SunPass is an electronic toll collection system within the U.S. state of Florida. It was created by the Florida Department of Transportation's Office of Toll Operations, now a division of Florida's Turnpike, in 1999. The system utilizes windshield-mounted RFID transponders manufactured by TransCore and lane equipment designed by companies including TransCore, SAIC, and Raytheon. SunPass is fully interoperable with E-Pass (from the Central Florida Expressway Authority), O-Pass (from Osceola County, which has been folded into E-Pass), LeeWay (from Lee County toll bridges) and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) toll roads.
|Industry||Electronic toll collection|
|Florida, Georgia, North Carolina|
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 $19.99 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. 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 will be detached from a different capacitor, breaking the internal circuitry and preventing the use of the sticker if it is torn away from glass. Some online forum users also claim the sticker can be simply taped to a windshield for temporary use.
SunPass, like the other related ETC systems in Florida, was not initially compatible with systems outside of Florida. The federal MAP-21 transportation bill passed in 2012 required all states to have interoperable road tolling systems by October 1, 2016, but this deadline has been missed.
SunPass is currently not compatible with E-ZPass, but announced in 2012 plans to eventually become interoperable. As a step towards this, a phase-out of older battery-powered SunPass transponders was completed at the end of 2015; new batteryless models can work with tolling equipment in other states.
SunPass was introduced on April 24, 1999, and by October 1 of the same year, more than 100,000 SunPass transponders had been sold.
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. 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 if they opt-in 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.
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. On November 12, 2014, interoperability agreement was made with Georgia's Peach Pass, allowing SunPass holders to utilize the I-85 Express lanes and any future toll roads or lanes in the state.
Use of SunPass in open road tollingEdit
Florida's Turnpike Enterprise converted the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, the Sawgrass Expressway, and the Veterans Expressway to open road tolling, utilizing the SunPass transponders, in September 2010, February 2011, April 2014, and June 2014 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. 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. 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.
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