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RFID Automates Payments at Regina's Snow Dump

The Canadian city's system depends on UHF RFID tags and readers to identify arriving trucks, authorize their admittance and automatically bill customers.
By Claire Swedberg

As the truck enters the facility and its tag is interrogated, the Lenel software (which Lenel customized for this application) forwards the usage data to Regina's billing department software. The city charges $5 to $35 per visit, based on the vehicle's size, as reflected by its RFID label's color. The software offers both billing and prepayment options, so the amount of the dump can be deducted from the prepaid balance, or else a bill can be sent to the hauler.

At the exit, a solar-powered vehicle gate opens automatically as the vehicle approaches. This allows the truck to exit the site, while preventing other vehicles from entering through that gate.

Reliable Security and Controls' Marvin Skinner
"We've tested the system at 35 kilometers per hour," says Skinner, while the maximum speed at the gate is set at 15 kilometers per hour. If a driver slows down excessively, he adds—coming to a full stop, for instance—that can interfere with the camera's measurements, so the system is designed to encourage drivers to continue moving forward.

Because snow and ice pose some environmental challenges for RFID technology, Skinner says, Reliable simulated snow on windshields that might block RF signals transmitted by a reader or tag. The company placed soaked papers over a vehicle's windshield, for instance, and found that its tag could still be read.

According to Kyle, the city expects to sell windshield labels to about 115 companies, and many of those are being applied to the vehicles of businesses that haul multiple loads each winter. So far, no snow collection has yet taken place in Regina, but the season typically begins in November. Some haulers have complained about the cost of paying for a service that was once free. In response to such concerns, Kyle says, "The idea is not for the city to make money, but to offset the cost of operating the facility."

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