Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise Wins Prestigious 2020 President’s Award for Excellence and Technology Award from IBTTA

SEP 14, 2020
By: Bill Cramer @ IBTTA
Drone footage of the 2.25 mi. SunTrax Oval Track.

Today, during its Virtual 88th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) announced it has awarded Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)(link is external) the prestigious 2020 President’s Award for Excellence. IBTTA is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. The President’s Award is the top honor the international transportation association presents each year.

FTE was named the winner of the President’s Award for Excellence for its development of SunTrax, the state-of-the-art transportation technology research, development and testing center being developed by the Florida Department of Transportation and FTE.

FTE also won IBTTA’s 2020 Toll Excellence Award for Technology. This year, IBTTA presented seven awards acknowledging industry leaders implementing transportation projects worldwide focusing on environmental sustainability, advancement of emerging technologies, easing mobility and alleviating congestion for drivers, and the development of new transportation systems in rapidly growing areas.  

“FTE is the winner of this year’s President’s Award for Excellence and Toll Excellence Award for Technology for their SunTrax – Toll Technology Testing Center dedicated to the research, development, and testing of tolling and other emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments,” said Samuel Johnson, CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies and President of IBTTA. “FTE, along with the six other 2020 Toll Excellence Award winners, continues to implement systems and strategies that are revolutionizing transportation throughout the globe and helping lead the way in creating transportation systems to keep our customers moving safely and efficiently.”  

“The testing and research being conducted at the SunTrax facility are critical to providing mobility solutions for a growing Florida,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “This recognition highlights the department’s dedication to providing the safest, most innovative transportation system in the country.” 

“Toll authorities and industry partners demonstrate their continued leadership conceiving, developing and implementing programs and strategies that advance mobility, safety and efficiency for drivers around the world,” said David Machamer, Chair of IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Awards Committee and Assistant Executive Director, PIKEPASS and Toll Operations for the Oklahoma Turnpike. “Against historic, extraordinary circumstances this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these award winners continue to find ways to break new ground that ultimately will mean safer, more reliable and better experiences for our customers, the driving public.” 

Technology Award: Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)
Project Name: SunTrax – Toll Technology Testing Center

SunTrax is a state-of-the-art facility being developed by Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) dedicated to the research, development, and testing of tolling and other emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments.

Situated on 475 acres centrally located between Tampa and Orlando in Polk County, Florida, SunTrax is composed of a 2.25-mile-long oval test track around a 200-acre infield. The multi-lane track replicates typical Florida highway conditions, with a design speed of 70 mph.

SunTrax is being developed in two phases. The first phase of construction was completed in May 2019, and it included all the infrastructure needed for FTE to perform independent testing of both current and future toll technologies. This completed phase features the multi-lane oval track offering opportunities to test multiple technologies simultaneously. Also housed here is a LEED-Certified operations center featuring exceptional training and testing facilities with fiber-optic track connections.

On the multi-lane reversible track, there are four toll sites that mirror FTE’s existing field sites, which can also be adapted to test equipment from different vendors in a variety of scenarios.

SunTrax provides unprecedented access for simulations, relieving the need to close active lanes. Truck platooning, autonomous vehicles and toll transactions have been successfully conducted. Connected vehicles and infrastructure testing is vital to deliver holistic mobility solutions for all citizens by improving driver, cyclist, and pedestrian safety.

FTE has developed a robust and dynamic website (suntraxfl.com) in order to keep the tolling and automotive technology community updated with the latest news from SunTrax. The website shows photos and renderings of the facility and live feeds of the ongoing Phase 2 construction.

Phase 2 of the SunTrax program will develop the 200-acre infield inside the oval track into a center for the development of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies. SunTrax is one of only a few facilities in the world designed from the ground up specifically for CAV testing.

As a proving ground that is open for lease by private companies, the facility also addresses all the following key operational considerations:
• Safety of all users, visitors, and staff
• User needs for workshop spaces, specialty test equipment, data storage, communications, food service, etc.
• Management of user access between different areas and test sectors
• Overall site security and user privacy considerations
• Emergency services management

Learn more about SunTrax here.(link is external)

This year’s 2020 Toll Excellence Award recipients are:

•    Administration and Finance: North Texas Tollway Authority

•    Customer Service and Marketing Outreach: Washington State Department of Transportation

•    Social Responsibility: Illinois Tollway

•    Technology: Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)

•    Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance: E-470 Public Highway Authority

•    Private Sector Innovation Award: Egis 

•    Private Sector Innovation Award:  HNTB Corporation

Each year, IBTTA presents the Toll Excellence Awards to highlight the very best projects, innovations, and solutions from the international tolling industry.  The awards encourage the industry to share and celebrate new ideas and emerging practices in six categories: Administration and Finance; Customer Service and Marketing Outreach; Social Responsibility; Technology; Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance; and Private Sector Innovation.  

Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 21 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. For more information, visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.