The New York Thruway State Authority (NYSTA) and Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate, Inc (HELP) of Phoenix, Arizona, are partnering to make interoperable their respective electronic clearance systems, E-ZPass for motorway toll collection and PrePass for weigh stations, port-of-entry facilities and agricultural interdiction. The trial project is taking place at E-ZPass locations throughout north-eastern North America and at HELP sites across the USA.

Based primarily on technological integration, the project will also see back office and administrative systems align to create more efficient billing and administration. The move is intended to bring closer the goal of ‘one truck, one transponder’.


The E-ZPass works by reading a transponder tag affixed to the windscreen of a vehicle as it passes through the tollgate. The gate rises automatically and the toll fee is credited from a pre-paid E-ZPass account. Cameras are in place at the gates to catch any violators.

PrePass allows commercial vehicles to pass rapidly through weigh stations. A mile before a station, Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) technology automatically weighs the vehicle while an Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) system reads a transponder on the vehicle’s windscreen. If there are no irregularities, a light signals the vehicle through immediately, eliminating delays.

Interoperability between NYSTA and HELP is based on the enhanced functionality of transponder technology from Mark IV IVHS, Inc, of Metuchen, New Jersey, which currently combines the E-ZPass with the TDMA protocol used for pre-clearance systems. ‘Fusion’ transponder technology extends the signalling on the vehicle transponder to include PrePass technology. The enhanced tag used in the pilot is called CVO Fusion.


ACS State and Local Solutions, of Washington DC, is the system integrator and operator of HELP’s PrePass system. It is also the customer service centre operator for the Thruway. Back office integration will therefore be achieved by an integration of these functions into a single programme, which will be called PrePassPlus.


A Super Account for all PrePassPlus customers using the Thruway will be set up and run by a third party. This provides administrative advantages and third-party management of electronic toll collection (ETC) will help the NYSTA enrol more truckers. There will be fewer transponders on truck windscreens and fewer bills sent in the mail. The option will also be available for commercial carriers to have post-paying accounts for the Thruway.


The HELP-NYSTA agreement enables participating carriers to use one transponder at nearly 200 weigh stations in 24 states and 400 toll facilities in seven states. It is hoped that the partnership will lead to further incremental functionality, such as increased border crossing efficiency or compatibility with other toll authorities.