Comparing bypass technologies

Sonia Straface

PHOENIX, Ari. – When it comes to weigh scale bypass technologies, more is better.

That’s according to recent study by Texas A&M Transportation Research Institute (TTI). The study found that both RFID and CMRS technologies have their own place and benefits in an electronic weigh station bypass.

For its part, RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – is faster and more reliable than CMRS – Commercial Mobile Radio Services. RFID is used by transponders, and CMRS is the same cellular signal used in cell phones, and is used in apps, like the PrePass Motion app.

According to the research, TTI found that transponders using RFID have a 99.99% accuracy, where as CMRS can be as low as 81.5% and as high as 93.3% accurate depending on speed and traffic.

“Bottom line, RFID is best used at high-volume heavily traffic sites and at toll facilities. CMRS offers broader coverage including low volume sites and virtual stations,” said Warren Hoemann, transportation consultant for HELP Inc. during a webinar it hosted in April.

But which is better? The TTI study revealed, both.

“Carriers and enforcement alike must choose which technologies fit best for each location,” Hoemann said.

When evaluating which you should you for you own carrier, Hoemann advised asking yourself a few questions, including, where do you travel? Are your trucks on toll roads? And, what percentage of bypass is acceptable for you.

If you’re travelling in high volume, high traffic areas, RFID is the way to go, Hoemann says. As it will mean more successful bypasses and fewer trucks pulled into the weigh stations, thanks to it’s accuracy levels.

Similarly, if you travel on toll roads, Hoemann says to get a transponder, as only RFID transponders are approved for toll transactions.

If you’re fine with a lower percentage of successful bypasses, you can get away without using a transponder and only using a CMRS-based app.

“There will be more pull in alerts with CFRS,” Hoemann said. “That’s just reality.”

In conclusion, Hoemann said: “Good, better and best. From PrePass, the good is the PrePass motion app. It’s convenient and it offers bypass coverage. Better is the RFID transponder. But the best is you can have both. For trucks equipped with the transponder, there is no downside to adding the app.”

Sonia Straface

Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface.

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