As individual mobility and quality of life go hand-in-hand, more and more people are traveling by personal vehicles straining current roads and traffic infrastructures in most of the world’s larger cities. With more people and vehicles on the road, traffic efficiency and road safety become a major concern for governments and road authorities. Star System International, utilizing its expertise in RFID technologies and working with its local partner in Taiwan has developed monitoring and flow management systems to assist in reducing the impact of traffic congestion in Taiwan’s largest urban areas.
Taiwan, whose National Freeway Bureau (TANFB) and its toll operator recently implemented free flow, all-electronic tolling throughout its highway system utilizing a new passive RFID technology based on an open international standard in 2013.
Due to the low cost of implementation of ISO 18000-6C RFID Systems, Taiwan has been able to populate close to 80% of its vehicles with passive transponders. As these transponders are based on an open standard, they can easily allow other applications such as Urban Traffic Monitoring to take advantage of the large installed base of transponders on vehicles.
Urban traffic monitoring project
With the growing number of cars on the road every year, traffic congestion and flow in urban areas is quickly becoming a problem for major cities. In 2014, followed the deployment of the eTag tolling system, the Taiwan Government decided to expand the usage of the eTag transponders for the purpose of traffic monitoring in urban areas. The idea is to utilize information the eTag transponders can supply in order to monitor vehicle speed and traffic flow through urban areas.
Sunsky International Ltd. (全徽道安科技股份有限公司), a local Taiwan system integrator and partner of STAR Systems International, was selected to deploy a new Traffic Monitoring System in Taoyuan County (a mixed residential, manufacturing and commercial area) and Kaohsiung City, the biggest city in south Taiwan.
STAR Systems International and Sunsky International, being world leaders in the usage of RFID for vehicle applications, designed and implemented an innovative and high quality solution for the benefit of the Taiwan’s major urban areas.
The system’s design principle is simple yet very creative. By monitoring the flow of vehicles by reading and collecting e-Tag transponder data, the system provides messages to drivers in urban areas and near the entrances and exits of highways via illuminated road signage. The signs indicate to the drivers what traffic levels are in the main urban roads allowing drivers to select the most convenient and least congested routes to their destination.
STAR Systems International’s Solution
After analyzing the needs of the 2 urban areas, several locations in Taoyuan and Kaohsiung were selected for the installation of STAR Systems International’s RFID Reader and Antenna equipment. Two of STAR’s flagship products were installed in each of these locations: Regor, an advanced high-performance mutli-port RFID reader and the Cheetah, an wide-angle RFID Antenna tuned specifically for road usage.
As a vehicle with an eTag passes under an antenna, it is detected allowing its data to be read and recorded by the Regor reader. At this stage, the vehicle’s class and unique ID are then collected and time-stamped.
When the same vehicle passes under another antenna in a different location, the information is collected again. A central system processes the data and using the time and distance differences of the readings the system calculates the average speed of the vehicle. The average speed of a vehicle, along with that of other vehicles driving the same route, provides the system with an overall indication for the road’s congestion level. Once this level of congestion is statistically calculated, it can immediately be sent to the electronic road signage to give drivers visual indications of actual traffic flows along their route of travel.
With a large population of tagged vehicles, the potential for other applications grows. Using the ISO 18000 6C open standard for vehicle tolling and identification can be used for other projects such as:
1. Parking and Access Applications
2. Rental Vehicle Fleet Management Systems
3. Drive-Up Retail Applications
4. Car Dealership Service and Loyalty programs
5. Electronic Vehicle Registration
6. Vehicle Service and Safety Inspection Systems.
7. Any other system which may be able to take advantage of automatic vehicle identification.