV Industries) made the protocol available to all interested parties royalty-free in perpetuity and is granting the right to sublicense the protocol.[8]

Retail availability[edit]

Some issuing agencies offer a packaged E‑ZPass transponder preloaded with toll funds sold over-the-counter at a retail setting (such as a supermarket or pharmacy service desk) that is valid immediately.[9][10] A portion of the balance is available instantly; customers can access the remaining balance when they register their transponders with the issuing E‑ZPass agency within several days of first using their E-ZPass.

Usage[edit]

According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 83.2% of vehicles crossing its five bridges and tunnels used E-ZPass for toll payment during the first half of 2016.[11]

History[edit]

The notion of electronic tolling had been considered as early as the 1980s, particularly in the New York metropolitan area. The tolling agencies of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—which constitute two-thirds of the United States' $3 billion-a-year toll industry—sought to create a compatible electronic-tolling technology that could be used on the toll roads and bridges of the three states, in an effort to reduce congestion on some of the busiest roadways and toll plazas in the United States.[citation needed] In 1991, the E‑ZPass IAG was created to develop an interoperable system, and involved the participation and cooperation of seven independent toll agencies—the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the New Jersey Highway Authority (which, at the time, operated the Garden State Parkway), the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (d.b.a. MTA Bridges and Tunnels), the New York State Thruway Authority, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority (operator of the Atlantic City Expressway). The E‑ZPass trademark, however, belongs to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[12] The Port Authority has been aggressive at protecting its trademark, including forcing the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to rename the "EZ Pass" regional transit pass to "EZ transit pass" to protect its rights.[13]

Under the direction of Peter Tufo, chairman of the New York State Thruway from 1989 to 1996, E‑ZPass was first deployed on the Thruway at the Spring Valley toll plaza on August 3, 1993. Over the following three and a half years, the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) installed electronic toll-collection equipment, in stages, along the Thruway. By February 6, 1997, E‑ZPass had been installed along the entire length of the corridor.

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, which is the legal name for MTA Bridges and Tunnels, is a New York State Public Authority that operates and maintains all toll bridges and tunnels that begin and end in New York City, and is the largest tolling agency by revenue in the United States ($1.9 billion in 2017). It began its E-ZPass implementation in 1995 and completed it at all nine of its toll facilities in 1996. It implemented open road cashless tolling at all of its facilities in 2017, and 94% of its toll transactions were paid with E-ZPass by the end of that year.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike had planned to adopt E-ZPass by 1998;[14][15] however, implementation of the system was postponed until December 2, 2000,[16] when E-ZPass debuted on the turnpike between Harrisburg West and the Delaware River Bridge.[17] By December 15, 2001, E-ZPass could be used on the entire length of the mainline Pennsylvania Turnpike.[18][19] Commercial vehicles were allowed to use the system beginning on December 14, 2002,[20] and the entire Turnpike system was taking E-ZPass by 2006.[21]

On October 6, 1998, a U.S. patent for an "automated toll collection system" was issued to Fred Slavin and Randy J. Schafer.[22]

Meanwhile, various other agencies began work on similar electronic toll collecting facilities. This resulted in the emergence of other networks:

Originally, these systems were not interchangeable with E‑ZPass. However, since most of them use the same technology (or have since converted over to a compatible technology), all of them have been incorporated into the E‑ZPass network. Though several still retain their own brand name for their own facilities, users of those systems can use E‑ZPass and vice versa. This allows, for example, travelers to drive on various toll roads in several states from Chicago, Illinois, to Atlantic City, New Jersey, with only an E‑ZPass tag.

The E‑ZPass system continues to expand. The Indiana Toll Road Concessions Corporation has upgraded its toll plazas to include E‑ZPass functionality on the Indiana East–West Toll Road, while the Ohio Turnpike Commission has upgraded its toll plazas in October 2009 for the Ohio Turnpike (I‑76, I‑80, I‑90). The Indiana Toll Road Concession Company brands its E‑ZPass program as I‑Zoom; Ohio will use the E‑ZPass brand name.[25] On December 16, 2008, Rhode Island joined the network by activating E‑ZPass lanes in the state's only toll booth, at the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge.[26] The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which had a toll road system predating the E-ZPass system which was ended in 2006, announced at the end of July 2015 its entrance into the E-ZPass system as part of the financing for the Louisville-area Ohio River Bridges Project involving the new Abraham Lincoln (paired with the retrofitted Kennedy) and Lewis and Clark bridges.[27]

E‑ZPass ETC transponders do not work on all toll roads in the United States. Currently, the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection system (as well as the other ETC systems that are part of the E‑ZPass network) are not compatible with Florida systems (including SunPass and E‑Pass), California's FasTrak, Kansas's K‑Tag, Oklahoma's Pikepass, Texas's TxTag, Utah's Express Pass, Puerto Rico's AutoExpreso, Georgia's Peach Pass and Cruise Card, or other ETC systems outside of E‑ZPass operating regions. Under MAP-21, passed in 2012, all ETC facilities in the United States must reach some form of interoperability by October 1, 2016.

In 2009 an organization called the Alliance for Toll Interoperability[28] stated that it was exploring the option of using high-speed cameras to take photographs of the cars passing through non-E‑ZPass lanes in other states.[29] The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which has been studying going towards all-electronic tolling in order to cut costs, plans to implement such a system for non-E-ZPass users by 2018.[30]

E-ZPass in Canada[edit]

Until 2005, drivers crossing the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York, paid a toll before crossing to Canada. Following upgrades to the border crossings in 2005, drivers instead pay a toll on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge after clearing Canadian customs. This is the first E‑ZPass toll gantry outside of the United States. The toll goes to the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, a bi-national agency responsible for maintaining the international bridge.

On August 11, 2014, E-ZPass began to be accepted at the Lewiston–Queenston Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge.[31] The toll for the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is paid in Canada after clearing Canadian customs, whereas the toll is paid before leaving the United States at the other two bridges. The toll from these three bridges goes to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Variants[edit]

E-ZPass Plus[edit]

For E-ZPass subscribers who replenish their accounts with a major credit card, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offers an E-ZPass option to pay for parking at three Port Authority airports—John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty—through a program known as E-ZPass Plus.[32] This program is also available in New York at Albany International Airport in Albany; Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse; and the parking lots at the New York State Fair when the fair is in progress; as well as in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Atlantic City International Airport, the New York Avenue Parking Garage, and the Atlantic City Surface Lot.

The parking payment is debited from the prepaid E‑ZPass account if the parking fee is less than $20. If it is $20 or more, the amount is charged directly to the credit card used to replenish the E‑ZPass account.[32] The Port Authority reports that drivers save an average of 15 seconds by opting to pay for airport parking using E‑ZPass.[citation needed]

Subscribers who replenish their E‑ZPass accounts with cash or check cannot participate in this program. Additionally, this service is only available, as of 2013, to customers of the DelDOT, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Delaware River and Bay Authority, in Delaware; of the New Hampshire DOT; in Maryland; in New Jersey and New York to customers of the PANYNJ, the New York MTA, or the NYS Thruway; and to customers of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.[33]

E-ZPass Flex[edit]

In late 2012, the I‑495 HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes in Virginia started to support E‑ZPass Flex transponders.[34] These work similarly to regular transponders, but let the driver switch between HOV and toll-paying modes. When a transponder is switched to HOV mode (with three or more passengers in the vehicle), it is read by the HOT lane's toll equipment but no toll is charged. E-ZPass Flex also works like a standard E-ZPass on all other toll roads where E-ZPass is accepted, regardless of the position of the switch.[35]

Effects[edit]

Reduced pollution and health[edit]

A study published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass", compared fetal health outcomes for mothers living near congested and uncongested toll plazas on three major highways in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The researchers focused on areas where toll plazas had instituted E-ZPass, which, because cars travel through more efficiently, diminishes congestion and pollution. The study drew its conclusions by looking at the health outcomes of nearly 30,000 births among mothers who lived within two kilometers of an E-ZPass toll plaza. The researchers state that their findings "suggest that the adoption of E-ZPass was associated with significant improvements of infant health." The study's specific findings were: 1) In areas where E-ZPass was adopted, rates of infant prematurity decreased by between 6.7% and 9.1%; this means that, out of the sample studied, 255 preterm births were likely avoided; 2) Introduction of E-ZPass was correlated with a reduction in the incidence of low birth weight by between 8.5% and 11.3%; that means 275 cases of low birth weight may have been avoided.[36]

Privacy concerns[edit]

Civil liberties and privacy rights advocates have expressed concern about how the position data gathered through E‑ZPass is used. As of August 2007, several states that employ E‑ZPass had provided electronic toll information in response to court orders in civil cases, including divorces and other non-criminal matters.[37]

Position data is collected by antennas at locations in addition to fee collection locations. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), for example, collect transponder information to provide real-time estimates of travel times between common destinations. By subtracting the time when vehicles pass under the first sign from the current time, the sign can display the expected travel time between the sign and the destination point ahead. This information is also used to determine the best times to schedule maintenance-related lane closures and for other traffic management purposes. According to NYSDOT, the individual tag information is encrypted, is deleted as soon as the vehicle passes the last reader, and is never made available to the Department.[38]

Accounts and agencies[edit]

Within the IAG, each member agency has its own billing and customer service center, and each establishes its own fee and discount structures. The agencies also set their own customer account policies. Areas of variation include the refundable deposit or nonrefundable charge for a tag, periodic maintenance fees, paper statement fees, the low account threshold, and replenishment amounts. E‑ZPass is usually offered as a debit account: tolls are deducted from prepayments made by the users. Users may opt to have prepayments automatically deposited when their account is low, or they may submit prepayments manually, either by phone or a toll authority's web portal, depending on the agency. For commercial accounts, some agencies allow postpaid plans with a security deposit (which effectively renders them prepaid accounts, with a different replenishment policy).

Some agencies have imposed periodic account maintenance fees on their subscribers. After New Jersey began losing money with the E‑ZPass system, a monthly account fee of one dollar was implemented on July 15, 2002[39] and is still in effect for both individual and business accounts.[40] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also charges a monthly individual account fee of one dollar.[41] On July 1, 2009, the Maryland Transportation Authority began charging a fee of $1.50 a month to accountholders[42] which, as of July 1, 2015, only applies to non-residents and is waived if three Maryland E‑ZPass tolls were incurred during the previous month.[43]

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) in New York City once imposed a monthly account fee starting on July 1, 2005, claiming to defray the administrative costs.[44] However, New York State Assembly Bill A06859A in 2005 and 2006 and Senate Bill S6331 in 2006 both considered such a fee threatening the efficiency to move traffic faster with lower tolls and sought to ban it.[45] When the New York State Law started to ban the monthly account fee,[46] the TBTA repealed it on June 1, 2006, and those, especially New Jerseyans, seeking New York accounts and avoiding the monthly fee still imposed by New Jersey and Port Authority, would have to apply for the TBTA or the New York State Thruway accounts at an E‑ZPass New York Service Center.[47]

Several agencies offer discounted tolls to E-ZPass customers. The details vary widely, and can include general discounts for all E‑ZPass users, variable pricing discounts for off-peak hours, commuter plans with minimum usage levels, flat rate plans offering unlimited use for a period of time, carpool plans for high-occupancy vehicles, and resident plans for those living near particular toll facilities. Many of these plans are available only to customers whose tags are issued by the agency that owns the toll facility in question (reciprocity applies to tag acceptance, not to discounts). Eight authorities in the Northeast (Maine,[48] the Massachusetts Turnpike,[49] the New Hampshire Turnpike,[50] Rhode Island,[51] the NYC TBTA,[52] the New Jersey Turnpike,[53] DelDOT[54]) and Maryland restrict their general discounts to their own respective tagholders. The Delaware Memorial Bridge restricts its discount plans to New Jersey tags[55] despite its toll plaza being located in Delaware (DelDOT-issued tags cannot obtain the discount plans).[56]

Some agencies charge a one-time fee between $20 and $30 for each new transponder, including the Delaware Department of Transportation, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, and the Maine Turnpike Authority.[57] At least two agencies, the Delaware River and Bay Authority and the Maryland Transportation Authority, once charged multiple fees. In a press release dated July 17, 2007, the DRBA stated: "Beginning January 1, 2008, all DRBA E-ZPass account holders will be charged an account management fee of $1.50 per month. The transponder cost will also be passed on to E‑ZPass customers for each new transponder." E‑ZPass New York charges a monthly fee of 50 cents for each tag in connection with a business account.[58] The DRBA since merged its service center with New Jersey's E-ZPass service center. On July 1, 2015, a plan put forth by Governor Hogan eliminated Maryland's monthly fee (except accounts without a Maryland address, unless using Maryland toll facilities at least three times in the previous statement period)[59] along with decreasing some toll rates especially for Maryland-issued E-ZPass tags.[60]

E‑ZPass users are not required to maintain their account with an agency in their home state. Subscribers can open an E‑ZPass account with any member of the IAG regardless of residency. This means that users have the option of choosing an agency based on the fees that it charges, effectively allowing them to circumvent transponder and account maintenance fees.[61]

Fees and discounts by state[edit]

StateMonthly/annual fee(s)DepositMinimum balanceDiscounts
Delaware[62]$0 for email/web statements, $8/year for quarterly paper statements$15 per internal or external transponder (non-refundable)$10 minimum balance (account charged a replenishment amount based on monthly toll usage, with a minimum of $25)50% off cash rates for Delaware SR‑1 when 30 or more qualifying trips are made by a two-axle passenger vehicle within a 30-day rolling period
Illinois (I-PASS)[63]$0 per month$10 per internal transponder (refundable)$10 minimum balance (account charged a minimum replenishment amount of $20 or an amount 10% of average monthly usage, whichever is higher)50% off cash rate for all transponders (ISTHA tolls and passenger cars only)
Indiana (formerly i‑Zoom)$1 per month/transponder$20 per internal transponder (refundable)$2.50 minimum balance (first 90 days), then $2.50 minimum balance or 25% of average monthly usage, whichever is greater (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $10 in the first 90 days, after which the minimum replenishment amount is based on the previous three months of usage on one's account and is recalculated on the first of each month, the minimum amount being $10). Manual replenishment for any amount is available via ITR website.Discounts available to all transponders. Percentage varies by exit.
Kentucky/Indiana (RiverLink)$0 per month/transponder$15 per internal (hard-case) transponder (non-refundable)[a]$20 initial minimum balance. Users can arrange for automatic credit card or ACH charges for replenishment; otherwise, the system sends reminders to replenish the account once the value drops below $10. Manual replenishment for any amount is available via RiverLink website.$2 discount per crossing for all transponders issued by any E-ZPass member (available for any vehicle type).
Discounts based on travel volume: For passenger vehicles only with locally issued transponders (both internal and stickers), the 40th crossing in a calendar month triggers a 50% discount from the regular transponder price, applied to all crossings (previous and future) in that calendar month.
Maine[64]$0 per month$10 per internal transponder (non-refundable)

$17 per external transponder (non-refundable)
$15 minimum balance (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $20 when one's account drops below minimum balance)Discounts based on travel volume: 30–39 account trips per month will equal a 25% discount applied to monthly account trips. 40+ account trips per month will equal a 50% discount applied to monthly account trips. For less than 30 account trips per month, Maine E-ZPass customers pay slightly less than cash rate. Other transponders pay cash rate.
Maryland[65][66]$0 per month ($1.50 fee for non-residents only, effective July 1, 2015, waived if three Maryland E‑ZPass tolls incurred during the previous month)[43]$7.50 per internal transponder (non-refundable)

$33 per external transponder (non-refundable)

$40 per internal FUSION CVO (PrePass & E-ZPass all-in-one) transponder

$18 per internal E-ZPass Flex transponder (for use on I-495 Express Lanes)
$10 minimum balance (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $25 or an amount equal to one's average monthly usage, whichever is higher)Discounts available to Maryland E‑ZPass users only. 10–37.5% discount off the passenger vehicle cash rate at all Maryland toll facilities.[67] Various other plans available for bridges and regions.
Massachusetts (formerly Fast Lane)[68]$0 per month if monthly statements by e-mail$0 per internal transponder$20 minimum balance (account is charged a replenishment amount whenever the balance falls below $10, replenishing the account to a balance of $20)Out-of-state E-ZPass: 30¢ discount at Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels and Tobin Memorial Bridge. Massachusetts E-ZPass: 55¢ discount at Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels, 30¢ discount at Tobin Bridge. [69]

With special transponder obtained by application: Residents of Charlestown and Chelsea pay $0.15 on Tobin Bridge. Residents of East Boston, South Boston, and the North End pay $0.20 at Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels. [70]

New Hampshire[71]$1 per month for paper statements after year 1[72]
$0 per month for email statements
$8.90 per internal transponder (non-refundable)

$15.19 per external transponder (non-refundable)

$.50 per month to lease transponder
$30 minimum balance (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $30 in the first 35 days, after which the minimum replenishment amount is based on the previous three months of usage on one's account, the minimum amount being $30)30% off cash rate for NH transponders only. Other transponders pay cash rate.
New Jersey$1 per month membership fee + $1 bimonthly for print/email statements$10 per internal transponder (refundable) or $0 if credit or direct debit replenishment.$10 or 25% of one's replenishment threshold, whichever is greater (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $25 in the first 90 days, after which the minimum replenishment amount is based on the previous three months of usage on one's account, the minimum amount being $25)Various discounts for NJ transponders only, including an approximate 25% off-peak auto discount on the New Jersey Turnpike and lesser peak and off-peak discounts for trucks and buses. Other transponders and autos during peak period pay cash rate. No auto or bus discount on the Garden State Parkway; however, truck tolls are discounted about 5% during the off peak period on the portion that permits their access.[73]
New York[74]$1 per month PANYNJ account service fee (no fee for MTA, Thruway, or Bridge Authority accounts) + $6/yr for monthly paper statements (bimonthly statements are free)$10 per internal transponder (refundable) or $0 if auto-replenish or pay per trip with a credit card backup$30 minimum balance (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $25 or an amount equal to one's average usage in a 90‑day period, whichever is higher) or $0 minimum balance for pay per tripAt all Port Authority facilities, E‑ZPass discounts are available. At MTA Bridges and Tunnels, E-ZPass discounts for tags issued by the New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (NY E-ZPass) range from 32% to 56%. At most facilities, NY E-ZPass tolls are $2.74 less than Tolls by Mail rates (all of its facilities are open road cashless tolling). NY E-ZPass rates are $5.48 off for a round-trip at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and a $2.09 discount at the Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge. At the Henry Hudson Bridge, NY E-ZPass gives a $3.36 discount. At all New York State Thruway and New York State Bridge Authority facilities, E‑ZPass discounts apply. Discount rates apply only to customer tags issued by a New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (discounts don't apply to out-of-state E-ZPass holders).

NY now also offers a Pay-Per-Trip option for total tolls to transact on a daily basis directly via the checking account linked per tag. It is optional (yet recommended) that a credit card be kept on file, but monthly balances are not required under this new payment option in New York.[75][76]

North Carolina (Quick Pass)[77]$0 per month, $1 per month after 12 consecutive months of no toll transactions ($5 Mail Statements)$7.40+Tax per internal (hard case) transponder (Works with Sun Pass and Peach pass as well)[b]$20 minimum balance for first two transponders, $10 for each additional transponder, up to five transponders total. (Account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $10 or when account balance is 25% of one's replenishment threshold, based on the previous three months of usage, whichever is greater.) A $5.00 charge will occur if transponder is not present 15% of the time you pass a toll.Discounts available to all E-ZPass, NC Quick Pass, SunPass, and Peach Pass users; percentage varies by exit.
Ohio[78]75¢ per month (waived for those who use their E-ZPass for 30 or more trips in a month on the Ohio Turnpike)$0 per internal transponder ($25 replacement fee within first four years)$25 minimum balance per transponder (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount based on the previous three months of usage, or the amount needed to return the account balance to $25.00 per transponder, whichever is greater)Ohio discount available to all transponders. Percentage varies by exit (0–35%).
Pennsylvania[79]$3 per year/transponder, $4 per month for monthly paper statements$10 per internal transponder (refundable) or $0 if credit or direct debit replenishment$10 per transponder. Account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $35 whenever the balance reaches a total value of $10 or less ($15 or less for manual replenishment accounts) per transponder. If one's account requires more than the allowed replenishments in a one-month cycle (2 times for credit cards and 3 times for ACH), the amount of replenishment will switch to average usage.35% discount off cash rate to all E-Z Pass transponders.
Rhode Island[80]$0 per month if monthly statements by e-mail$20.95 per internal transponder (purchase required)

$33.04 per external transponder (purchase required)
$25 minimum balance per transponder (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount based on the previous 45-days of usage and is recalculated every 90-days, or the amount needed to return the account balance to $25.00 per transponder, whichever is greater)$0.83 per car on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge toll for Rhode Island residents only (as opposed to the normal $2/axle)
Virginia[81]$0 per month, as of July 1, 2014$35 per internal transponder$10 minimum balance per transponder (account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $35 per transponder or an amount equal to one's average monthly usage, whichever is higher)
West Virginia[82]$5 per year for "prepaid" plan (includes free use of the North Beckley ramp on the West Virginia Turnpike). Flat rate, unlimited use plans range from $5 to $285 for various parts of the West Virginia Turnpike.$10 per internal transponder$10 minimum balance (Account is charged a minimum replenishment amount of $20. No balance needed with annual WV unlimited plan)35% off cash rate and free use of the US-19 North Beckley exit for WV transponders only (non-WV transponders pay cash rate)
Notes

List of places where E-ZPass is accepted[edit]

List of agencies[edit]

As listed on its website, the E-ZPass Interagency Group includes "38 members in 16 states".[83]

Although the Virginia Department of Transportation is Virginia's sole member of the E-ZPass Interagency Group, not all E-ZPass facilities in Virginia are operated by the Department of Transportation.[85]

Each of the 16 E-ZPass states operates its own E-ZPass Service Center.[86] NJ E-ZPass manages accounts for the Burlington County Bridge Commission, Delaware River and Bay Authority, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and Delaware River Port Authority.[87][88] The E-ZPass New York Service Center operates accounts for the Buffalo and Port Erie Public Bridge Authority, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[89]

List of roadways, bridges, tunnels, and airports[edit]

The following tolled roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports accept E‑ZPass. Crossings between jurisdictions are listed in the state where the toll collection point is located, or linked to (in the case of international border crossings).

Delaware[edit]

Illinois[edit]

Indiana[edit]

Kentucky[edit]

Maine[edit]

Maryland[edit]

Massachusetts[edit]

New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

New York[edit]

A typical E-ZPass toll booth in Massachusetts, before that state discontinued using its Fast Lane branding and converted to open road tolling in late 2016. The transmission antenna is highlighted in the yellow box.
An E‑ZPass system transponder unit (also known as a "tag" or a "pack"); this unit is distributed by the Indiana Toll Road for use with their E‑ZPass system and other roads which utilize E‑ZPass.
New G4 style E-ZPass transponder for MassDOT manufactured by Kapsch
E-ZPass exterior (license plate mount) transponder
Express E-ZPass lanes on the Atlantic City Expressway in New Jersey, which allow the motorist to pay their toll at high speed
A New Hampshire E-ZPass plaza also using a coin drop basket (left) and a conventional toll booth (right)
RFID E-ZPass reader attached to the pole and its antenna (right) used in traffic monitoring in New York City by using the vehicle re-identification method
  1. ^Sticker transponders are available at no charge, but these are incompatible with E-ZPass and will only work at the three tolled Ohio River bridges in the Louisville area.
  2. ^Sticker transponders are available for Free but these are incompatible with E-ZPass and will only work in North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.
Massachusetts has replaced its toll booths with fare collection gantries such as this one. License plates of vehicles lacking EZPass transponders are photographed and the owners billed.
Map of U.S. toll roads that accepted E‑ZPass as of 2010.[needs update]

New documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union reveal that wireless E-ZPass tollbooth transponders are being read routinely throughout New York City to systematically collect location data about drivers.

At the NYCLU, we were surprised when we first heard this might be happening. In late 2013, NYCLU staff went on a car ride with a privacy activist who designed a cow-shaped device that mooed every time it detected signals on the same frequency that E-ZPass readers use. We listened as the cow mooed its way through Midtown and Lower Manhattan — though we weren’t at any toll plazas, something was reading the E-ZPass tag in our car.

This prompted us to file New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to find out why E-ZPass readers had been installed far from any toll booths for some purpose unrelated to their intended use, and what privacy protections, if any, were in place. Earlier this week, the NYCLU released the result of that investigation (part of a new webpage that hosts records obtained through FOIL requests on how government agencies are collect information on New Yorkers).

The systematic placement of the E-Zpass readers can be clearly seen in these maps

Location of E-ZPass Readers in New York City

Source: New York City Department of Transportation FOIL Production (July 11, 2014). 

Location of E-ZPass Readers in Midtown Manhattan

Source: New York City Department of Transportation FOIL Production (July 11, 2014). 

What we’ve learned is that both city and state transportation agencies have set up E-ZPass readers around the state as part of technology-based traffic management programs. Under a program called Midtown in Motion, for example, the city Department of Transportation initially installed 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections to measure traffic volumes and congestion. By July 2014, that program had expanded to 149 E-ZPass readers around the city.

Outside of New York City, the State Department of Transportation in partnership with other entities has set up a similar traffic management program that scans E-ZPass tags on major transportation corridors, away from toll plazas.

There should be strong privacy policies, made readily accessible to the public, that ensure that the data is anonymous.

While traffic management is certainly an important goal, when government agencies engage in this kind of technology-driven data collection, they should make sure that the public knows that their data is being scanned and used for purposes other than what the data was originally intended to be used for (in this case, toll collection). They should also notify the public of a way to opt out (e.g., is it sufficient to put the tag in a cover provided by E-ZPass?).

There should also be strong privacy policies, made readily accessible to the public, that ensure that the data is anonymous and that it cannot be used for any purpose other than for the traffic study. So it’s troubling, for example, that the New York City Department of Transportation stated in response to the FOIL that it had no policies or training materials on storage, retention, destruction or use of the information collected from its E-ZPass readers.

Our location information reveals a lot of private details about our lives. Governments need to seriously consider the privacy implications of new technologies they adopt and institute meaningful, transparent protections that address privacy concerns and minimize the risk that this technology will become used for some other purpose.

More information about the E-ZPass readers, including an extensive Document Library, is available at the New York Civil Liberties Union’s new site.Toll booth transponders such as E-ZPass were created for one specific purpose: smoothing the flow of traffic at toll booths. We’ve already seen the technology abused for political purposes. The fact that they’re now being repurposed to track cars around the streets of New York without adequate public notice is exactly the kind of mission creep that we always warn against with powerful tracking technologies.

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