I was driving across the Whitestone Bridge headed to Queens, NYC last night, and as I reached for my EZ Pass, (I don’t have it mounted on the windshield so as to not attract attention to it when parking in various places) the thought crossed my mind that it would have been great to just wave my BB Storm at the reader and travel on through.
I checked and the I-Phone does not have an app for tolls (like EZ Pass or Sun Pass) either. If Apple does not have an app then there’s no way Blackberry would have one. It would be a great thing to have however, and I can come up with many uses for a smartphone application to be used a toll booth throughout the United States. A few ideas:
#1 – You would be never to have to wait in the cash lane wherever you are driving in the United States. The different systems would be easy to integrate and funnel credit back to individual states and toll systems.
#2 – There would be no need to have the ugly EZ Pass or other box adhered to the windshield (another reason I don’t mount mine).
#3 – It would be easy to see how much is in your account without logging on (who does this anyway?). And can you possibly remember the tolls you are being charged for a month plus after it occurred when you read your statement – if you read your statement in the first place? You also would have an easy way to see how much you are spending in tolls. Expense reports including tolls would be infinitely easier to update for business people as well.
#4 – The need for toll takers would be even further reduced. At some point in the not too distant future nearly everyone will have a smartphone whereas not everyone has an EZ Pass or other electronic toll pass device (although I can never understand why as there are incentives for using the EZ Pass in the form of lower toll rates.
#5 – The amount of waste created by physical EZ Pass et al boxes would be eliminated.
Of course there are a few potential drawbacks in my scheme mainly in the form of loss of privacy. GPS would identify where you are at any time and it would be hooked into your profile (as opposed to a Magellan or Garmin or auto based GPS system). But it seems to me that people are already trackable already to a large degree – much more than they realize.
I’ve also been thinking about the ability for a speeding ticket to be sent to people who average more than the posted speed limit (this has been known to happen even to me unknowingly of course), by a certain percentage. That could happen now with EZ Pass but it might be considered circumstantial evidence. With an integrated smartphone toll application I think that excuse might be less available.
But I will raise my hand and say I’m ready to be first in line if someone creates a smartphone toll application. Even if it starts with EZ Pass and is not compatible with other systems initially eventually that would change as well.
Would you use an app like this if it existed?