How Can RFID Monitor Bus or Train Riders?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can RFID Monitor Bus or Train Riders?
RFID Journal Staff asked 8 years ago

I am looking for an RFID reader that could be fitted into a bus or a train, with each passenger sitting in the vehicle tagged automatically. Would I require UHF RFID tags, or just general tags?

—Name withheld


You would require ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID transponders. Ideally, these would be designed to operate at 865 MHz to 868 MHz, as opposed to, say, 915 MHz, which is also in the UHF spectrum. That would give you the best performance. Reading tags on each person sitting on a bus or a train could be a bit of a challenge, however. A typical train care is 60 to 85 feet (18 to 26 meters) in length, whereas UHF tags can be read from a distance of 10 to 30 feet (3 to 9 meters). You would likely require multiple readers or reader antennas in each bus or train car.

What’s more, the human body is composed of water, which absorbs RF energy. This can prevent UHF tags near the body from being interrogated consistently. One option would be to use battery-assisted tags. Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) manufactures ID badges for this purpose. Another option would be to place a reader near the bus or train car entrance, and then read the tags as riders entered.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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