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Driving Toward Sustainable Cities: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with cashless tolling

This is the first blog post in an ongoing series highlighting our commitment to the spirit of sustainable cities ­­– those communities, companies and leaders developing new processes and technologies to address environmental impacts, social equity, public safety and transportation demands around the world. 


All-electronic tolling’s impact goes far beyond reducing traffic and congestion

Greenhouse gases, those byproducts of fuel combusted by vehicles, trap energy in the atmosphere, accelerate climate change and contribute to a variety of human health issues and other environmental impacts. Once emitted, greenhouse gases are largely here to stay – some for up to 100 years, according to the EPA.

Along with highway infrastructure expansion and innovative automotive technologies, tolling authorities and other transportation agencies play a key role in the reduction of motor vehicle emissions. Increasingly, municipalities are addressing the root causes of the type of stop-and-go congestion that impairs commuters, impedes supply chain logistics, and generates atmospheric pollution. And recent federal legislation may provide much-needed support. Passage of both the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law opens the door for greater federal momentum behind clean transportation and energy innovation in the form of tax credits and procurement programs.

When toll roads go cashless

Cash tolls slow down traffic and introduce a compounding problem — cash operations require armored- and employee-vehicles, staff presence and the building and maintenance of large, physical facilities.

Modernizing road-usage charging to All-Electronic Tolling (AET) generates big wins for tolling authorities, transportation agencies and motorists.

At Conduent Transportation, we work with agencies to design, deliver and operate mission-critical mobility and payment solutions that automate, streamline and optimize transportation operations.

One of our models reveals that cashless tolling can prevent on average nearly two pounds of carbon monoxide emissions per transaction, assuming vehicles moving at eight miles per hour through a one-mile toll queue. In the case of two pilot programs modeled from clients in New Jersey and California, more than 36 million pounds of carbon monoxide were estimated to be avoided.

A state-wide tolling agency in the U.S. partnered with Conduent Transportation for an AET deployment in 2021 that resulted in the conversion of 150 miles of turnpike to cashless systems, replacing 12 large toll plaza facilities into free-flow gantries and eliminating stop-and-go congestion for travelers and commuters. 

In addition to emission reductions, electronic systems allow for non-rounded toll rate increments, so agencies can adjust tolls by pennies to meet social needs like cost-of-living without having to plan for “breaking” larger denominations of currency. Cashless tolling gantries also provide relief from sprawling toll parks and facilities that can consume natural beauty and resources.

Ready to discover how Conduent Transportation can help your tolling operations and facilities alleviate congestion and harmful emissions while optimizing transactions? You can read more about how Conduent Transportation is helping transform tolling facilities and solving transportation challenges around the globe by visiting us at, or contact us.

About the Author

Scott Hooton is director of account management at Conduent Transportation. He has more than 25 years of project and operations management both as a system integrator/operator and a private concessionaire. He has worked throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.