February 1, 2021 12:00 PM, EST

Which Weigh Station Bypass Technology Is Best?

Motor carriers have two technology options to choose from for weigh station bypass, but which is the best fir for your fleet? A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) completed on transponders and mobile apps for bypassing weigh stations can help you decide.

Most transponders in use for weigh station bypass, and virtually every electronic tolling system around the world, rely on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The U.S. Department of Transportation also chose this technology for connected and autonomous vehicles, because of its speed, accuracy and reliability. Recent improvements in commercial mobile radio services (CMRS) technology, better known as cellular technology make it a viable option for bypassing as well. CMRS is flexible. It operates as an “app” on a smart phone, tablet, or as part of an on-board telematics platform in a truck.

The TTI study found benefits in both RFID transponders and CMRS mobile bypass apps for weigh station bypassing:

  • Apps eliminate the need to manage transponder inventory.
  • Apps allow geo-fencing of “virtual” weigh stations where wireless signal connectivity is strong and it may not be cost-effective to install the roadside hardware required by transponders. This increases the number of locations available for bypass when using a mobile app.
  • Weak cell signals do not cause a problem for apps— so long as the device stays connected and “calls” are not dropped. However, data transfer accuracy through CMRS based apps to not perform at the 99.9% reliability of a transponder, especially when trucks drive closely together.
  • Most electronic toll platforms rely on RFID transponders for toll payment capture, a function not currently available on app platforms. Deploying RFID technology on trucks allows motor carriers to use the same transponder for both bypass and electronic tolling.

The TTI study suggests that both transponder and app technologies have a place in electronic bypass — so long as fleets know what to expect from each.

Apps can meet the needs of users who prefer flexibility and travel past “virtual” sites without transponder readers. Transponder technology provides almost 100% bypass accuracy and the ability to integrate electronic toll payment services. It also supports bypassing at transponder-only sites operated in certain states and by NORPASS, Oregon Green Light and Weigh2GoBC.

The best solution incorporates a CMRS app alongside an RFID transponder. This approach offers users the largest number of bypass locations, the reliability of a transponder, and the opportunity to use the same device for electronic toll payments.

When approaching a weigh station that accepts both technologies, the CMRS app automatically defers to the RFID transponder. A driver will not receive a “red light” from one device and a “green light” from the other.

Visit the PrePass webpage, “Which Weigh Station Bypass Technology is Right for You?” to quickly determine the best weigh station bypass solution for your specific operation.


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