This article was originally published on Atlas Obscura as "The Case for Preserving the 20th Century Tollbooth."
Massachusetts is destroying its toll plazas. By the end of this year, every single one on the Massachusetts Turnpike will have been demolished. Drivers will still pay to use the road—they will zoom through the metal arches of electronic tolling infrastructure—but the routine of slowing down, stopping to grab a ticket, and waiting for the barrier to rise will be gone.
Massachusetts is being more aggressive than most places about sweeping away its old tolling infrastructure, but all across the country, from New York to Florida, Texas to California, road authorities are switching to all-electronic tolling. While it’s too soon to declare the tollbooth dead, it’s easy to imagine a future in which roads are unencumbered by boxy plazas and simple gates.