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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2007 at 1:48pm
quote:
Originally posted by SpongeBob
[br]OK. Now please write him back and make sure he understands that "expanding HOV" by putting tolls on the existing portion will actually cause the elimination of HOV, since there is no technical way to count the number of passengers in a vehicle, and therefore no way to allow free HOV use.

All cars will be tolled at the same rate, and so there will be far less incentive to ride share.

Plus, does he know the expected cost of a commute from Spotsylvania to DC on the new tollway? Over $30 EACH WAY. Everyday. Does he really want to vote for that tax on his constituents? They use the road for free right now...



Spongy, I suspect you're half-right (and half-left). The likely solution is that EVERYONE will be tolled and HOVers will have to petition Flour to remove the fees that appear on their EZPass. I suspect HOVers would also need to provide written documentation of their carpool (similar to what many agencies do now to allow carpool parking). This also means that there would be qualification criteria, and perhaps even required notorized "carpool participation" affidavits and other processes (hoops to jump through) before the tolls could be removed. Forget that the whole EZPass system is an intrusive, big brotheresque means to track our comings and goings (read "1984," "Brave New World" or "Atlas Shrugged").

However, this makes total sense when you remember that this is designed solely to discourage carpooling and encourage toll paying.

The moral of the story is that whenever the government gets involved in something they screw it up for everyone!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2007 at 10:00am
Nah, Raymond; they are not going to implement such a paperwork-intensive, easily fooled process. Not when there is so much money at stake.

I have thought about this a lot (my wife says too much) and there is no technical way for the overhead transponders to charge one car with two people and not charge another car with three people. It can't be done.

OK, you could have cops stationed at numerous points along the system stopping every car with tinted windows and every van to count passengers. That would certainly make ride-sharing convenient, eh?

Remember EVERY vehicle that accesses these lanes, EVERY SINGLE ONE, must have an EZ-Pass. One theory I've heard is that carpoolers would have a "sock" to put their transponder in that would keep it from being charged by the toll booths. But what is to stop me from putting my transponder in the sock all the time? Heck, we could all do that any time we want! Do you think Flour/Transurban will let us do that?

So what is their alternative? Toll everyone!

Look, Kirby said it plain as day in the Post: HOV-3 won't be free.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2007 at 10:02am
Sponge -

Currently, CA 91 has a system for carpoolers to use the toll lanes. There are 2 lanes as you approach the unmanned electronic toll station; one for carpool and one for others. I suspect that enforcement is conducted via video surveillance of the lanes. Both lanes require the use of a transponder.

When you think about it, without a video surveillance, what's to keep those without transponders from using the lanes? If not video, then how are the toll lanes enforced without 24/7 police? The conclusion is that there has to be both the transponder recorder and a video system.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2007 at 12:32pm
Yes, I've looked at the SR91 model. It is not applicable to the system as proposed by Fluor/Transurban. That road is only 10 miles long, not 35+, it has one entrance and one exit, not a dozen or more as will be the case with the planned toll road here, it has one tolling point, not several dozen as we will have. It has far, far fewer vehicles on it. It has two lanes, not three. It is used mostly, according to its statistics, by housewives going shopping and is not a central commuter route. It was not a pre-existing HOV, but was custom-built within the bounds of the existing freeway.

Carpools are not free during commuting hours on SR91, as was promised, but are tolled with a mild discount. That is the point.

The tolling on SR91 is not "congestion dynamic", as is planned for traffic management purpose on I95, but is based on a published schedule.

Current prices on SR91 (which increase every six months) are about 92.5 cents per mile in the evening and about 45 cents in the morning. Why expect anything cheaper here? Do the math on a daily commute from Woodbridge.

The lone toll checkpoint on SR91 is a video camera running tape, with the occasional human in the booth. Any chance that would work here given the traffic volume and speeds on our road? Given the fact you can't look inside a van? Given the darkness in the morning and a set of tinted windows?

Finally, SR91 included a controversial if not entirely sick-minded "non-compete" clause that only you could love.

Still, SR91 failed as private venture and had to be rescued by the state.

To compare the two roads either 1) displays your ignorance or 2)proves our suspicions that you are a troll in the gainful employ of someone with a financial incentive to toll the citizens of Virginia. (And please, don't do your usual attempt to divert the argument by saying that I, too, have a financial incentive at stake. Duh.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2007 at 2:41pm
Sponge- the point is that IT IS TECHNOLOGICALLY FEASIBLE, which seems to soak right through you. Ever been on SR91? I drive it about once every 3 months using the regular lanes. As I've said with the hybrid, try it before saying it has no possibilty of working.

Is it possible that the carpools on SR91 could travel without a toll? Why, yes, it is!

Was the "improvement" based on widening the freeway, just like what it proposed in NOVA?
Why, yes, it was!

Is there serious congestion on SR91?
Why, it's almost identical to NOVA, with the regular lanes barely moving and the express lanes zooming during commuting (and most non-commuting) hours!

Can there be more than one entry and exit point on an electronic toll system?
My goodness, you think?

I agree that the illegal tinting of windows could be a factor - for which the video system could also record and send a ticket.

Squeezed enough or do you want to keep going?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beachhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2007 at 2:52pm
Sponge,

Like you, I have never believed the "HOV-3 rides free" nonsense. There are only two viable alternative with HOT: 1) Install manned (womaned, if you prefer) toll booths along with an EZ pass lane at all entry points so that carpools are let through free, or 2) Charge all cars regardless of number of passengers, make, model, color, creed or religion.

Since most entry points don't have space for two lanes to accommodate option 1) and no self-respecting private company is going to hire more employees if it can get away without hiring any, it seems pretty obvious that option 2) will win the day. R.I.P. slug system.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2007 at 4:17pm
Yes, beachhead, option 2 is inevitable since the whole point to this is to do everything automatically. There may be toll gantries every mile inside the Beltway because the toll is done in segments; it is not based on your entry point alone.

NoSUV: So maybe you can tell me how, technically, they are going to do this people-counting at multiple points along the road at 65mph?

Are they going to ask us to pull over into a special checking lane fifteen times between Route 234 and the 14th St. Bridge? That is the system on SR91 and it clearly won't work in the system proposed for I95.

How will an automated toll gantry distinguish between car A with two people (cha ching), and car B with three people (free)? They don't have that problem on SR 91 because lower-priced HOV cars go into a separate toll and checkpoint lane. One Time! Not twenty.

Could carpools travel without a toll on SR91? Sure, that was the promise, wasn't it? But is it free today, in reality? Of course not! Thanks for making my point.

And yes, there can be multiple exit and entry points on an auto-tolling system... provided that the toll is the same for every vehicle and the machine doesn't have to count passengers, which it can't do, and charge different amounts. Thanks for making my point again.

Finally, legal tinting of windows is more than sufficient to make it impossible to use a video camera to count passengers, as you can see for yourself everyday on our roads. Many is the time, on a bright sunny day, when I cannot tell if the car next to us is HOV or a cheater. Plus, southern states allow darker tinting than northern states... are you going to send tickets to every dark-windowed Floridian who dares drive on a federal highway his tax dollars paid for? What about panel vans? Planning to stop them all and peer in the back?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2007 at 7:28am
Sponge - you seem to be a savvy commuter. Have you ever used a Smart Card? Do you have to swipe your card at every station? How does the card know how much to charge you between your entry and exit point? Is there a reason the transponder in a car can't use the same technology as the Smart Card so you only have to be recorded at your entry and exit point?

Are you also saying that the technology doesn't exist for video cameras to slow the video down when reading it and that the digital clarity is less than what we currently can get on our TV sets? And why would you need to people count at multiple points instead of just entry/exit (which is what they do on SR 91)?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2007 at 1:49pm
Huh? Your first question doesn't even make sense -- it isn't even a question. The point isn't whether the technology exists to charge a variable amount as the cars pass under the gantries -- that isn't the issue. The issue is that it will have to charge EVERY car the SAME amount because on one day you might have two people in that car and the next you might have three and be, supposedly, able to ride for free.

Yes, I am saying that the technology DOES NOT EXIST to do that. Digital clarity? Through the side of a panel van? Huh?

Perhaps you have conveniently forgotten my previous postings in which Dr. Smith of UVA, a member of the advisory panel for HOT lanes, said that vehicle occupancy checks can only be done manually, not by video.

The reason that you need to verify passengers at each tolling point is obvious: if you have a transponder in your car, the gantry charges you at each tolling point. For HOV to be free, either your transponder will have to be turned off when you are on the toll roads and carrying three, or you will need a special transponder. So what is to keep cheaters from putting the transponder in the "sock" or oops accidentally forgetting to bring their non-HOV transponder with them that day. In other words, there is no way to stop cheating, which disrupts the business model and irritates the investors.

Ergo, the only way to operate the system to produce revenue and reduce cheating is to just toll everyone. Like they do on SR91.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2007 at 2:21pm
sponge - Ah, I see the problem. You are stuck on there being several toll points for a single vehicle on a single trip.

Not needed. Just have to record the beginning and end. That means only toll stations at entry and exit points.

Bob proposed the simplist solution to the HOV count - you put signals at the entry points (he put the idea forward to regulate traffic entry, but it solves the same purpose by allowing cameras to have the time to video the occupants as well as the plates).

So you make all entry points at least 2 lanes - those paying a toll and those believing they have an exemption. Transponders needed for both, but for the exemption, the record goes to a different file than those paying. At vehicle exit point, the transponder is again recorded and then matched up to the entry file. Those without exemption get their bill (debit); those exempt don't. Random monitoring of video determines who gets to pay the (healthy) fine for being in the wrong lane.

Too simple?
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