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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

Thober says the results regarding interoperability were the generation and management of security keys, the initialization of tags for different systems, integration with systems in which international standards are in force, and the use of a single tag and integrated system, among other relevant aspects. "These tests highlight issues related to the proposition of standardized solutions," he explains, "and indicate how, in each type of application, they can be structured—using an RFID solution with security mechanisms—modified, calibrated and integrated into the legacy systems of the main players of national transit systems."

The centralization and general standardization of automation techniques, Thober notes, may be insufficient to promote cost reductions and an expansion of the automatic-identification system, and the Brazilian government may encounter difficulties when systemic factors of interoperability are not taken into account. If not observed in detail, he adds, this could pose an immediate risk to systems already in operation, in terms of semiconductor chips, the generation of fraudulent passwords by hackers, the loss of investments by clients of the base of private operators, road accidents, and other undesirable side effects.

Tests of the "free-flow" concept of automatic passage without barriers at toll plazas have taken place since 2011, Thober reports, and have become practical for high-volume operations on the highways of São Paulo since 2012. "The practice shows that vehicle-classification systems must be finely tuned to those of RFID," he states, "in order to become compatible and even alternative to those of common toll plazas."

"In addition to the technical aspect," Thober explains, "free-flow means establishing an up-to-date national database of the Renavam database, for example, because even in countries where the evasion rate is only at 1 percent, they'll be able to guarantee, in a sustainable way, the recovery of fraudulent or lost passages due to, among other causes, double data in the government system itself, bypassing private sector investments in this practice."

"We at the von Braun Center believe in the initiative announced," Thober states, "and, as we have stated in the events and official reports demanded, we consider that these studies and plans should include the results already produced, and still others of research and development that are being produced at this moment—in a number of projects—for a consolidated result that serves the coherence and perennial construction of the systems and their continuity policies. We support and applaud the work, and we wish a lot of success for the project."

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