E-Z Pass co-founder gets ARTBA nod

J.J. Eden is among the 2022 inductees to US transport association's Hall of Fame
Charging, Tolling & Road Pricing / August 30, 2022
By Adam Hill
E-Z Pass innovation transport tolling © Erix2005 | Dreamstime.com
The ubiquitous E-Z Pass is 'the world's largest interoperable toll collection programme' (© Erix2005 | Dreamstime.com)

Tolling veteran and E-Z Pass co-founder James “J.J.” Eden has been inducted into the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation’s Transportation Development Hall of Fame.

This honour is for "individuals or families from the public and private sectors who have made extraordinary contributions to US transportation development during their careers".

Eden, executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, has been nominated as an innovator in transportation design, a section of the Hall of Fame reserved for "men and women who discovered or created a 'game changing' product or process that significantly advanced transportation design, construction and/or safety".

The ARTBA citation reads:

If you have an E-Z Pass device on your windshield that expedites your toll booth trips, you have James “J.J.” Eden to thank. His passion for learning, innovating, and embracing modern technologies have made him a pioneer in the transportation and tolling industries for more than a half-century.

Eden’s career path included posts as assistant chief engineer with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority, head of Lockheed Martin’s electronic toll collection division, and the lead of transportation programs and services at Aecom. He is the current executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

In 1988, he co-founded the Interagency Group, better known to motorists as E-Z Pass. He wrote the business rules and operating procedures for the group, which launched in 1990 in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Today, E-Z Pass is the world’s largest interoperable toll collection program, consisting of 45 agencies in 19 states, serving 49 million transponders, and collecting more than $14 billion annually in electronic toll revenues.

Eden’s future focus remains on developing innovations that will prepare transportation agencies and partners worldwide for connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, cloud-based systems, and national interoperability.

In a LinkedIn post, Eden called the nomination to the Hall of Fame "the honour of my lifetime". He insisted that without the contributions of Larry Yermack, Linda Spock, Mike Asher, John Schaeffer, and PJ Wilkins, "E-ZPass would not be the success it is today". 

Eden's class of honourees will be formally inducted during a May 2023 event at ARTBA’s Federal Issues Program, held in Washington, DC.