Profile AmericaSaturday, November 19. The first automatic toll collection station went into service on this date in 1954. It was installed at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway. Motorists dropped coins into a wire mesh hopper, triggering a green light that told them to go ahead. The idea soon caught on at toll roads around the country, reducing the number of booth attendants and propelling cars and trucks on their way. There are some 3,300 miles of toll roads in the U.S. interstate system of some 47,000 miles. Other U.S. routes and state roads have tolls, but the 5,500-mile total is still just a tiny fraction of the more than 4 million miles of roads in the nation. Toll collections add about $13 billion annually to state and local government revenues. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at

Kane’s Famous First Facts, 6634.
Toll Road Mileage. Accessed August 30, 2016.
Tolls on U.S. Interstates. Accessed August 30, 2016.
U.S. Interstate Highway Miles.
Miles of Road. Accessed August 30, 2016.
State and Local Government Revenue, page 7.

Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotion of the U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics and accounts drawn from cited non-Census sources are employed for illustrative or narrative purposes, and are not attested to by the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at (look for “Audio” in the “Library” pull-down menu).