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Interoperability of Tolls Is Key in Brazil

A report prepared by the BR-500 Consortium, with support from BNDES, proposes to standardize toll collection via RFID tags.
By Edson Perin
Jan 30, 2019

Brazil's National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) has announced the results of technical studies conducted to evaluate the country's Federal Highway Concessions Program. The document guides the formulation of public policies and was prepared by the nation's BR-500 Consortium, the winner of a public call made in 2015.

The report concludes that the standardization of education and technology to ensure interoperability throughout various countries' systems will allow users to travel across different highways by utilizing a single embedded electronic device: namely, RFID. It recommends the assignment of responsibility for the monitoring and definition of technological standards applicable to an electronic billing system to a single federal government body, through the revision of competencies related to Brazil's national road system, which is part of Federal Law #12,379/11.

The BR-500 Consortium, led by Accenture, with the participation of Dynatest, Moysés & Pires Advogados, and Burson Cohn & Wolfe (formerly Burson-Marsteller), proposes the structuring of a process of collection and reprimand capable of identifying users who infringe or default, and whose sanctions are sufficiently effective to discourage such occurrences. The study considers the adoption of measures to encourage RFID tag use, with the possibility of prepayment, at a discount for users who opt for this type of purchase of credits. The discount can be calculated, for example, as the difference in the cost of processing a tagged user charge compared to the cost of processing a charge per card reading.

"The evolution of the road sector is essential to making the country more competitive and promote socioeconomic development," says Pedro dos Passos, the head of BNDES' Transport and Logistics Department. Passos suggests that in order to enable such a change, "It is necessary to overcome some obstacles and limitations, which is perfectly possible through the technical deepening, political debate and support of society. We hope this study will foster debate on improvements in the Federal Highway Concessions Program, substantiate the development of effective and fair public policies, and contribute to the evolution of the road sector."

RFID Journal Brasil spoke with Dario Thober, the president of the Wernher von Braun Advanced Research Center, about the studies, as the institute plays a crucial role in the development of an RFID-based toll-collection system in that country. According to Thober, the single, standard tag concept for multiple applications has been widely discussed since 2007.

Since then, Thober says, the concept has been tested in real-world deployments in a number of operating scenarios, covered by statistical studies based on controlled trials, and more than 4 billion pass-through data points constantly evaluated throughout six years of operation via secure tags in various contexts of use. According to Thober, projects focused on interoperability between applications, even within a particular application in different operating scenarios, "were conducted by ARTESP, commissioned by Finep and demanded by authorized services operators and concessionaires, producing a significant amount of evidence on interoperability issues."

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