The California Transportation Foundation (CTF) this month named the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) as its Organization of the Year as part of the foumdation's 32nd annual Transportation Awards.
Formerly known as the Trannys, the CTF Transportation Awards recognize excellence in California transportation for 2020 across all modes, from all regions of the state, from both the public and private sector, and recognize project teams including all major partners and contractors.
For the Organization of the Year award, the CTF noted BATA’s transition to all-electronic tolling at the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Just as it did for countless enterprises around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic literally changed the face of BATA’s business model. At midnight on March 20, 2020, Bay Area toll collectors left their booths for the last time.
Forced to adjust on the fly to an all-electronic environment, BATA got by with the help of its partners, in particular Caltrans and Conduent Inc. Caltrans owns and operates the toll bridges and employed a toll collection staff numbering almost 250 people. Conduent operates the Bay Area’s FasTrak customer service center under contract with BATA.
As the pandemic set in, BATA first adapted its existing toll violation system to begin issuing no-penalty toll notices to customers who did not already have FasTrak accounts, while also beginning an all-out sprint to design, install, test and implement a true all-electronic tolling system.
“We had a small window, but BATA and its partners rang in the new year with complete all-electronic tolling,” said Andrew Fremier, MTC's and BATA's Deputy Executive Director for Operations. “We are still making improvements in regard to customer service, and it’s a work in progress, but we are getting there.”
BATA is now on track to remove the old toll booths and begin true high-speed, open-road tolling at the Bay Area’s state-owned toll bridges as early as 2023.
Several other Bay Area programs and projects also have been nominated, with the winners revealed during the CTF Transportation Awards, a virtual event on May 27, 2021 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. Nominees include:
Operational Efficiency Program of the Year Finalist
- San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge Maintenance Training Facility: Caltrans District 4
Structure Project of the Year Finalist
- U.S. 101 Deck Replacement at Alemany Circle: Caltrans District 4; Myers & Sons Construction, LLC.; Silverado Contractors, Inc.; The Civic Edge
Bus Transit Project of the Year Finalist
- East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project (TEMPO): AC Transit; City of Oakland Dept. of Transportation; Parsons Corp.; City of San Leandro; WSP USA; L. Luster & Associates; Caltrans
Public Outreach Program of the Year Finalist
- "Tempo" Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): Public Outreach & Community Engagement AC Transit; L. Luster & Associates; Lowe Consulting Group; City of Oakland; City of San Leandro; Parsons
- U.S. 101 Deck Replacement at Alemany Circle: Myers and Sons Construction, LLC., Caltrans District 4; The Civic Edge
Conventional State Highway Project of the Year Finalist
- State Route 12-State Route 113 Roundabout: Caltrans District 4; Solano Transportation Authority; Omni-Means, Ltd.; O.C. Jones & Sons Inc.
Local Street Project of the Year Finalist
- State Route 116 Llano Road Safety Project: Caltrans; County of Sonoma; Ghilotti Construction Company