By on February 23, 2018

Audi ITM tolling

Depending on where you live, toll roads might be a significant part of your driving life. There are a few ways to handle these moderate annoyances. You can carefully plot your course to avoid them, adding time to the journey and eventually trapping yourself in a situation where you’re scrambling to find enough change under your seat to appease I-95. However, a better solution would probably be to have some cash on hand, or maybe pick up one of those ugly boxes used for electronic toll collection.

E-ZPass, QuickPass, SunPas FasTrak, TxTag, and every other electronic collection measure require that you adhere a card or unsightly hunk of plastic to your vehicle’s windshield. While they don’t take up a lot of space, their placement can sometimes impede visibility and the cheap white plastic is bit of an eyesore — especially in a well-appointed interior.

Audi says it’s through with them and plans to launch an automated toll payment technology, integrated in the car’s rear-view mirror, for North American models. It might be one of the most mundane problems currently facing motorists, but somebody had to solve it. 

Using hardware supplied by Gentex Corporation, Audi’s toll system allows drivers to manage tolling for multiple accounts via their infotainment system. That’s especially good news for drivers on the east coast who may have several electronic collection systems stuck to the windshield.

The automaker has said the module is compatible with 98 percent of the toll infrastructure within the United States, as well as some toll roads in Canada and Mexico. The system can also be turned on or off in-car or modified to set the vehicle up for tolling in high-occupancy lanes.

Audi isn’t ready to say which vehicles will get the technology first. But we’d expect it to be on most of the higher-end models later this year. A spokesperson from Audi says the intent is to eventually see integrated tolling appear as a feature on all models.

[Image: Audi]

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25 Comments on “Audi Launching Vehicle-integrated Toll Technology in North America...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    That would come in handy when I cross the Peace Bridge to watch the Sabres get mauled by the Leafs.

  • avatar
    arach

    I clicked this article because I read “Troll” activity and thought YESSS….

    But now, its toll activity, which is a lot less cool.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    You forgot one article tag…..archaic.

    Tax Fuel not select routes. Eliminating checkpoint based toll systems would improve traffic flow, save fuel and eliminate a pointless bureaucracy.

    It would also incentivize EV/Hybrid technology.

    Some might call it playing favorites…but it’s actually just common sense.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      How would on-the-fly electronic tolling (like all the systems described in this article) negatively affect traffic flow? Tollbooths are quickly going away.

      Tolling specific bottlenecks like bridges, tunnels, and city choke points at the level where they continue flowing is good. It helps keep the entire system running.

      • 0 avatar
        tylanner

        On-the-fly toll technology is a work-around for a problem that doesn’t need to exist and since this new tech is currently on 0% of automobiles we still got a problem to fix…this technology is like trying to make travel by horse faster by pulling the horse and carriage with a tractor trailer.

        And I dont think that toll booths are going away. The toll booth is basically the only reason that a car would need to slowdown or stop on a major highway….a permanent feature that costs motorist fuel efficiency, brake life and travel time.

        There are a near infinite amount of ways of throttling traffic flow other than Toll Booths that are more intelligent, adaptable and effective.

        • 0 avatar
          Tinn-Can

          Uhhh it’s usually just a little RFID style sticker you put on the windshield behind your rear view mirror where you never notice it again… Most toll roads here don’t even have attendants anymore, they just either pick up your tag, or scan your plates and mail you an inflated bill… Taking the nice smooth 130 around all the Austin dillholes is pretty sweet, I just wish it were slightly cheaper.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          There isn’t a single tollbooth in Washington state, despite having a number of toll roads. It works just like Tinn-Can says.

        • 0 avatar
          Cashmoney

          Booths are going extinct. The SH-130 toll road around Austin lacks booths. Your car/plates get scanned and your account get charged. No account? They mail you a bill. EZ Pass on the East Coast is cave man technology.

          • 0 avatar
            Sceptic

            So they send a bill if you take the toll road? What about out of state plates? Rental cars? Borrowed cars? Foreigners? Dirty plates?

            I had one of these nasty surprise toll bills once in my state. Apparently mistakenly taken a toll road going parallel to normal highway. $5 toll + $11 “service charge”! WTF?!

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Tylanner

          At this point, toll roads with toll booths are very much the exception. Most have either done away with them entirely in favor of transponders and pay-by-mail, or they have added high speed tolling lanes so you don’t have to slow down at all.

          This would be a nice little touch if it works with the local system, but I wouldn’t pay extra for it. But since it probably costs Audi nearly nothing, why not?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      For states like Maine where a huge amount of the traffic is from out of state, it makes for a nice cash cow. You just give the locals a nice discount, and rape the tourists. Seems to work for Florida too.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Putting toll technology in cars will result in more toll roads being created.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    “E-ZPass, QuickPass, SunPas FasTrak, TxTag, and every other electronic collection measure require that you adhere a card or unsightly hunk of plastic to your vehicle’s windshield”

    -or purchase a license plate frame with the integrated transponder.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I didn’t even know you could get a license plate transponder for Sunpass… but you can. Sadly its a FRONT plate which is even uglier then the little card or box stuck to the windshield.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I have transponders for Washington state’s Good To Go system in all of my cars. I can’t say they bother me, because I mount them immediately to the right of the rearview mirror mount, where I can’t see them at all in normal driving because the mirror obscures them. I wonder if this integrated system will have the ability to switch between HOV mode (where I’m not charged for HOT lanes) and normal mode like my transponders do.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Likewise I’ve always been able to locate the I-Pass up and behind the rear view mirror so that I really don’t see it unless I look for it. Some of my cars even have a strip of tint at the top of the windshield that obscures the unit from outside as well.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        We can’t obscure them from outside because the cops are looking for the presence or absence of the telltale red HOV mode strip, but I’m fine with that as long as the transponder doesn’t block my vision from inside.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I keep my EZ-Pass in the console compartment, and only take it out and put it on the dashboard when I am at a toll booth. Sure, it slides around a bit when on the dash, but I do not have to look at it all the time this way. If I drove toll roads every day, I imagine I would have to mount it more permanently.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Same here. I refuse to attach that eyesore.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Since I don’t use the Ohio Turnpike that often, I have a little mesh pouch for my E-ZPass which has a bungee strap which goes around the rearview mirror. (Got the E-ZPass before a drive to the Twin Cities via the Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, and the Illinois Tollway system, but the toll savings with the transponder is worth the $9 per year in usage fees, and as luck would have it, my route to work will be under construction for the next several years beginning sometime this year, with the Turnpike another way into downtown Toledo via I-280; after fifteen round-trips on the Turnpike in a month, the E-ZPass fees are waived.) It’s called the EZTOLL pouch.

      Despite my mirror being a little lower than usual because of the lane-departure camera, I’ve never had a mis-read. When I’m not using it, the whole stays in the foil bag in the glovebox.

      Now if Gentex could produce a mirror that didn’t look like the facial expression of a clown on crack…!

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “However, a better solution would probably be to have some cash on hand, or maybe pick up one of those ugly boxes used for electronic toll collection.”

    Better have plenty of cash here in Illinois where the the cash option is twice as expensive as the transponder. I always wonder about the people I see swinging off to the toll booth lanes. Not only are they having to stop to pay, they’re getting burned on the price. Do they not have a credit card to fund the I-Pass, or are they paranoid about being tracked? Even out-of-staters can skip the booth and pay online later.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Are they starting to get rid of the physical booths which are off to the side of the ORT readers?

      I love how everything in Illinois just MOVES, with few left-lane bandits or folks who are otherwise following some underposted numbers on a sign as if their lives depended on it! Actual LANE DISCIPLINE..who knew!

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    A. All toll booths have disappeared in Oz so it will eventually happen in the USA.
    B. There will be more toll roads because taxing fuel doesn’t reap revenue from electric cars.
    C. If the integration with the infotainment system includes a display of costs then I am in.

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