As a former Chicagoan, who has traveled to and from Indiana quite readily, I was once confident in my knowledge of the I-90 toll road workflow. Recently however, I found out otherwise.
Since 2004, the journey from Indianapolis to Chicago was one I would take at least twice a year. With each trip, I learned new ways to battle traffic and expedite my place in toll lines so that by 2005 I could make it to my destination in less than three hours. I was so proud of this accomplishment that I used to brag about my traveling tricks to those who cared. I would always give them the same advice:
- Know the lay of the land. Because, as many toll road riders can concur, the best way to slow yourself down is by not realizing what lane you need to be in before reaching the booths. Deciding on a lane too late not only forces you to slow your speed, but it places you in a position of extreme caution—having to gingerly merge into an opposing lane with drivers who are one step ahead of you and speeding past to secure an earlier place in the cash line.
- Familiarize yourself with the journey. Know how many toll booths you’ll be traveling through. Know the amount of cash needed for each toll. When in doubt, look to the toll road signs for guidance.
- Be monetarily organized. Of course, purchasing an I-PASS is most effective when it comes to saving time. But for those like me who utilize the toll road sparingly, it doesn’t make much sense. Therefore, use the cash lane efficiently. Always have the correct amount of money ready to go. Divide cash into exact increments per toll and place them into separate, easily accessible compartments in your car. When it comes time to pay, open the compartment, grab the money and hold it out. Lickety split and you’re on your way!
- Have strategic vision. Never, ever enter the same toll booth line as a semi or construction truck. Always carry exact change. Be prepped and ready to pass along money by the time you’re third in line. If you’re on a toll road that requires tickets, keep them within easy reach to ensure quick access—like underneath the drivers side visor or in the center console. Do your best to avoid lines with out-of-state license plates. I, for one, have spent too many hours in tollbooth lines because a lost driver had the audacity to ask the attendant for directions. Yikes.
Those tips aren’t rocket science, but they certainly work. Or so I thought. I was then blindsided by several changes. The cash lanes were different. The toll fee signs disappeared. The fees increased. The coin funnels were replaced by massive machines that require drivers to slide coins into tiny slots as if purchasing a Diet Coke from a vending machine. Suddenly, the I-90 knowledge that I once had was nothing more than a delightful memory. For the first time in six years, it took me nearly four hours to get to Chicago. Without warning, I had morphed back into a toll road amateur.
I once thought I was an expert at toll road driving, but then I discovered I wasn’t. And though the new changes will probably be old news in a few more years, it won’t stop me from trying to master the current system. Why? Because tackling challenges head on enhances workflow and eventually increases productivity. That is why we continue to persevere even when change is difficult and hard to accept.
Don’t be afraid to take on change. Instead, embrace the idea that extending your efforts and capabilities into unknown territory will bring opportunity, meaningful satisfaction, and feelings of accomplishment. Reach out to our productivity growth experts today to learn more about how we can help smooth the pathway of transformation in your office.