New drive to harness ultrahigh-frequency RFID for tolling use in Europe

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The RAIN Alliance has today launched a working group with the mission of supporting the use of RAIN RFID (ultrahigh-frequency radio-frequency identification) for electronic toll collection technology on European roads.

The RAIN Alliance European Road Charging Workgroup (EURCWG) will focus on furthering EU legislation to include RAIN RFID as a road charging technology.

“RAIN RFID is a core road charging technology that is used for a variety of road charging applications although its use in the EU has been limited compared to other regions,” said Steve Halliday, president, RAIN Alliance. “The EURCWG will encourage and support the EU in advancing the use of RAIN RFID for road charging solutions by engaging with policy makers and stakeholders as well as advocating for a set of best practices for its use.”

The RAIN Alliance is the global industry non-profit organization charged with accelerating UHF RFID technology growth and adoption in business and consumer applications.  RAIN RFID technology provides the identification, location, and authentication of the physical item that an RFID tag is attached to.

RAIN RFID costs a fraction of other road charging technologies and since no battery is required for the transponder it is a very environmentally friendly solution and requires less maintenance. The technology’s flexibility allows for its use in a variety of form factors such as license plates, windshield labels, headlamp tags and more.

RAIN RFID is a mature and well-used technology as indicated by the growth trend of RAIN RFID chip use with more than 21 billion chips shipped in 2020 – an increase of more than 2.5 billion units from 2019, despite the economic impact of Covid.  Close to a 100 billion chips have been shipped since 2010.  This market acceptance includes many verticals similar in nature to road charging, e.g., vehicle access control, freight, logistics and road charging outside of the EU.  This acceptance can be attributed to the cost efficient and robust automation benefits RAIN RFID offers.

“Along with road charging, RAIN RFID technology offers a wide range of other applications in the transport and mobility sectors, such as Electronic Vehicle Identification (EVI), parking, logistics, access control into low emission zones and payment. Some EU countries are considering implementing RAIN RFID technology,” said Christian Schnebinger, chair, EURCWG and deputy sales officer, Kathrein Solutions. “A RAIN RFID feasibility study will be published this summer to address a variety of uses of the technology in Europe.”

EURCWG’s founding members include:  FEIG Electronic, NXP Semiconductors, STAR Systems International, EM Microelectronic–Marin, Zebra Technologies Corporation, Kathrein Solutions, and Tönnjes IPH. Any companies interested in joining are encouraged to sign up.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).