SunPass

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SunPass is an electronic toll collection system in use by the State of Florida and was originally created by the Florida Department of Transportation's Florida's Turnpike. SunPass customers benefit from an average of a 25¢ discount on most tolls.

The system uses Amtech active RFID windshield-mounted transponders manufactured by TransCore along with lane equipment designed by several companies including SAIC, TransCore, and Raytheon.

SunPass is fully interoperable with E-Pass (from the Central Florida Expressway Authority), O-Pass (operated by Osceola County; operations have been absorbed by E-Pass), LeeWay (from Lee County toll bridges) and Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) toll roads.

Design[edit]

SunPass-Only toll lanes on most toll roads in Florida allow a vehicle to proceed through the tollbooth at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h). This is a safety guideline, not a technological limitation, and violation may be subject to a speeding ticket and associated fine. Most mainline toll barriers on the Turnpike system have been, or are currently being reconstructed with Open-Road Tolling (ORT) SunPass-only lanes that handle highway speeds. The mainline toll barriers have dedicated lanes capable of full-speed automatic toll collection at up to 65 mph (105 km/h); however, E-Pass-Only lanes in the Central Florida Expressway Authority system have a speed limit of 35 mph (56 km/h). Most toll booths in the Orlando area have already upgraded to this open road tolling technology.

SunPass portable (hard case) transponders can be transferred between vehicles without damaging the transponder. The original transponders operate on battery power to communicate with toll barrier equipment and to operate audible and visual indications of toll paid, toll low, battery low, and so forth. The Type IIe transponder, an updated version of the SunPass portable, requires no batteries, but does not have indicator lights or audible beeps. SunPass portable transponders are sold for $25.00 plus sales tax to customers who prefer the portability offered by the transponder. Customers must establish a minimum opening account of $10.00 to fund their tolls. Unused toll fees are only refunded if the user closes the account or takes advantage of a money-back guarantee.

SunPass Mini sticker RFID passive transponders, about the size of a credit card, operate on the energy emitted by toll barrier detectors, thus requiring no battery and providing no indicators. The Mini went on sale on July 1, 2008 at $4.99. SunPass Mini, unlike its predecessor, must be mounted on the glass windshield of the vehicle to work properly and, once applied, generally cannot be removed from a windshield without destroying the pass unless a delicate process making use of heat from a blow-dryer or the sun is used to loosen the adhesive before carefully removing the sticker and reapplying it to a different windshield, after which the customer must update the vehicle description on the SunPass website. The SunPass Mini sticker will not work on motorcycle windshields as they are not made of glass.[1] Currently, only the Type IIe transponder and SunPass Mini sticker are being sold.

The Sunpass Mini or E-Pass sticker can be used as a portable device, provided it is affixed to a small square of glass instead of a windshield. According to the patent for the device, the sticker was specifically designed such that if removed, among other things, a capacitor (number 66 in the patent) will be detached from a different capacitor (number 64), breaking the internal circuitry and preventing the use of the sticker if it is torn away from glass.[2] Some online forum users also claim the sticker can be simply taped to a windshield for temporary use.[3]

SunPass, like the other related ETC systems in Florida, is currently not compatible with E-ZPass or most other ETC systems outside of Florida. However, in 2012, SunPass announced plans to make their system interoperable with E-ZPass.[4]

As part of the Federal mandate requiring all states to have interoperable road tolling systems by October 1, 2016, older battery-powered transponders are being replaced with current batteryless models that can work with tolling equipment in other states' systems.[5] The only currently interoperable system is North Carolina's Quick Pass tolling system.[6]

History[edit]

SunPass was introduced on April 24, 1999, and by October 1 of the same year, more than 100,000 SunPass transponders had been sold.[7]

The Mini, introduced on July 1, 2008, was initially unavailable in the Orlando Metro area due to the lack of RFID readers on E-Pass on Orlando area tollways.[8] On September 1, 2008, the Mini became usable in all E-Pass lanes in Orlando, and the SunPass Mini is now sold at retail locations statewide.

In early 2009, all Easy Pay customers automatically became SunPass Plus customers and have the privilege of using their transponders to pay for airport parking at Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports. Customers can opt out of the SunPass Plus program.[9]

On July 29, 2013, SunPass made an interoperability agreement with North Carolina Quick Pass, allowing SunPass holders to utilize North Carolina's toll roads and lanes.[10]

Use of SunPass in open road tolling[edit]

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise converted the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike to open road tolling, utilizing the SunPass transponders, in September 2010 and in February of 2011 respectively, ceasing cash collection. This allows free-flowing movement on both toll roads, moving through toll gantries at the former toll plazas. Motorists without a SunPass will be billed with the "Toll-by-Plate" program.[11][12][13] Toll-by-Plate uses cameras and sends a bill to the registered owner of the vehicle. The bill consists of the toll and an administrative fee. For example: a $1.50 toll charge is assessed a $2.00 fee when the bill is sent in the mail, bringing the total to $3.50. If the toll is not paid by the due date, an additional $2.50 is charged, bringing the total to $6.00.[14] If the person fails to pay the toll and accompanying fees at all, the person would be fined $100 plus the tolls owed; in some cases, court costs, points against the driver's license, and the suspension of the license and registration would also be levied.[15]

Accepted locations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "South Florida". Topic Galleries. Sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2010-02-19. [dead link]
  2. ^ "US Patent 6121880". 
  3. ^ "Discussion". 
  4. ^ Tim Aten (4 June 2012). "In the Know: Florida's SunPass soon to be interoperable with E-ZPass in 14 states". Naples News. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Michael Turnbell (1 August 2013). "SunPass to replace oldest transponders". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Chad Huff (29 July 2013). "SunPass Welcomes North Carolina Quick Pass Motorists to Florida Toll Roads". FDOT. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Florida's Turnpike 50 Year Celebration" (PDF). Florida Department of Transportation. 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  8. ^ "Sun Pass vs Sun Pass Mini". City-Data.com. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  9. ^ "SunPass Plus Airport Parking". SunPass.com. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  10. ^ "North Carolina’s Quick Pass and Florida’s SunPass Now Function As One". Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. July 29, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  11. ^ Selmon Expressway Converts to All-Electronic Tolling Sept. 17
  12. ^ Selmon Expressway Prepares for September 2010 Conversion to All-Electronic Tolling
  13. ^ Kamm, Grayson (January 14, 1976). "Bye bye, toll booths: Selmon Expressway to stop taking cash". WTSP. 
  14. ^ Turnbell, Michael (February 14, 2011). "Turnpike to stop taking cash on Homestead Extension Feb. 19". Sun-Sentinel. 
  15. ^ SunPass: "Violations - SunPass Customer"

External links[edit]