‘Next generation’ of tollway transponders is ... a sticker. Here’s what you need to know

This year marks the start of the Illinois tollway’s transition to I-PASS sticker tags instead of the familiar hard-case transponder.

The new technology is cheaper and smaller than the traditional boxes, said officials, who plan a gradual roll-out of the “next generation” of toll collection devices. And unlike transponders, there will be no deposit fee.

The “tollway is continuing to adopt new tolling technology as it evolves, and I-PASS sticker tags mark the latest advance in toll collection,” Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse said.

“Sticker tags are being adopted by toll agencies across the country and by the Illinois tollway as they provide a convenient, reliable and less expensive travel experience for our customers.”

Here’s an overview of what’s next.

Q: When can I get a sticker?

A: By the end of January, I-PASS stickers should be available at customer service centers at the tollway’s headquarters and oases. Later on in February, I-PASS users should be able to request stickers at Jewel-Osco stores and Road Rangers, in the Rockford area, as well as online.

The tollway also plans to offer stickers at the Chicago Auto Show next month. More information will be available at

Q: Do I have to switch now?

A: There’s no rush. “Existing transponders will continue to work as designed on the tollway and our E-ZPass partners’ facilities. Customers will not be required to switch if they have a working transponder,” spokesman Dan Rozek said.

Q: What about traveling to other states?

A: “The introduction of I-PASS Sticker Tags is being done in coordination with other E-ZPass agencies and will ensure that beginning in 2024 our customers have continuity in service wherever they travel” Rozek said. E-ZPass members include 19 states and over 50 agencies.

Q: How does it work?

A: “I-PASS Sticker Tags use radio frequency identification (RFID). There is no battery and they last until you remove them from your vehicle,” he noted.

Q: What about the deposit on my existing transponder?

A: “The $10 transponder deposit will be transferred into I-PASS customers’ pre-paid toll accounts once a new I-PASS sticker tag is registered to the account,” Rozek said.

Q: Where do I put the sticker?

A: “Similar to transponders, I-PASS sticker tags should be placed on the windshield at least an inch from the roof line and from the rearview mirror post. When customers order or receive sticker tags, instructions for placing the tags will be included,” he explained.

Q: Can I move the sticker from car to car?

A: No. If you peel it off, the sticker stops working. The devices “are like your license plate or city sticker, and are not designed to be moved between vehicles. Because of the reduced cost to the tollway, I-PASS sticker tags will be available without a deposit required, so customers can obtain sticker tags for each vehicle tied to the same I-PASS account at no additional charge,” Rozek said.

Q: Can I throw out my old transponder?

A: “I-PASS customers will be asked to dispose of transponders in an environmentally sound way, not discarded in the trash. The tollway will have a link on its website indicating businesses and recycling centers that will take used transponders. Customers also can return transponders to customer service centers,” Rozek said.

Q: Is sticker technology new?

A: California introduced stickers back in 2019 and numerous states are now offering them to drivers.

You should know

Speaking of the Chicago Auto Show, it opens at McCormick Place on Saturday, Feb. 10 and runs through Monday, Feb. 19. Hours most days are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults. Seniors aged 62 and older and children ages 4 through 12 will pay $12. To learn more or purchase tickets, go to

One more thing

Metra BNSF riders won’t be able to buy tickets from station agents effective Monday. The commuter railroad has installed new ticket vending machines at its busiest stations, including Naperville and Lisle, and passengers also can use the Ventra app. Ticket sales from station agents downtown and on all other lines will cease Feb. 1.

Traditional hard-case I-PASS transponders will be gradually phased out starting this year. Daily Herald File Photo
The Illinois tollway is transitioning to a sticker tag system that will replace the traditional transponders in vehicles. Daily Herald File Photo
Stickers, such as this one used by the California-based Transportation Corridor Agencies, are debuting this year for Illinois tollway I-PASS customers. Courtesy of Transportation Corridor Agencies
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