During a regular weekly staff meeting in December of 1988, discussions centered on the results of a recent turnpike customer survey conducted for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. The purpose of the survey was to uncover ways to improve the public's perception of turnpikes. Results of the survey indicated turnpike drivers did not mind paying the tolls as much as they objected to having to stop to pay them. And, so, in an effort to eliminate the necessity of vehicles stopping to pay tolls while traveling Oklahoma's ten turnpikes, PIKEPASS was born.
PIKEPASS is an electronic automated toll collection (ATC) and automatic vehicle identification (AVI) system that allows for non-stop collection of turnpike tolls at reduced fares to turnpike patrons on Oklahoma's eight rural and two urban turnpikes. PIKEPASS accounts are setup by the prepayment of turnpike tolls ($40 minimum per pass). PIKEPASS applications are processed through mail orders and on-site at PIKEPASS Centers located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
A PIKEPASS attaches to the windshield of a vehicle with adhesive strips. Each one is a radio transceiver with a unique identification code representing the vehicle and account for which it is issued. Entrances and PIKEPASS designated exit lanes on all Oklahoma turnpikes are fitted with an antenna that emits radio frequency waves over the lane. As a PIKEPASS travels past an antenna, its unique code is reflected back to the antenna. The code is then transmitted to an RF Module that routes the transaction to a reader. The reader verifies the status of the PIKEPASS with the main host computer. Once the main computer "talks" to the reader, the reader records the transaction and approves or denotes a violation. Video enforcement cameras monitor PIKEPASS lanes and photograph the license tags of vehicles illegally using the designated PIKEPASS lanes. Violators are notified by mail and given the opportunity to make restitution.
Non-stop travel saves each PIKEPASS user time and money. Increased safety and convenience also result from the reduced traffic congestion at toll plazas. Air pollution is decreased by reducing the number of vehicles idling and emitting pollutants.
Fourteen months after program inception, 111,094 PIKEPASS devices had been issued. In February of 1992, 31.85 percent of all toll transactions on Oklahoma turnpikes were generated by PIKEPASS. PIKEPASS usage on an urban turnpike in Oklahoma City is 60 percent of the total number of transactions. Figures from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol denote only one accident during the first 15 months of operation (through March 25, 1992) in a designated PIKEPASS lane. No accidents in PIKEPASS lanes occurred in the first year of the program.