Transportation & Logistics
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a proven technology for numerous applications in the transportation and logistics industry. From tracking equipment and valuable assets to electronic toll collection, RFID increases efficiencies and reduces errors. Below is a list of some common RFID applications in the transportation and logistics industry:
RFID in the automobile industry has seen several applications, from key fobs to factory integration, for tracking parts containers across far-flung supply chains, and for yard management in vehicle processing centers. RFID is used throughout many aspects of the production and use of automobiles to improve production logistics, automate access control and parking, secure border roadways, automate toll collection, support car share programs, manage traffic flow, facilitate electric car payments, and track tools in construction vehicles. One use of RFID in vehicles and on the roadside is designed to allow authorities to automate the monitoring of intersections and issue tickets without having to be on the scene. Video and CCTV cameras are already being used for this purpose, and RFID pilots have been conducted.
In addition to automatic portal access and vehicle tracking, RFID can be used with lift and shuttle technologies to transport large equipment within buildings to develop next generation parking garages that maximize space and enable tracking.
RFID is used to manage the long, complex manufacturing supply chains for planes with millions of parts; it’s also evolved from supply chains and assembly plans to the tracking of parts onboard the aircraft in use by airline fleets. The use of RFID tags gives airlines the ability to track and monitor avionics and other parts after they’ve been installed on the aircraft. Information gleaned from the tags support aircraft configuration management and line maintenance, repair shop optimization, and life-limited parts monitoring.
Interrogators are mounted on railroad ties and semi-passive tags are placed on the bottom of railcars. When a tag passes over a reader, it transmits an ID number. The collected data is then used to notify an operations control center, which trains passed where, at what time, and headed in which direction. RFID can also be used on to track assets on trains, record the service history of a specific rail-car for maintenance purposes, portal access (i.e., automatic opening of doors), tracking workers that are track side to ensure safety, and monitoring of train car health.
Tracks on which trains run must be maintained and visually inspected for defects every 2-3 days. This inspection is usually done manually by transit workers walking along the track. With RFID, track workers wear vests containing RFID tags that automatically link to readers installed approximately every 500 feet along the track. The readers are connected to a warning light and speaker cluster designed to activate whenever a train approaches a construction or maintenance area. Train conductors, alerted to the workers’ presence, know instantly to slow down and proceed with caution, while workers are alerted to oncoming trains.
Electronic toll collection systems are a common example of the use of RFID. When it was first introduced for toll roads, other than making the driver’s life easier, this RFID-enabled system helped states increase revenue and allowed law enforcement to set up more accurate notifications in Amber Alert or stolen car situations. Because of RFID, many highways now have no toll booths since they have implemented RFID tags attached to car windshields that can be read at high speeds and with excellent accuracy.
The use of RFID for traffic flow management to increase efficiencies related to parking and traffic management for both visitors and locals.