Auto Electronics

ABI eyes real-time traffic data collection

Radar, video and reader-based RFID technologies are all vying to replace conventional embedded loop sensors as a primary means of collecting real-time traffic data. Dan Benjamin, principal analyst in ABI Research’s transportation research practice, said in a new report (Real Time Traffic Information) that the market may be shifting toward reader-based RFID. That despite the fact that radar has been the leader in recent deployments, and video has been playing an important role.

Benjamin noted that traditional traffic sensors collect vehicle speed and incident data without relying on vehicle-mounted tags. An advanced, radar-based sensor infrastructure can count cars and provide speed information for each vehicle.

“While inexpensive compared to digital video-sensing systems, (radar-based sensors are) costly compared with tag readers,” Benjamin said. “The newest video systems aim to provide data similar to that delivered by radar. While they are not yet as accurate and are more costly, they have the added benefit of being useful for tracking vehicles and incidents through more conventional means.”

Reader systems are relatively inexpensive but are effective only in proportion to the number of cars equipped with tags, i.e., where reader-based toll collection systems are already popular.

"Traffic infrastructure, for a number of reasons, is a market we expect to grow over the course of the decade," Benjamin said. "Companies with radar-based technology such as Wavetronix, EIS and Speedinfo seem poised to prosper. But there could also be a burgeoning market here for automotive identification RFID players such as TransCore, Mark IV and Sirit."

The ABI Research study evaluates the use of cellular, satellite, RDS-TMC, VICS, DSRC and digital radio technologies for real-time traffic systems, as well as the use of embedded roadway sensors, acoustic sensors, video, radar, microwave, RFID and DSRC for collection of traffic information.

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