Texas Department of Transportation to instate RFID TxTag
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Texas Department of Transportation to instate RFID TxTag

HARRISBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 19, 2005--The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) selects TransCore's eGo(R) Plus radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for use in the area's Central Texas Turnpike Program, a $2 billion transportation initiative. The multimillion-dollar contract allows for the initial release of 500,000 eGo Plus tags, branded locally as TxTag, with a total of 2 million tags over two years.

The Central Texas Turnpike Program was designed to increase mobility by adding capacity and reducing congestion in the region. The Texas Transportation Institute's 2005 Urban Mobility Report singled out electronic toll collection as one of several key tools for reducing congestion. Incorporating toll roads is gaining support nationally because it provides a means to build roads more rapidly than possible with traditional funding, particularly because it allows roads to operate according to the rules of consumer choice.

According to the report, over the last 10 years in 85 major U.S. urban areas, the annual delay increased almost 20 percent. During peak travel times, the figure is closer to 40 percent, and the cost of these delays is well over $60 billion, up 60 percent.


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"At a time nationally when there is a real need to come to grips with congestion, TXDOT is taking major strides to increase volume while improving efficiency of the state's transportation infrastructure," said John Worthington, TransCore president.

As the network of toll roads grows in Texas, interoperability of the tags used for wireless payment is essential for motorists who want to use one tag in many parts of the state. The particularly appealing benefit of TXDOT's selection of the eGo technology, along with the paper-thin, lower cost design, is the interoperability (or multiprotocol) feature that allows motorists to use the wireless payment feature on toll roads throughout Texas. In Houston and Dallas interoperability between tolling systems has been available since November of 2003, allowing nearly two million TollTag and EZTag users the convenience of wireless payment on four major toll roads in both cities.

Texas joins other authorities such as the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority; Puerto Rico's Highway and Transportation Authority; Shenzhen Customs in Shenzhen, China; the Washington State Department of Transportation; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in choosing the landmark design capabilities of the eGo RFID technology for large-scale applications. More than one million eGo tags are already in active service worldwide.

About eGo(R) Plus Technology

The paper-thin eGo Plus tag, priced under $10, a significant cost savings compared to many of the current hard case battery tags that typically sell for $25 to $30, is similar in size to a vehicle inspection sticker and mounts easily on a motorist's windshield.

The eGo Plus sticker tag is a 915 MHz radio frequency programmable, beam-powered, windshield-mounted tag. Packaged as a flexible sticker, this tag is ideal for applications that require low-cost, easily installed tags and is appropriate for electronic toll collection, airport access and ground transportation management systems, parking access, and security access. The tag supports multiple protocols, making it easy to migrate from a mixed-tag population to a common tag.

The eGo Plus, non-battery sticker tag offers a read range of up to 31.5 feet (9.6 meters) and 2048-bit read/write memory at a fraction of the cost of older, less flexible RFID technology. The tag provides the capability to read, write, rewrite, or permanently lock individual bytes. Custom printing and labeling is also available.

Each eGo Plus sticker tag comes equipped with a factory-programmed unique tag identification number that prevents the tag from being duplicated. The eGo Plus sticker tag is read by TransCore's family of readers, which are configurable to support a protocol compliant with ANSI INCITS 256-2001 and ISO 10374 standards, and the ATA Standard for automatic equipment identification.

About TransCore

TransCore, a transportation services company with 1,800 employees and 80 locations, is a unit of Roper Industries, a $1.4 billion diversified industrial technology company. With installations in 41 countries, more than 100 patents and pioneering applications of RFID, GPS and satellite communications technologies, TransCore's technical expertise is unparalleled in the markets it serves. TransCore's 60-year heritage spans the development of RFID transportation applications at Los Alamos National Labs to implementation of the nation's first electronic toll system to establishing North America's first freight matching network.

TransCore's extensive global experience with tolling systems includes more than 6,200 installed electronic toll collection lanes worldwide and 22 customer service centers. TransCore offers an extensive suite of enterprise software applications, business process outsourcing, system integration, and maintenance services to provide complete solutions, configurable to customers' requirements.

TxTag allows one tag ET in Dallas, Houston

TRNewswire | September 20, 2005

Texas' effort at providing interoperability between the big electronic toll (ET) systems of Dallas and Houston bear fruit Oct 6 2003 with the introduction of TxTag, a brandname for interoperability, due to be recognized eventually throughout the state. The logo will be on display wherever interoperability is implemented. Until now the TollTags of the North Texas Turnpike Authority (NTTA) in Dallas and the EZ-TAGS of the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) in Houston have not been able to work with the equipment of the other, even though they are physically similar old generation Amtech passive backscatter ET systems.

For the moment Houston motorists are getting the better part of the deal. Their TollTags are now usable in all lanes of all Dallas pikes which include the Dallas North Toll Road, the Pres Geo Bush Turnpike, and the smaller tunnel and bridge toll facilities, but not yet the DFW airport.

NTTA TollTags from the Dallas area are being accepted in 20 special ET lanes in Houston marked with the TxTAG logo from 2003-10-06. Houston's HCTRA will be progressively increasing the number of toll lanes accepting the Dallas tags with the aim of having the whole Houston system Dallas-friendly by July 2004.

The state tollsters TeamTX get-togethers were a main forum for the interoperability effort. Early in the year the two toll agencies reached a formal agreement to allow interoperability to proceed, though the planning went back about two years.

Dallas and Houston lay 388km (241mi) apart and the vast majority of the patrons only use one system or the other. However the number of multiple system users is growing. And the number of toll systems is growing too. 2004 or 2005 will see tolling begin in central Texas under the auspices of the Texas Turnpike Division of TxDOT and south of Harris Co in Fort Bend - tho it will be using HCTRA tags. Next year HCTRA will open America's first multi-interchange transponders-only toll faclity, the Westpark Tollway, which is certain o provide another boost to use of transponders.

There are about 640k TollTags on issue in the Dallas NTTA area in a system that started ET in the middle of 1989, the first in the US. NTTA does 780k tolls/day 530k or 68% by ET. Houston has some 1.3m EZ-TAGs. They began in 1992 and got a huge jump up with HCTRA's early implementation of full highway speed open road tolling through their mainline plazas, plus a discount. The tags do about 430k of the 800k toll transactions done in Houston each day.

The TxTag arrangement does not encompass toll tags used by Texas toll agencies on the Mexican border.

California, Italy and Japan have always had one interoperable toll system. Florida has moved towards one interoperable system, as is Australia. The northeast US with E-ZPass is virtually one system and it is spreading with Virginia finally announcing it will join and New Hampshire and Maine soon to join too. Those Europeans are working at interoperability too. Even with identical equipment the business arrangements are often difficult to integrate. TRnews 2003-09-29

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