Emovis is a world leader in road charging and free-flow tolling solutions and in 2012 needed a partner to work with on its solution for the Thames river crossing at Dartford. The Dartford crossing is one of the most frequently used river crossings in the UK with around 180,000 vehicles using the route daily. The online payment system went live in 2014 to replace pay kiosks, with the aim of keeping traffic moving on the busy route into and out of London. The free-flow electronic charging system, based on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), is known as the Dart Charge, and enables drivers to pay for their crossing by phone, text, online or in retail outlets.
As a free-flow tolled crossing, enforcement is a key element of the process and Emovis needed to partner with an organisation experienced in managing PCNs within the UK. Emovis wanted an enforcement solution that could seamlessly integrate with their tolling system and was capable of dealing with high transaction volumes and complicated legislative processes in a streamlined way, with minimal intervention. As Taranto is the market leader in PCN management, working with some of the largest issuing authorities, the partnership between the two companies is a natural fit.
As Emovis UK’s CEO, Neil Conway comments, “We enjoy working with Taranto and a strong trust between our two companies has developed over the years. We recognise that the Taranto team are experts in their field, which adds value to our free-flow tolling solution.”
With over 55 million crossings processed and over 2 million PCNs issued a year for Dartford, the Emovis and Taranto partnership needs to be robust and capable of handling high volumes. “This is a very successful relationship and Taranto plays a massive part in our achievements,” says Neil Conway.
QEII Dartford Bridge
Innovation and keeping the technology platform updated is also a key priority for Emovis, as maintaining a future-proof solution is one of the principles for their own software. Therefore, when Taranto introduced the cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) version of its solution, this was welcomed by Emovis, as it offered more scalability and flexibility.
Neil Conway says: “Taranto’s solution maintains its market leadership through innovation, for example, with the move to a cloud-based solution, which provides a more stable and secure system for our clients. As we are handling customer payment information, data security is critical.”
Flexibility and integration with standard industry applications is also important for Emovis. As part of the Emovis solution, there are several other IT platforms in place, such as the telecoms and ERP systems, and using a cloud-based platform allows the Taranto system to interface with these applications. Accountability and reporting facility is a client expectation, so the Taranto system integrates with business intelligence and reporting tools, which are used to provide extensive reports for clients.
Emovis appreciates the flexibility of the Taranto system, which enables it to adapt to changing client requirements. For example, when the client decided to issue warning letters prior to a PCN being issued, the Taranto system was easily adapted to this change. Other changes have been implemented over the years to improve the system, either prompted by Taranto’s experts or requested either by Emovis or the end-client, National Highways. These changes are facilitated much more easily using a cloud platform. As well as scalability and flexibility, important features for Emovis are the system resilience, support and disaster recovery offered by the Taranto system.
It is important for Emovis to work with a partner that is responsive and innovative. Emovis was one of the first companies to trial Taranto’s Fleet Bureau, which automates the Transfer of Liability for rental and lease vehicles, identifying the vehicle driver and transferring the PCN to the driver who incurred the fine. Fleet Bureau significantly reduces the turnaround time to issue a PCN to the correct driver, improving cashflow and cutting down on back-office administration.
The relationship between Emovis and Taranto is now well established and a proven success with the Dartford Crossing. Therefore, when Emovis bid for the Halton Council’s Mersey Gateway crossing, it made sense to work with Taranto again.
“Taranto has proven its ability to scale and adapt to new challenges, so we were confident that we could offer a tried and tested solution that meets the needs of the Mersey Gateway,” said Neil Conway.
The new Mersey Gateway bridge between Widnes and Runcorn opened in 2017 and together with the original Runcorn Silver Jubilee Bridge, which has been refurbished and is now also tolled, have seen over 131 million crossings, with the new free flow system reducing congestion and improving journey times. Toll payments are primarily through digital or automated channels which provides valuable data on usage trends, although there is still the option of in-person payments. Emovis operates the crossing scheme on behalf of Halton Borough Council.
Both the Dartford and Mersey crossing systems demonstrate that the partnership between Emovis and Taranto is capable of handling large volumes of traffic with millions of PCNs issued per year.
Mersey Gateway Bridge