Passive ISO 18000-6C sticker tags are available to drivers at little or even no cost. At a fraction of the cost of tags used in traditional electronic tolling technologies (infrared, 2.4GHz, 5.8GHz, etc), passive sticker tags pave the way to deliver the promise of efficient electronic toll collection (ETC) and all-electronic tolling(AET).

Increasing the efficiency of transportation networks and implementing road pricing keeps traffic moving and reduces pollution. However, one barrier prevents these benefits from being fully realized – low user adoption of tags. The cost of traditional tags ranges from US$10 to US$50, a price that is too high for many drivers, especially in developing countries. Low-cost, passive sticker tags solve this problem.

In Taiwan, the recent success of passive sticker tags deployed on a large scale removes all doubt about the use of passive RFID technology in AET. Driver adoption of ETC in Taiwan jumped from under 50% to over 85% in less than a year once the toll operator decided to provide ISO 18000-6C sticker tags (known as eTags) at no cost to vehicle owners. Previously, drivers had to buy an expensive onboard unit (OBU) for ETC. Now, with the majority of drivers using ETC, future plans to implement multi-lane free flow (MLFF) tolling and distance-based pricing schemes can easily be achieved.

These sticker tags will soon hit the streets of India too. India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has mandated that all domestic automobile manufacturers affix a passive ISO 18000-6C sticker tag on the windshield of all new vehicles, beginning in October 2013. This is the first step towards a national ETC system for India, as envisioned by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The low-cost tags are a key enabler of the NHAI vision for a single, nationwide tolling system in India.

Why use open standards?

ETC systems based on these tags and readers also enjoy the cost advantages of an international open standard. Rather than being locked in with a proprietary electronic tolling solution, toll operators will be free to choose from manufacturers and system integrators that offer multiple hardware and solutions based on the ISO 18000-6C standard.

The healthy competition sustained by an open standard ensures a robust ETC system by keeping operational costs low and driver adoption high.

In most cases, ETC solutions based on ISO 18000-6C are simple to interface with existing systems. This makes it easy for toll operators to switch from a traditional system to one based on the new tags and readers. In addition, many readers are now available that support a large number of communication protocols, enabling a smooth transition and interoperability with legacy systems.

An open standard-based solution using a sticker tag can also enable new applications. For example, the same tags can be used for electronic vehicle registration, access control and vehicle commercial solutions such as parking and payments.

The benefits of such tags have been proved in implementations around the world. When the tags are installed in the majority of vehicles, transport planners and policy makers will be able to realize the full benefits of ETC/AET on their highways.

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