Rumor: Toll booths down from D.C. to VA? : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Need confirmation about a rumor that interstate toll booths are down from Washington D.C. to Virginia. Supposedly, people are traveling "free" because of a system problem? Pass cards aren't working. Cash cannot be accepted today.

A friend heard this on an afternoon radio program.

Anyone out there familiar with how a toll booth system works? Computers?

-- Lee Maloney (, January 07, 2000


If you are referring to the Dulles Toll Road, the toll booths are working just fine. We just got back from a drive along the toll road and I did not see anything out of order in either direction (to or from DC).

The toll booths take either cash or a "Smart Tag". The Smart Tag is definitely computer operated. We have a little thingie that sticks to the windshield of the car. We prepay a given amount of money and the right amount is deducted from our account when the toll booth senses our Smart Tag. The light turns green and (if the booth is using gates) the gate is lifted.

No problems that I can see.

-- Sally Strackbein (Reston, VA) (, January 07, 2000.

Thanks for the information, Sally. I was hoping for a real eyewitness report. The name of the toll road that was announced on radio didn't register with my friend, but at least we can now eliminate Dulles. The rumor seemed unbelievable to me, since cash wasn't being collected. Then I realized that sensors are involved.


-- Lee Maloney (, January 07, 2000.


Please note that both of these assessments could be correct. The Dulles Toll Road could appear to be operating correctly, and they might not be collecting any money due to a glitch. Many toll roads, such as Georgia 400 in Atlanta, now extensively use "smart sensors" to collect tolls and bill monthly. You might never know that it wasn't collecting or registering for a few days (some toll roads bill monthly at flat fee and others have a per trip charge).

I am not personally aware of Dulles problems *but traveling down I-66 you wouldn't notice anything different* if the smart sensor collection mechanism was out of commission. They would simply let everyone through. You would have to contact and get an honest toll road IT official to see if anything was wrong.

-- Bud Hamilton (, January 08, 2000.

For the light to turn green, the sensor has to (1) sense that I have a Smart Tag and (2) check to see that my account has enough money to cover the trip. If all is well, I get a green light.

I'll check the bill when it comes in, but I'm not counting on free trips.

-- Sally Strackbein (Reston, VA) (, January 08, 2000.

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