Advances in vehicle-to-roadside wireless communications technology will in turn become a significant component of making the existing Interstate highway system run more efficiently. Dick Landis, president & CEO of Help Inc., detailed for FleetOwner how the PrePass highway weigh station pre-clearance system will evolve by expanding services and upgrading its technology.
“We spent the last 50 years building the Interstate system,” Landis said. “The next steps will be critical for us. We think technology will be a key component in making this system better.”
Weight compliance has always been a productivity issue for truckers and, increasingly, tolls as well. This is why electronic technologies have been crucial to cut down the number of stops a truck must make and ensure that highway speeds are maintained, he said.
“We’ve concentrated 15 years of effort with advancing the PrePass system and added PrePassPlus, the toll management component of that,” Landis said. PrePass Plus integrates PrePass functionality with the E-ZPass electronic toll collection facilities.
PrePass is now operational at 259 locations nationwide with more coming soon. Some 375,000 trucks are voluntarily enrolled.
“Another basic ingredient is GatePass, which is the ability to use the same [PrePass] technology to access or egress terminals and facilities so that trucking management can have a better handle on its fleet and resources,” Landis added.
PrePass also is gearing up to convert its equipment from its current 915 mhz to 5.9 Ghz as part of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s (DOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems program. DOT intends to integrate the electronic inspection of moving trucks in the national highway infrastructure.
“That frequency is set aside for highway technology and offers opportunities for these [PrePass transponders] we use to take on different tasks and responsibilities,” Landis said.
The dedicated short range communications (DCRC) frequency will provide a wireless link to transfer information between vehicles and roadside systems. In addition to its use in weighing and tolling systems, it will guide traffic light control, traffic monitoring, travelers' alerts, traffic congestion detection and emergency vehicle signal preemption of traffic lights.