Electronic toll management

  • US 8,660,890 B2
  • Filed: 02/06/2009
  • Issued: 02/25/2014
  • Est. Priority Date: 02/21/2003
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A computerized method comprising:

  • providing a website configured to enable users to open an account with a toll management system for payment of toll fees;

    electronically receiving, from a user associated with a vehicle and through the user interacting with the website, a request to open a toll payment account and a selection of a preferred toll fee payment method;

    generating an account record for the user that includes the selected preferred toll fee payment method and storing the account record in a billing database;

    electronically detecting, through use of a vehicle sensor, a transaction event representing an interaction between the vehicle and a toll facility, the transaction event corresponding to the vehicle traveling a particular distance defined as a distance between a starting point and an ending point on a toll road;

    in response to detecting the transaction event, using a camera to capture an image of the vehicle;

    electronically determining a license plate number and a state for the vehicle based on the captured image of the vehicle;

    electronically selecting, based on the determined state, a state vehicle registration system from among multiple different candidate state vehicle registration systems, each candidate state vehicle registration system being a computer system of a public motor vehicle department affiliated with a state;

    electronically accessing the selected state vehicle registration system;

    electronically searching public motor vehicle records stored by the selected state vehicle registration system using the license plate number as a key for searching the public motor vehicle records;

    electronically identifying a public motor vehicle record as corresponding to the vehicle based on the searching of public motor vehicle records stored by the selected state vehicle registration system;

    using the identified public motor vehicle record to electronically search the billing database to identify the account record of the user associated with the vehicle;

    accessing, from the account record, the preferred toll fee payment method selected by the user;

    calculating a toll fee for the transaction event based on the particular distance traveled by the vehicle on the toll road; and

    requesting payment of the toll fee corresponding to the transaction event from the user in accordance with the accessed preferred toll fee payment method selected by the user.

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