The plan was first announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo this past October when he revealed that, in addition to the construction of ‘500-year’ flood barriers, the implementation of color LED lights on bridges, and other measures, it would also see the use of facial recognition technology at bridge and tunnel checkpoints. At the time, it wasn’t clear if the facial recognition would be used as a security mechanism or if it would play some role in an automated tolling system, but it now looks like it will be very much in the former category.
Cuomo has revealed that the new automated tolling systems will operate based on license plate reading technology, and that the they will be implemented across the New York metropolitan area by the end of next year. In laying out the plans, Cuomo stressed the time it would save commuters — an estimated 21 hours per year. Its efficacy is also likely to bring in more toll revenues for the state, of course.
But with the addition of 150 state troopers to bridges and tunnels in the region, there is also clearly a strong security component to the modernization effort, and it appears that is where facial recognition will play a significant role. It seems fair to expect further details on this aspect of the program further down the road.
December 22, 2016 – by Alex Perala