Tollway planning to kick the buckets of old coin collection system

  • The end of an era looms as the tollway looks to replace its coin collection machines.

    The end of an era looms as the tollway looks to replace its coin collection machines. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 4/24/2015 12:48 PM
Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Shana Whitehead's name.

The Illinois tollway is expecting to retire its ubiquitous change buckets and replace them in a year of so with updated machines that take credit cards.

Most of the agency's automatic coin machines, which collect $14 million annually, are 20 years or older. The manufacturer went out of business, and spare parts are becoming difficult to find as breakdowns or failures increase.


"They're well past their useful life. It's very old technology," Business Systems Chief Shana Whitehead said at a Thursday meeting.

The agency is likely to switch to automatic toll payment machines that resemble bank machines but with openings for coins.

The replacements would take paper bills, accept credit cards, issue receipts and offer a touch screen to display rates. A connection to customer service would be provided, and interactions would be videotaped.

The move comes at a cost -- the machines could cost $100,000 each, according to estimates.

Not every tollway exit or entrance uses the coin machines. The system has 507 collection points overall with 102 buckets.

Planners intend to ask vendors to submit proposals this summer.

After board approval of a product, a rollout could start between summer and fall of 2016.

Other toll authorities that have used automatic toll payment machines include the Indiana Toll Road, the Ohio Turnpike and the New York state Bridge Authority.

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