Barrier toll system

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The Garden State Parkway northbound approaching the Cape May barrier toll plaza in New Jersey. At the time of the photograph, the toll plaza had a 70-cent toll for cars.

A barrier toll system (also known as an open toll system) is a method of collecting tolls on highways using toll barriers at regularly spaced intervals on the toll road's mainline.[1] Motorists are typically charged a flat-rate toll, unlike toll roads with a ticket system where the toll rate is determined by the distance traveled or number of exits passed. Some highways use coin-drop machines on toll plazas. For toll roads whose ramps have no toll plazas, it is possible to exit the toll road before the mainline toll plaza, use local streets to bypass it, then re-enter the highway via an interchange on the other side of the toll plaza. Thus it is possible to drive on some barrier toll roads while paying less or not paying at all; this is the basis of the "open" descriptor.[1]

There are two main methods by which planners may prevent such toll evasion. One method is to simply remove highway entrances after and exits before toll plazas, so that detouring around toll plazas becomes such an inconvenience that most users will not bother. Another method is to place toll plazas on exits before and entrances after mainline toll barriers, so that all users will always have to pay at least one toll, regardless of entry or exit point.[1] The second method is sometimes called a "barrier-ramp" system; it can be deemed open or closed, respectively, depending upon whether it is consistently applied to all entrances and exits, or only some of them.[1] Examples of the second method may be found on the Everett Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Autostrada dei Laghi.

The barrier toll system can create more congestion than the ticket system, since it forces all motorists to stop for several toll plazas each time they travel down the highway. Open road tolling can alleviate this issue by allowing most users to proceed through the barrier at full speed.

Highways where used

The following is a list of some toll roads that use the barrier system:

Highways that formerly used the barrier system


  1. ^ a b c d Schneider, Suzanne B. (1985). Toll Financing of U.S. Highways. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Budget Office, Congress of the United States. p. 45. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  2. ^ "History". Maine Turnpike Authority. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Turnpikes | NH Department of Transportation". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "Garden State Parkway". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Toll information for all turnpikes, toll roads, bridges and tunnels | Tollguru". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "Interstate 95 - AARoads - Delaware". AARoads. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "Atlantic City Expressway". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Morris, Jeff (2019-01-15). "Time to pay up: West Virginia Turnpike tolls double to $4". WCHS. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  9. ^ "Toll plaza demolition to close small part of Dallas North Tollway in Plano". Dallas News. December 31, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  10. ^ "Cashless Tolls: New tolling tech to come to New Rochelle and Spring Valley on Thruway". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Electronic Toll Collection FAQs". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  12. ^ Jimenez, Abdel (February 25, 2021). "Illinois Tollway Will Permanently End Cash Toll Collections Nearly a Year After Switching to All-Electronic Payments". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2021.