By Miguel Ainsa

Know your paying customers well and your violators even better! This almost sounds like a line you’d hear in an old western classic movie. Actually, it is a credo to live by for tolling agencies.

Individuals who don’t pay their tolls are costly. This isn’t only because of the lack of revenue they should be providing to help maintain the funding of roads. There are also costs related to management and reputation.

As a provider of toll-based mobility solutions, this was concerning to us at Emovis. We were seeing first-hand how our tolling authority colleagues were being negatively impacted. The technology wasn’t adequate in terms allowing ease of payment. It was too easy for violators to evade the system.

We decided a few years ago that we needed to step up efforts to address this problem for the benefit of the industry. Thus, we collaborated with Abertis’ Innovation Lab, a program that promotes projects aimed at finding solutions for smart roads and integrated mobility, for connected, autonomous and electric vehicles. Together, we launched a Smart Enforcement program in December 2020.

Technology focused on ease

We needed to redesign the recovery process and provide customers with new communication channels. Our business intelligence team alongside the engineering department built algorithms that optimized actions for maximizing payment probabilities and cutting debt collection costs without affecting any revenues. This technology predicts motorists’ payment behavior, continuously provides data and adapts to our different customers’ actions. We leveraged machine learning to achieve a more intelligent collection process.

It was also important to instill empathy for unintentional violation. We wanted to create a solution that avoided unnecessary escalation during recovery processes. This reduces complaints and improves the overall customer experience. The Smart Enforcement program’s technology integrates with external third parties to track motorists’ new addresses. This increases accuracy and toll compliance and reduces the work and expense of undeliverable mail.

The technology provides many payment options for customers with a focus on simplicity. It should be as difficult as possible to cheat the system. The ones who pay up front understand that they are not going to “get in trouble”. Violators need to know that they will be chased.


Emovis’ Smart Enforcement program has a track record in generating results since implementation in 2020 in the United Kingdom and in 2021 in Chile:

  • an increase in toll compliance to over 97%, mainly because previously untraceable customers are now located
  • a 19% reduction in recovery costs
  • a 33% reduction in customer disputes and 30% reduction in unregistered users not paying their tolls without any enforcement activity
  • a 25% improvement of the enforcement “cost to revenue ratio” meaning authorities obtained more monetary value for each dollar they spent in enforcement
  • 30% reduction in materials complaints
  • significant financial savings
  • up to 68% savings in commissions to debt collection agencies

It should be noted that as a service provider working for public authorities and concessionaires, Emovis doesn’t directly keep the money that is generated from this program. We care so much about Smart Enforcement because of our commitment to continuous improvement. We need to be doing everything possible to support our partners and provide them better and more effective experiences and outcomes.

Nobody else in the industry has such a Smart Enforcement program. This is in part why the solution received the 2023 International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) Private Sector Innovation award.

Questions to consider

We are clearly seeing how this innovation is impacting the financial side while dramatically improving perception and reputation. It has quickly sustained reduction in enforcement costs.

Think about these questions:

  • Are you using the most accurate source of information to find and contact the customer?
  • Is it possible to predict the payment behavior of your customers?
  • Can you pre-empt and adapt actions to reduce management costs?
  • Can you identify a preferred course of action to increase the likelihood of payment?

If you are struggling to answer these questions, it is time to step up your tolling authorities’ enforcement efforts.

Miguel Ainsa is the Operation Director at Emovis. Part of Abertis Mobility Services, Emovis is a world leader in
toll-based mobility solutions. Learn more at If you wish to discuss deploying the Smart
Enforcement program, contact