I’m sure most, if not all of us, have driven on a toll road at some point, or even drive on one every single day. Our new facility is directly off a major toll road here in Central Florida, which many Media 1 employees and clients travel daily to get to our new shop.
It just so happens that one of our clients is the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX). Since their 2014 inception, we have produced signage for their headquarters, wrapped their 15-person conference dais in 3M DI-NOC wood grain vinyl and installed many DOT overhead guide signs along their expansive spiderweb of roadways in Central Florida.
CFX is responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of about 940 miles of roadway, 335 bridges, 69 interchanges and 14 mainline toll plazas. This entire system is supported by tolls; no taxes of any kind fund CFX operations. On average, more than a million toll transactions are recorded every day, and 80% of those are collected electronically.
But what about the remaining 20%? Well, those tolls are still being hand-collected by employees sitting in those big stainless-steel toll booths lined across the expressway every so-many miles. Toll amounts at each plaza vary from $0.50 to $3.00 for a two-axle vehicle, but overall, you can figure paying an average of $0.16 per mile. But here’s the thing about those stainless booths: They’re old. The purple and orange stripes stretched across them look even older, obviously faded, cracked, peeling and are mostly an eyesore now. In a trailblazing move, CFX decided to renovate the existing booths, and contacted Media 1 to help accomplish the task.
I never thought about it, but these booths get straight filthy. You all know how hard it is to get your kids’ pawprints off your “stainless” refrigerator? Imagine the road grime, grease and rain sludge those million cars spatter onto those booths every day! Stainless is difficult, if not impossible, to get a streak-free, clean finish on, even with regularly scheduled pressure washing. But you know what’s easier to clean than stainless steel? 3M wrap vinyl.
Enter the idea of wrapping the toll booths. Has anyone done this before? I know we have never seen it done, but if executed properly, wraps would eliminate the high-pressure power-washing CFX has been doing, and replace it with car-wash brushing using soap, then finishing with a nice, light, water rinse (just like washing your Corvette). And if ease of cleaning is one of the goals, why can’t another be a bit of advertising? That’s exactly what CFX thought, too.
For the 2017 football season, CFX launched its first branded E-PASS partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF). The KnightPass essentially works the same way as a conventional E-PASS program (a prepaid and reloadable toll account) that allows full-speed toll booth fly-bys. Your account offers exclusive toll discounts and is accepted throughout Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Plus, you get to display your Black and Gold UCF team spirit right on your windshield! (CFX also offers a GatorPass and NolePass for the University of Florida and Florida State University, respectively.)
Of course, what better avenue to advertise this program than wrapping the actual booths their target market is pulling up and stopping at every day? Utilizing artwork CFX designed in partnership with UCF, Media 1 was hired to kick the project off with 14 toll booths. We wrapped six at state Route 417 and University Blvd., and eight at state Route 408 and Dean Rd., both plazas being close to the school.
We printed on a special 3M film made for stainless-steel applications: IJ180-10SLS. This permanent-adhesive, air-release film with a special layer shields environmental elements from getting to the stainless steel that would cause oxidation under the film. Each booth consumed 220 sq. ft. of vinyl, including 3M Scotchcal Perforated Window Film IJ67. CFX pressure-washed each booth before we arrived, and our “Wrap This” team of four installers applied a wrap to one booth each night from 7-10 p.m. Battling severe summer storms, sweltering Florida heat and drivers who didn’t always pay attention to the orange lane-closure cones (!), they tirelessly wrapped three to four booths a week for a full month, while continually keeping up with our regular workflow of 70 vehicles per month. These guys are beasts! The wraps made such a beautiful impact, we’re in talks to initiate a program to wrap them all – 270 booths to be exact. Any wrap folks out there want to join our crew?
It’s not often you see toll booths being wrapped, is it?