Strategies for Improving Safety at Toll Collection Facilities
REDUCING WORKER RISK OF ASSAULT
Another concern related to toll worker safety is the possibility of physical assault, either by irate customers or in connection with a robbery. At each site the study team visited, the agencies cited examples of workers being spit upon, having objects thrown at them, and - in extreme cases - being shot at. Fear of armed robbery was particularly pronounced in locations where a lone worker might be present - such as at an exit ramp plaza.
POTENTIAL MITIGATION STRATEGIES
While little can be done to entirely eliminate these occurrences, a number of mitigation strategies have been adopted. These include:
Nearly all agencies that the team spoke with have a handset in the booth for collectors to communicate directly with other collectors at the plaza, with a supervisor at the plaza building or at a nearby plaza, or - in many cases - with a communications center that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to this, most agencies that the team spoke with have covert panic alarms in their booths so that collectors can call for help in an emergency situation; some also issue cell phones to collectors as an additional means of being able to communicate during an emergency.
One agency has a "Toll Security Committee" that meets every few months to discuss any incidents that have occurred recently and to brainstorm ways to prevent these types of incidents in the future.
Strategy Rankings, Effectiveness, and Constraints
Table 4 lists each strategy identified for mitigating safety issues associated with assault and provides comments from practitioners on strategy effectiveness and any concerns/constraints. The table also provides information on practitioner ranking results from the Toll Facility Safety Study Workshop.
12 Within this group of strategies, workshop participants were asked to select and rank the top three strategies that they believed to have the greatest potential to mitigate worker assault. Comments were not able to be recorded during the workshop as there was a power outage during this portion of the session.
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration