Electronic Toll Collection Made Easy with UHF RFID

February 5, 2013 Scot Stelter

Electronic Toll Collection with RFIDMany of you have invested a few dollars on electronic toll tags that dangle from your rear-window or stick on your windshield. These tags let local government collect a modest use fee for the expressway or bridge you’re using without slowing traffic. Long lines of drivers fumbling for exact change during rush hour are on the way out.

But the rapid adoption of electronic tolling has led to a hidden complication: there are at least 7 protocols in use across the United States. Known by trade names such as EZPass, FasTrak, TxTag and SunPass, most of these protocols are fully or partially proprietary, complicating interstate travel and driving up the cost of tags for users and toll systems for governments.

Many experts now say that the way out of this mess of incompatible standards will be through a gradual transition to ISO-18000-6c, the ISO version of EPC-Gen 2 RFID. Referred to as “6C” systems by the tolling community, these systems will gradually enable nationwide interoperability of toll systems. You’ll be able to drive across the country without thinking about tolls. Drivers in Impinj’s home state of Washington already use a 6C-based system as do drivers in the states of Colorado, Utah, North Carolina and Georgia.

Battery free, 6C tags require no maintenance, and cost much less than tags based on proprietary systems. 6C tags are so much less expensive than proprietary tags that Colorado’s EXpressToll system covers their cost when you open your account. Other locales may charge up to $6, a price that is quickly recovered by the $0.50 to $1 per toll savings electronic toll users enjoy compared to drivers who use toll gate or license plate photo-based systems.

Now tag maker Confidex has made an important entry into this market by gaining the most stringent certification for toll use for its Confidex 6C RFID Windshield Label. Based on Impinj’s high-performance Monza 4 tag chip, the Confidex tag has been certified for 6C RFID toll collection applications by OmniAir Certification Services. The OCS certification ensures reliable reading at roadway speeds in standard toll-gate use cases. Thanks to expert antenna design by Confidex engineers and the highly sensitive Monza 4 chip, the tag easily met the requirements for certification and use wherever 6C toll systems are in use.

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