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Is RFID Being Used at Toll Bridges?

Posted By RFID Journal, 11.17.2014

If so, which types of RFID technologies are being utilized?

—Name withheld


Toll bridges are among the earliest applications of radio frequency identification technology. The first electronic toll-collection system was deployed in Bergen, Norway, in 1986. A similar solution was taken live in the United States a year or two later, and these systems expanded across Europe and North America during the 1990s.

Most toll-collection systems employ active RFID transponders. An active tag is affixed to the windshield of a car or truck. It also has a passive transponder. As a car approaches the toll booth, its passive tag receives energy and awakens the active tag, telling it to start emitting a signal (to increase battery life, the active tag remains asleep most of the time). The active tag sends its unique serial number to a reader mounted above the toll booth. That number is associated with a driver, who is billed the amount of the toll.

More recently, some transportation agencies have been using passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponders. These were originally seen as too unreliable for use in toll collection, but UHF performance has improved. A coalition known as the 6C Toll Operators Committee (6CTOC) is promoting the idea of using passive ISO 18000-6C UHF EPC Gen 2 RFID tags as the national standard for toll collection in the United States. Four U.S. tolling agencies that have already adopted the technology formed the 6CTOC in 2011: Georgia's State Road and Tollway Authority, the Denver area's E-470 Public Highway Authority, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Transportation (see Efforts to Aid Adoption of ISO 18000-6C RFID for Toll Collection Move Forward).

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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