Stan Weiss Talks Tolling, COVID-19’s Industry Impact, and Technology Trends
It’s been eight months since Gannett Fleming acquired Traffic Technologies Inc. (TTI) and formed a new tolling industry partnership. To get a pulse check on how our alliance is progressing amidst rapid industry change, I sat down with my colleague and fellow tolling leadership team member—Gannett Fleming Vice President and TTI Founder Stan Weiss.
Keith: Wow, October 2019 seems like so long ago in our current climate. How has the Gannett Fleming experience been so far?
Stan: A whirlwind! For 20 years, Michael Kolb and I diligently worked with our team to grow TTI’s reputation as a comprehensive tolling advisory firm. With the acquisition last Fall, we realized that change is inevitable for employees, and to a certain extent, for our clients as well.
Early on, we outlined a plan to help guide all stakeholders through the acquisition process and minimize adverse outcomes. From the TTI employee perspective, the transition to Gannett Fleming has been seamless. All existing TTI staff were quickly engaged on current projects—providing them with a level of comfort and our partners with strong business continuity. We met regularly with our clients in one-on-one settings to address any concerns and reinforce our commitment. At the end of the day, we want to be known for providing high-end consulting services to owners as their trusted advisor.
Keith: What has been your focus since the acquisition?
Stan: I’ve been developing a growth strategy for both the California and Florida markets, where our approach includes three critical components:
- Provide a high level of service to our existing Gannett Fleming/TTI clients.
- Identify opportunities for innovation.
- Find and hire the best talent.
Keith: Where do you see the tolling industry five years from now?
Stan: COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the tolling industry. While no one can predict the future, we must all adapt to this new reality. COVID-19 will have lasting implications on how we work, where we live, and what modes of transportation we use. Gannett Fleming is well-positioned to be agile and prepared for multiple scenarios as this fluid situation unfolds. One example is our evolving expertise in new technology applications for the tolling world.
If you follow industry trends, you know the liquid fuels tax continues to serve as an unreliable funding source and will likely fade away. To compensate, we advise owners through this transition by introducing emerging technologies such as Road User Charging (RUC) and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), a process to charge motorists based on distance traveled. Urban Tolling and Congestion Pricing are two other trends to watch, in addition to the Connected/Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) space.
Keith: Can you expand on what you are doing with CAV and future-focused technologies?
Stan: Sure. Joining Gannett Fleming allows TTI to pioneer advancements in the tolling industry, as we now have access to leading-edge technology in one place. Gannett Fleming already has experience working with transportation agencies in asset management, big data, geographic information systems, and CAV.
For example, transportation planners, engineers, and technologists within Gannett Fleming’s Advanced Mobility Group are working with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to prepare for Highway Automation Readiness. We can immediately use this policy expertise to help our existing tolling clients prepare for the future.
Embracing Gannett Fleming’s culture of innovation has been a real post-acquisition success story for us. Being a trusted advisor means helping to equip our clients for what’s coming by understanding technology trends, and that’s an area where we excel.
Stan Weiss has worked in the tolling industry for more than 30 years. His work has ranged from lane-level hardware/software design, to back-office requirements and development, system assessment, viability studies, strategic planning, operation, policy, specifications, and project oversight. Stan guides clients in all aspects of transportation agency work involving the development, implementation, and operation of modern toll systems.