Tollway Approves $ 44 Million Software Contract

Illinois’ software toll system that processes all I-PASS transactions goes unnoticed except when something goes wrong, as in 2007 and 2008, when problems caused many customers to receive late notices of violation and expensive.

This is one of the reasons why a six-year, $ 44 million contract with Chicago-based Accenture LLP to operate the electronic toll software raised questions from toll highway managers before it was launched. ‘they didn’t approve it on Thursday.

The other reason was skepticism from competitor Xerox, which was one of four companies shortlisted for contract award.

Xerox has more experience operating software for electronic toll systems in the United States, while Accenture’s expertise lies primarily in Portugal, company officials said.

Toll administrators said they spent months reviewing the companies’ proposals and Accenture’s flexibility to meet future needs made the difference. For example, in interviews with companies, technicians were asked to program a method to track colored transponders, which could be a new product down the line, said Shauna Whitehead, head of corporate systems. .

“Accenture could program the field right away… others struggled,” she said. Whitehead added that the company’s work in Portugal was with an open system that mirrors that of the Illinois toll highway.

Accenture will use SAP enterprise software to manage approximately $ 1 billion in annual transactions made by more than 1.4 million drivers per day.

For I-PASS users, the change could eventually lead to the use of smartphones instead of transponders to pay tolls, the introduction of kiosks in many places where drivers could use cash to add of value to their accounts and to a more interactive website, Whitehead said.

“Does it have to be a six-year contract?” Libertyville director Mark Peterson asked.

At least two years are required to switch from the current supplier to Electronic Transactions Consultants Corp. to Accenture, Whitehead replied. ETCC’s contract with the toll highway is expected to be renewed next year for around $ 5 million so it can update the new company on the system.

Administrative confusion and communication problems between providers delayed the issuance of offense notices when the toll motorway first deployed the I-PASS system. This caused grief to several drivers who received exorbitant bills in the mid to late 2000s.

“I hope we don’t have the same problems as at the start of the road toll,” said General Manager Kristi Lafleur.

Accenture’s base contract proposal, less contingency fees, was $ 41 million and Xerox’s was $ 35.4 million.

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