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2.0 Plaza Operations and Toll Lane Configuration

2.7.1 State of the Practice

All attended toll plazas and most unattended plazas have a roadside building structure to provide the operations staff cash-handling, restroom, breakroom and locker facilities as well as protection of computer and communications equipment. A single plaza building is often located on the right side of one of the two directional conventional plazas. This building has also been located in the center of the plaza between the two directional conventional plazas. In both of these cases, a tunnel or overhead walkway is commonly used to provide safe access to the operations staff when walking to their assigned toll booth. In cases of limited right of way, overhead buildings have been built, such as New Jersey Exit 1, which provides safe and convenient access for the operations and maintenance staff. Agencies such as TCA in Orange County, California, have constructed plaza buildings on both sides of the overall plaza (i.e., right side of each directional conventional plaza). This approach eliminates the need for a tunnel or overhead walkway if safety procedures are strictly followed by the attendants. Furthermore, these buildings can be designed for easy demolition in conjunction with future conversion to an ORT facility once ETC participation reaches a pre-established threshold.

Vehicle access to the administration building requires a paved accessway that intersects with the departure zone pavement.

Operations staff walk from the administration building to their assigned toll booth either by walking across the toll islands and lanes, or through a tunnel (traditional approach) or overhead walkway (more recent approach).

The survey results indicated most toll operators provide grade-separated crossings for operations staff over or under retrofitted ETC dedicated lanes. Plaza observations indicate ETC customers rarely stop as they drive through any toll lane with ETC capability, particularly if they know their account will only be charged the toll amount if the transponder is not read in the lane, pursuant to the agency’s business rules for handling ETC customer violations when traveling in a vehicle that is listed with their profile information. Multi-mode lane capability can provide an agency limited control in the way the plaza lanes are configured.

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