Business Communications - BU.120.601.71.FA11
October 17, 2011
The new Maryland Inter-county Connecter (MD200 ICC) has opened its first section. When complete, the road will connect Montgomery County I-270/I-370 to I-95/US1 alleviating the aggravating stretch through the Washington 495 beltway (Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration). The ICC is a toll road, but there is an interesting twist – no toll booths, E-Z Pass only. E-Z Pass is an electronic toll-collection system used on most tolled roads, bridges, and tunnels in the northeastern US, south to Virginia and West Virginia, and west to Illinois. E-Z Pass transponder already exists with millions of drivers throughout the United States. According to the E-Z Pass Group, an association that includes over 24 toll agencies in 14 states, there are more than 24 million E-Z Pass devices in circulation (E-Z Pass Group). With the opening of the ICC’s first section alone, E-Z Pass’s revenue has increased by almost 10%, requiring a projected 20-30% increase in call-center staff by the time the entire span of this new highway is opened (by the end of 2012) and much higher revenue. E-Z Pass’s call center is flooded with applications for new accounts. There are currently millions of E-Z Pass Transponders in circulation throughout the United States and the company is working to sign up more drivers in more cities and states every day. We believe there may be a low cost opportunity for E-Z Pass to expand its market, increase its presence, and boost its revenue even further by simply expanding its capabilities from just toll roads to garages and parking lots throughout the United States. We would like to recommend that E-Z Pass utilizes the already existing E-Z Pass transponder technology which many drivers already have in their vehicles and convert it into a quick and convenient method of payment for parking called “E-Z Park”. Drivers who already have the toll-paying device could simply add on an “E-Z Park feature” to their existing E-Z Pass account, and there would not be any need to keep an additional device on the driver or in his/her vehicle.
Business people, families, and those “on the go” are always interested in ways to save time and money. The concept of E-Z Park could enable drivers to avoid long lines by having an E-Z lane that they can drive through without being required to come to a full stop. One of the biggest benefits consumers could obtain from E-Z Park concept is the opportunity to utilize the already existing transponders already installed at the top of a driver’s windshield and allows them to conveniently park without waiting for a ticket, waiting in line for a human teller to ring up the fee, or wasting time digging around for the exact change or for a credit card. “Technology is the next big thing in parking. Professionals offer many specific visions of the coming technology, whether it is smart phone apps, cashless parking, automatic vehicle identification, or simply a continued push to integrate and expand technology to make both operations and traffic flow more efficient”. (International Parking Institute p.3) Another convenience that could benefit drivers is the management of the parking costs. Currently, E-Z Pass is linked to a driver’s credit or debit card account and automatically replenishes when its balance is below a certain threshold, an average of $45.00 each transaction. E-Z Pass sends a detailed statement each month either via USPS or email itemizing the amount, date, and time of each toll paid. E-Z Park’s transponder payments would work the same way. This would provide an easy, worry free method of keeping track of parking use. Drivers would no longer have to be concerned with having to keep all parking receipts for work related expenses, but could rather submit their...