Cars approaching EZ Pass electronic toll collection lanes

Electronic toll collection (ETC) – To eliminate the delay on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically, ETC determines whether the cars passing are enrolled in the program, alerts enforcers for those that are not, and electronically debits the accounts of registered car owners without requiring them to stop.

Electronic toll collection systems rely on four major components:

  • automated vehicle identification
  • automated vehicle classification
  • transaction processing
  • violation enforcement

Some examples of automated vehicle identification

  • Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) – an antenna at the toll gate communicates with a transponder on the vehicle via Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC). RFID tags have proved to have excellent accuracy, and can be read at highway speeds.
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition – a system of cameras captures images of vehicles passing through tolled areas, and the image of the number plate is extracted and used to identify the vehicle. This allows customers to use the facility without any advance interaction with the toll agency.

Engineering ideas

  • RFID (radio-frequency identification),