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Strategies for Improving Safety at Toll Collection Facilities


Toll collection facilities present unique safety challenges both for the traveling public and for the workers who support the fare collection operation. A wide range of solutions have been developed to address these unique safety challenges. However, many of these solutions have been created by individual agencies that are geographically and institutionally isolated from one another. Consequently, while many of the techniques or strategies are quite innovative and might be applicable at other toll collection facilities, their use may not yet extend beyond a single agency.

To address this problem, and in an effort to better understand the safety challenges that toll facilities face and how these challenges are being addressed within the industry, Congress called for a Toll Facility Safety Study to be conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.1 This study involved gathering information on specific safety strategies directly from those who operate and who work in and around toll facilities through an industry survey, telephone interviews, site visits and in-person interviews, and an industry workshop. Altogether, individuals from over 35 tolling authorities were consulted, and from discussions with these individuals, 94 strategies were identified that are currently in use across the country that may have the potential to improve safety at toll collection facilities.

This report presents these 94 strategies. The strategies are presented according to some of the many challenges that agencies face with regard to worker and motorist safety:

  • Improving Worker Safety when Accessing Toll Booths
  • Reducing Worker Exposure to the Environment
  • Improving Ergonomics for Workers
  • Reducing Worker Risk of Assault
  • Reducing Unsafe Merging and Lane Changing
  • Reducing Speeding
  • Reducing Driver Confusion and Driver Inattention
  • Improving Safety through Overarching Strategies (e.g., training, a culture of safety, etc.)
  • Maintaining Safety while Using Open Road Tolling

To guide readers in identifying strategies best suited for their needs, this report presents each strategy along with comments from practitioners on any concerns they may see with that particular strategy (e.g., cost), and any practical constraints that may exist (e.g., plaza design). In addition to this, information about the perceived effectiveness of each strategy is also presented. The information about concerns, constraints, and effectiveness was obtained from participants in a Toll Facility Safety Study Workshop, held in McLean, Virginia, in June 2007. Participants included both management and labor and represented 20 tolling agencies from across the country.

Following the presentation of individual strategies, this report presents information about two additional kinds of strategies (training and safety culture) that could be viewed as overarching in that they address multiple safety issues rather than focusing on one issue in particular, such as speeding.

Finally the report concludes with a discussion of maintaining safety while using open road tolling. As many agencies are making the move toward some form of open road tolling, many are also discovering some new safety challenges along the way. Some of the safety impacts that were uncovered through this study are discussed here as this will be an issue of interest to the industry moving into the future.

The complete findings of this study can be found in the document "Toll Facilities Workplace Safety Study Report to Congress" at

1 Public Law 109-59: Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, Sec. 1403. Toll Facilities Workplace Safety Study. August 10, 2005.

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