Waste in Collecting Tolls


TxDOT to motorists: Pay up even if tolls are tiny

I've heard economists say that tolls roads are a very inefficient way of collecting taxes (you have to build tollbooths and hire people to collect tolls, etc.). Gas taxes, vehicle registration fees, even sales tax are more efficient collection methods.

Some states are addressing that with “Tolltags” or other automated methods that you can sign up for. I use a “Tolltag” for airport parking at DFW, which is very efficient for me (I barely have to stop and I get invoiced/billed automatically). Most toll automation schemes I've seen, such as “Open Road” tolling in Illinois give you the automated option but still have toll booths for those of us (say, from out of state) to stop and pay our 80 cents or whatever.

In the Dallas area, though, we have a new toll road, referenced in the article above. If you don't have a Tolltag, the state takes a picture of your license plate and mails you a bill. The state saved the money of building toll booths, but wow this seems like a very inefficient system.

The state is paying 30 cents to mail out a 25 cent bill to drivers. The driver then spends 39 cents to mail a check in. I'm not sure which is more wasteful, the state “forgetting” to add the $1 processing fee or having that processing fee (or the processing itself) to begin with. Also, with the current system, Texas cannot bill or collect from out-of-state drivers.

Such waste. I'm not endorsing him for President, but do you think “lean government” proponent Tom Vilsack could do a lot to promote lean thinking, waste reduction, and just plain common sense to government around the country?

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author's copyright.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleQuality is Free in Healthcare?
Next articleYour Lean Year in Review
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. I live in Iowa, Tom Vilsack’s home state, and he has been very supportive of Lean initiatives in state government. The efforts originated from the Iowa Business Council, which is made up of the CEO’s of the 20 largest companies in Iowa. Considerable improvements have beeen made in “paperwork” processes such as permitting, applications, and routinely scheduled work by the Lean advocates within both the business (on-loan resources) and government communities. Though the governor was not the initiator of the activity, he was certainly supportive, to the point that we are now concerned about the future of Lean at the statehouse due to the recent change in the governor’s office.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.