Manufacturing, Technology, and Travel & Tourism

Auto supplier partners on 'universal' toll road transponder

January 22, 2016
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Gentex headquarters Zeeland
Zeeland-based Gentex, founded in 1974, is a diversified maker of products for the automotive, aviation and fire industries. Courtesy Gentex

Toll roads can be a pain for drivers, especially when they regularly traverse multiple toll roads on a regular basis.

That’s why Gentex in Zeeland is teaming up with Nashville, Tennessee-based TransCore to create a new product that will enable travel across "all U.S. toll roads" without the need for multiple windshield toll tags and toll accounts.

Gentex and TransCore have signed an exclusive agreement to integrate TransCore's Universal Toll Module technology, or UTM, into Gentex's electronic rearview mirrors.

Gentex said this month that the interior mirror is the optimal location for a vehicle-integrated toll transponder, and it eliminates the need to affix multiple toll tags to the windshield.

Gentex said its vehicle-integrated solution "simplifies and expedites" local, regional and national travel, allowing automakers to "seamlessly integrate" toll collection into the car.

“UTM offers the new car owner the ability to enjoy a hassle-free driving experience using managed lanes and toll roads across the country,” said Steve Downing, SVP and CFO, Gentex.

Downing compared the new product to other integrated technologies like navigation systems, Gentex’s HomeLink and satellite radio.

Currently, more than 75 percent of new-car registrations are in states with toll roads, and more than 50 million drivers access these roads each year, according to Gentex.

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21. The act calls for the development of a nationally interoperable electronic toll collection system by October 2016.

Gentex said the UTM-based product provides transportation agencies with an interoperability solution without "costly infrastructure changes to the thousands of miles of toll lanes throughout the country."

TransCore is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roper Technologies, a diversified technology company.

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