Midland Expressway, the owner and operator of the M6toll, has appointed Michael Whelan (pictured) as general manager.

He will oversee the implementation of a strategic ‘RoadAhead’ transformation programme, to deliver a world-class service to the 18 million drivers and businesses that use the motorway every year.

A globally experienced expert on innovative toll systems with more than 20 years’ experience, Whelan most recently worked as general manager for Australian-owned Transurban, one of the world’s largest tolling operators.

His expertise includes areas such as free flow tolling, express lanes and high occupancy vehicle schemes.

The ‘RoadAhead’ digital programme has been planned for over 12 months and Whelan will complete the implementation started by his predecessor Andy Cliffe.

Features will include roadside Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to capture licence plate data and facilitate contactless and cashless payments.

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An initial trial with HGV operators and local car drivers has proved successful, with all journeys and transactions managed via the M6toll website – whether for a single vehicle or a large fleet spread across multiple depots.

Further plans for the tolling system include expanding the current 16 ANPR enabled lanes to a full deployment across all 45 lanes, upgrading point of sale technology, and developing an enhanced control room facility to increase the information available to the remote operations team.

A new e-commerce and customer management solution will also be implemented, to ensure smooth and efficient operations and improved customer service for the 50,000 drivers who use the road each day.

“I am looking forward to working with Midland Expressway during this exciting time, as we work to ensure the M6toll is the most technologically advanced and customer-orientated motorway in the UK," Whelan said.

“I relish the opportunity to again be involved in successfully delivering a world-class tolling system, with tangible benefits for local drivers and long-distance customers, the West Midlands region, and the wider national strategic road network.

“At the M6toll, we are committed to creating more viable transportation alternatives and frictionless journeys for our customers as we continue to be the most reliable route through the Midlands.”