Electronic toll collection, Toll plaza


The effectiveness of modifying a conventional toll plaza for implementation of an open road tolling concept with express ETC lanes was evaluated in this thesis. Speed controlled dedicated ETC lanes were replaced with express ETC lanes at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) University Mainline Toll Plaza. This evaluation was accomplished by utilizing collected field data and simulated scenarios using Toll Plaza SIMulation (TPSIM) software developed by the University of Central Florida. The speed controlled dedicated ETC lanes were located within toll lanes (contained within a toll plaza canopy) with widths ranging between 10 to 14 ft. These types of lanes required all vehicles to reduce their speed from the highway speed to 35 mph. Express ETC lanes (sometimes referenced as open road tolling or non-stop tolling) allow vehicles to pass through the plaza at high speeds. Open road tolling is a concept that employs high speed toll lanes. A before and after study of the University toll plaza was conducted. Benefits in the form of reduced delays and increased capacities were observed when making the comparison between the before and after studies. Since we expect the capacity of an express ETC lane to be greater than the dedicated ETC lanes (due to an increase in free-flow speed), further analysis using equations and car-following theory proved that if the ETC speed was increased, then the capacity would increase as well. Using equations derived from the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) and car-following theory, the capacity was increased from 2016 to 2314 vph when the ETC speed increased from 31 mph to 65 mph. This indicated an increase in capacity of 14.8 percent (based on the conversion from dedicated to express ETC lanes). The field data was also used as input for TPSIM (a computer simulation model) in order to perform a sensitivity analysis of the express ETC lanes by varying the type of ETC lane, number of approach lanes, and plaza configurations (the addition of an ACM lane) between scenarios. Results that were observed during the after study were verified using the TPSIM scenarios. Reductions in delays for the entire plaza were observed using the TPSIM model when making similar improvements to the plaza as in the after study. The changes made to the University Mainline Toll Plaza after construction was completed resulted in benefits by reducing delays and increasing the capacity of the toll plaza (by converting dedicated ETC lanes to express ETC lanes and adding an additional A/ETC lane per direction). These benefits were measured using field data and confirmed when performing the TPSIM scenarios. A customer's travel time along the toll facility will be reduced by using the express ETC lanes (since they are not required to decelerate at the toll plaza). In addition, weaving maneuvers downstream of the plaza are no longer required by customers using the express ETC lanes due to the location of the downstream travel lanes in relation to the express ETC lanes. These benefits may have led to changes in the number and percentage of ETC users in each of the toll lanes. Changes in ETC usage in the conventional mixed-use lanes directly impacted the throughput and delays for each of these lanes, since ETC equipped vehicles have a service time of zero seconds. In addition to the operational benefits, other possible benefits for express ETC lanes were identified and recommended for further evaluation and research. The re-distribution of customers at the plaza due to the implementation of open road tolling, in the form of express ETC lanes, was a great benefit to the overall traffic operations for the University Mainline Toll Plaza in Orlando, Florida.


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Graduation Date





Al-Deek, Haitham


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering








Release Date

May 2004

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic