Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Moving Size and Weight Enforcement to the 21st Century. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.
Today we'll have four presentations, given by Steve Keppler of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Amr Oloufa of the University of Central Florida Transportation Research Center, Joe Crabtree of the University of Kentucky Transportation Research Center, and Dan Shamo of URS Corporation.
Steve Keppler has 17 years of experience in the transportation industry, almost all of which has been dedicated to truck and bus safety and security. He has been employed with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance since March of 2000 in the position of Director of Policy & Programs. CVSA is a not-for-profit organization established to promote an environment free of commercial vehicle accidents and incidents. Prior to this position, he served as the Department Director for Vehicle Systems at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, a trade association dedicated to furthering the deployment of technology in transportation. Prior to ITS America he was employed with the U.S. DOT/FHWA Office of Motor Carriers (now FMCSA) for six years in the field and in Headquarters. Mr. Keppler graduated from Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) in 1992 with two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Engineering - Civil and Architectural.
Dr. Amr Oloufa is Professor and Director of Construction Programs at the University of Central Florida. He is the Program Director of the Advanced Transportation Communications & Technologies division of the Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation (CATSS) at UCF. Dr. Oloufa has been active in commercial vehicle applications research dealing with sensor applications. He is a registered professional engineer and has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from U.C. Berkeley.
Joe Crabtree is a full-time Research Engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky. He manages the Center's research program in the area of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Dr. Crabtree has 20 years experience in transportation research. For the past 16 years, he has focused on Intelligent Transportation Systems. This has included substantial work in Commercial Vehicle Operations, Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC), ITS Planning and Architecture Development, ITS Standards, ITS Procurement, Traffic Incident Detection, Incident Management, and Homeland Security.
Dan Shamo has been with URS Corporation since 2000, where his current emphasis is on Intelligent Transportation Systems and Traffic Operations. He is currently managing several projects related to Virtual Weigh Stations and Red Light Running mitigation programs. Prior to URS, Dan worked for the Indiana Department of Transportation, where he held several different positions ranging from traffic operations, planning and design to establishing the ITS program for the State of Indiana. This included the Hoosier Helper motorist assistance program, two Traffic Management Centers, a unique Advanced Traveler Information System, and INDOT's Virtual Weigh Station program. Dan holds a B.S. Civil Engineering from Purdue University.
I'd now like to go over a few logistical details prior to starting the seminar. Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the smaller text box underneath the chat area on the lower right side of your screen. Please make sure you are typing in the thin text box and not the large white area. Please also make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. Once we get through all of the questions that have been typed in, the Operator will give you instructions on how to ask a question over the phone. If you think of a question after the seminar, you can send it to the presenters directly, or I encourage you to use the Freight Planning LISTSERV. The LISTSERV is an email list and is a great forum for the distribution of information and a place where you can post questions to find out what other subscribers have learned in the area of Freight Planning. If you have not already joined the LISTSERV, the web address at which you can register is provided on the slide on your screen.
Finally, I would like to remind you that this session is being recorded. A file containing the audio and the visual portion of this seminar will be posted to the Talking Freight Web site within the next week. We encourage you to direct others in your office that may have not been able to attend this seminar to access the recorded seminar.
The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next week. I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoints, the recording, and a transcript of this seminar.
We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Moving Size and Weight Enforcement to the 21st Century. Our first presentation will be given by Steve Keppler of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar.
Thank you, Jennifer. First I would like to thank the Federal Highway Administration for putting this webinar together and for inviting CVSA to be a part of it. We have been asked to kick this off with some background information and will provide context to the speakers following. We appreciate all of you participating and attending today.
So what we're going to talk about today is certainly size and weight enforcement but more on the cutting edge, some of the technology tools being deployed and being looked at to help facilitate more effective size and weight enforcement. There are several speakers we have today who will talk about interesting ideas and concepts, and we're looking forward to advancing the bar in the future for this particular program. Size and weight enforcement has been around for quite some time, and has evolved over the years. In particular, the last couple of years we have seen a more focused effort of trying to look at different options for enhancing the whole enforcement program and couple that with safety programs to look at integrated solutions the roadside, and we'll talk about some of that today.
The size of the challenge really is pretty voluminous and comprehensive. We have commercial vehicle registrations moving higher and higher. This chart is a bit dated, a few years old, but certainly we've got upwards of 9 million commercial vehicles registered in the United States, and with the increase in freight volumes as you will see in a minute, and the increased number of freight being moved all across North America, not just domestically, we don't anticipate this number going down at all. Even with the economic downturn, some of you may have heard just in the last couple of days there has been an announcement that there is still an uptick in vehicle miles traveled for trucks, commercial vehicles, so it is continuing to increase and what we need to look at are different strategies for how we're going to manage these movements more effectively and more safely.
This chart, it is a bit an eyesore because there is some of the data in there is small, but there are a couple of key points that I wanted to point out, we've got three years worth of data presented here for size and weight enforcement activity across the United States. On average in '07 there were about 217 million commercial vehicle weighings across the United States, as compared to about 3.4 million roadside safety inspections, so you can see there is quite a bit of a gap there, a difference at least in terms of the amount of vehicles that are "touched" for size and weight enforcement activity.
Almost two-thirds of those weighings have occurred using weigh-in motion systems. I think we have seen weigh-in motion, certainly it has been around for quite some time, but it is being used more effectively now in targeting vehicles for further inspection than it ever has been before, and I think we're going to see more on that today. On the violation level, 530,000 size and weight violations occurred in '07, the most often cited violation are for axle weight violations, lesser so for gross and bridge formulas. The violation rate on the whole is less than 1% of the total weighings.
However, one of the things I wanted to point out here if you look at the roadside inspection data, size and weight violations comprise about 9.2% of the violation total of those that are cited at roadside, so there is a difference there, but important one because I think again this what we have seen over the last several years is much more integrated approach to size and weight enforcement and safety compliance and enforcement.
The other key point of this chart that I wanted to make everyone aware of is the increase in permits that have been issued over the last couple years, almost a 33% increase in permits issued between 2005 and 2007.
This chart shows from 2007 driver violation data that were cited during roadside inspections, as I indicated on the last side, about 3.4 million roadside inspections conducted in 2007. Size and weight violations are the number two most often cited violations behind local laws, and most of the local laws are traffic enforcement type violations, so you can see there is a fair amount of activity that is again evidence of the integration of size and weight enforcement with safety inspections and enforcement at roadside.
The next couple of slides I think we have talked last few minutes about the whole scope of the enforcement program at a pretty high level. What is driving us more towards looking at technology approaches is the huge increase in freight volumes and congestion occurring across the United States. Some of you probably have seen this chart before, but in essence it is showing the freight flows and volumes of freight flow as cross the country, and as you can imagine it is not surprising that the most freights going in and out of major metropolitan areas.
How we manage this continues to be a challenge moving forward in terms of keeping freight moving efficiently and safely and also using our resources on the enforcement side more effectively to target those that need more focus and more attention. This slide is another way to represent the data on the freight flows. This is a velocity chart, showing the speed, average speeds and those major corridors across the country. Again, it is important to keep in mind that from an efficiency standpoint obviously we want to make sure the roadways are safe to travel both for trucks and buses as well as the automobile drivers, but we also need to understand that everything we're doing from a safety and enforcement perspective does have an impact on the efficient movement of goods. We need to be cognizant of this in our activities and having the ability to target the high risk operators and less on the ones that are safer, let them continue to move down the highways.
So what does all this mean? From a government perspective, those of that you are on the line with government agencies, I think you're acutely aware of the budget situation that's going on in the country and in particular with the states. The government resources to help deal with this whole increase in volumes and vehicles is not keeping pace with the need, both in terms of labor as well as capacity to move the freight.
What this means is we really need to work smarter at how we do our work out in the field, and there are lots of ways, lots of different strategies we're employing to do that, a big piece of it is using data and analysis, obviously you just saw a glimpse of some of the data that's being used out there to help identify and target activities, but again making efficient use of resources and trying to focus our enforcement activities on those that need it. Technology is a big piece of that. It can serve on multiple fronts, both in terms of helping manage the freight flows, but more importantly to help advance the bar on in terms of safety, and helping act as a force multiplier for enforcement. Eyes and ears can't be everywhere, but we can use technology to help act as eyes and ears and give us more data, more information, to again target our activities to make them of the most value and the best use of the tax dollars.
The other issue that is important and we can't forget is typically a lot of the barriers to getting some of these things out there are institutional, not on the technology front, so it is important that as we're moving forward in executing on different enforcement strategies and safety strategies, it is a team effort, both at the state level in terms of various agencies, but also with working with the industry and helping to again make them understand what it is our goals and objectives are and making sure that they understand the expectations and what we're expecting of them out there on the highways.
That's my wrap up. I will turn it now to Amr if you want to take it from here.
Thank you, Jennifer. Good afternoon. I would like to add my thanks to FHWA for putting this together and inviting us in the presentation. My presentation will talk about the issues related to commercial vehicle tracking and data integration, and as you see there is the acronym ROCS underneath which basically stands for remotely operated compliance stations.
This is a concept we came up with in that what is normally referred to as virtual weigh stations, they're not really virtual because they are physical. They do exist, and our concept is these stations can do a lot more than just check weight, so we came up with this acronym, and we have built two of these stations, and in my presentation I will refer to these as we go.
In designing the stations, we had some primary design objectives. The first one is that they have to be operated completely remotely. In other words, it can be operated from anywhere, primarily because they can be located anywhere in both urban and also in rural settings.
Data integration is very important. We have to take all of this information and also they have to have the ability to be self healing meaning to a degree if something goes wrong for example they will acquire images, they'll keep the images and operate when the situation is returned back to normal. Talking about remote control, we have designed systems so that we can shut them down if there is an evaluation scenario which we found out to be an extremely important objective when we are talking about stations that there is no operator nearby that can perhaps reset it or trouble shoot it.
The very first station we built was 60 miles west of Tallahassee in Sneads, FL. We selected that location relatively close to another existing weigh station primarily as a data validation method for making sure that the information we are receiving at this station is valid and is true by checking the trucks that drive by about another mile down stream where the weigh station is.
This station remains the only main line weigh in motion station in Florida despite its being in operation about two-and-a-half years, working 24/7, and it has acquired -- we have acquired over 1 million records at highway speeds.
The next station we built which is a much bigger undertaking, we build that as the Port of Jacksonville, and this station was really designed to do a lot more the one in Sneads. It can measure growth weight or acquire gross weight, axle weight and spacing, pictures of vehicles, low resolution and high resolution, DOT number readers, container number shipping container readers, we are in the process of installing LPR reader, 3D dimensioning using lays to her find out height, width and depth, radio frequency identification in case it is applied, and also weather sensors to find out wind speed, potential for fog and so on.
Finally, the ability to do realtime enforcement by sending information wirelessly to an enforcement vehicle. The station itself, I will switch to the pointer, is basically located at the exit of the port as the trucks are exiting the island where the port is and go around the curve I am pointing to. The station itself is located somewhere around where I am pointing.
What does the station consist of? It consists of sensors that I refer to, and I will show you some pictures to talk to you a little bit more about what it has. We basically have this arm that carries a bunch of sensors, and I will zoom in closer to show them to you. The station itself or the enclosures are these that you can see here at the left of the image.
This is the mast arm. The sensors we use are Kistler weight sensors, the sensors are two sensors that are located spaced apart about 5 to 6 feet, and they give axle weights and also give us truck speeds. This is a slightly earlier picture. We hadn't built the mast yet, but this shows you where the station is relative to the weight sensors.
This is a close up of the actual station itself, and let me use my pointer to show you what we have here. This is an Enclosure where we keep our electronics. This is the Enclosure, and we have a battery of cameras. This is a camera pole. Based on the input we got from the security folks at the port, we installed a PTZ camera that gives them a ground perspective of what's going on around the station, very useful in case something were to happen or in an evacuation scenario and so on.
Over to the left you have the radar used in conjunction with the three-dimensional laser system. We also have hookups for the license plate reader. I will show you this in a few minutes. To the right we have here this camera I am pointing to is the DOT camera. Above that may be a little hard to see in this image, but above that there is the low resolution camera that takes images of the entire truck and above that is the weather station. And this is a close up of the camera. You can see here the zoom camera. You can see the DOT camera, and you can see here the low resolution camera.
Over at the mast arm you can see here this is the container camera that takes a picture of the back of the container and then reads it using OCR, and then to the right of that is the three-dimensional sensor which gives us the length, width and height.
This is the RFID antenna also connected to the mast arm. In this station we built it has a special feature in that we want it to tell the trucking public what their weight is for multiple reasons. One of them is as a test, but also more importantly as you know sometimes the containers weigh more than what is on the manifest, truckers end up getting tickets, and they go back and try to speak with the shippers, so we thought of providing this really more as a service to the truckers. Initially because the station is only on the right-hand side we thought we're going to put a sign that says truckers please use the right-hand lane. We were surprised actually that because of the availability of this service that the truckers are actually going out of their way driving in the right-hand lane to get a feel for the weight as they're exiting the port.
We made a point to say this is a test program to make sure we're telling the truckers that our objectives also to provide useful information to the truckers and it is not only just enforcement. Of course it can also play that role in a different installation.
This is the sign itself in operation, and it shows the truckers their weight as they are driving by. That takes me to the slide here. This slide is an overall framework of basically what are the pieces, and how do these pieces work together I will explain it briefly. Basically the trucks drive over a bunch of weight sensors and a weight image, weight sentence is transmitted to the main computer which I am pointing to.
Once the main computer receives that image, that sentence, they know that the truck is approaching, and they know the speed. It immediately informs the DOT computer that captures the DOT image, the container computer that captures the container image, the dimensioning sensor and the DMS of an impending truck and respective information needed. Once the truck passes by the systems acquire the images they're supposed to acquire depending on what images they're supposed to acquire. They do the recognition on them. They send it back to the main computer, the main computer assembles all of this information, and this ships it over to our server where the data is actually fused and assembled as I will explain in a few minutes. Of course on the right-hand side you have the array of cameras connected to the system.
This is just an image showing you what the three dimensioning system looks like, the type of information it gives you, information related to dimensions, and let's take a look at the primary objective of this.
What is the data that we are collecting and what can we use it for? Why is it important to integrate this data? Why is this important for freight mobility to ensure that we have uninterrupted efficient flow of freight? I am listing here or will list as we speak benefits of this data. What can we do with it? For example, it is very useful to know when truckers come to the port how long do they stay. Once they exit the port, what roads do they take to the ultimate destination, so we actually have a project that we will start, and it is a unique project in terms of using container numbers to actually track freight movement over the freeways, so this is one benefit.
Of course we have the benefits of enforcement, making sure that it is a fair playing field, that everybody is playing with the same rules. The enforcement or the security has obvious applications. We know, for example, what time a truck is supposed to arrive, what time to be in a certain location, perhaps if there is a delay, it can be used for planning of freeways, design of freeways, depending on expected traffic. It can be used for asphalt mix design by providing actual loads and actual speeds rather than modeled speeds, and equivalent axle weights and so on.
I discussed already road design, curve design, and the like, and roadway use pricing where you can base the pricing of the road on congestion and times of use that. This takes me to the part that talks about what do we do with this data once is arrives here at the server. The data warehouse basically brings all the information in the application you see in front of you on the screen. An example of how this data would look like, all of the pictures I show in the presentation are captures of the actual system in operation except for a picture I refer to later. This is an example of a report produced. We worked at the port of Jacksonville to see how we can work with the information.
In this case we have the July 22nd, 2008, at the 11:28:58 in the morning we had a truck go by carrying container 950072, DOT number 003213, grossing 34,140 lbs, doing 36 miles an hour, and we have additional information that will tell us, for example, what additional information pictures and so on.
This is the actual capture screen, and in this screen you can see where I am pointing at is a live image export, and this is the two images of the three that we take for the truck that was last captured. Below that you have information related to the gross weight, ID, speed, axle weight, axle spacing, on the right-hand side you can see the information that was taken from the 3D sensor, the width, height and length of the truck, below that is the DOT number that was read by the DOT camera system, OCR, and then sent to the main computer from there to the server, and then below that the container number, TRBU 232 and so on.
This is an example of the three images of that very same truck you saw earlier. These are low resolution images, on purpose they are low resolution because the objective is to be able to send them wirelessly in a short period of time to an enforcement vehicle that will be standing close by away from the station, to make sure that the traffic is being monitored, or in a strategic location where multiple stations can actually monitor by a couple of enforcement vehicles.
This is an example of the DOT camera system, the system reads looks at the truck as it is passing by after it knows there is a truck that is coming. It reads the information, produces an OCR record, ship it is to the main computer, and that same computer of course takes it and sends it to the server.
This is an example again of an actual image taken by the DOT camera. As you can see here, the DOT number which is actually from a technical point of view is a hard thing to do, it can be locate anywhere on the side of the truck. All it has to be is legible as the regulations say, but no specification for font, location, color, contrast and so on.
Next system is the container reading system. That container receiving system you can see again we build this, it is basically more or less the same depth of the software running the various applications. You can see here instead of DOT it is doing container reading, and in that case is shows the container that was read and that is in turn shipped to the sheriff serve -- server. That shows you a close up that shows you the image taken, shows you also this that image the reason I selected that some of the complications related to reading containers when you have shadows that perhaps can cover some of the numbers depending on the location of the sun.
This is an extension that we would like to do which is to also add chassis numbers and in addition to license plates because we design the whole system from the ground up we can add these things easily by just of course changing the camera system, the same triggering system, can be used in any of these applications.
This is a current development. We have not yet completed that. We are working on it but working on an LPR system using variety of different lighting conditions, and this is still ongoing work at Jaxport. This is an example of an image that was taken. It is perhaps useful to say that all of these are taken speeds ranging from about 35 to 45 miles per hour for the speeds weigh station the speeds are upwards of 62 to 75 miles an hour. And we're working with Prism and as you know, major piece of information that Prism needs is the DOT number and hence our DOT system reading system. Now, I have been talking about data integration, haven't really shown you how it looks like. This is how it looks like. This is an application that can be installed on any computer. It has the information to go access the server, and once you access the server, you can work in what's called current mode as I am pointing or query mode. In current mode you say show me all the truck that is have passed in the last let's say 15 minutes or in query mode you can say show me all the trucks that pass two days ago between the hours of 12 and 3 that had a weight exceeding 80,000 pounds or show me only the violators weight or any type of violation that appeared in the last 30 days at that location, and that will bring in the images of thumb nails as you can see on the right-hand side. On the left-hand side you can see the actual vehicle, the information related to that vehicle, DOT number, and so on.
The next image is really just the same information I have written here simulated. That's the only image in the entire presentation that was not taken from an actual real operating scenario. The reason is I am just showing you can also incorporate the license plate reading chassis number, all that stuff which we're still working on. To give you an idea about the sensitivity of the cameras we are using and the operations we do on them, this is a very dark picture as you can see. There is nothing wrong with your computer. It is indeed a dark picture with manipulation. This is how it looks like and indeed this image was read, DOT number was read correctly in this case.
This just shows you the types of challenges that you face reading DOT numbers when they have reflective backgrounds and so on. What else? What sort of data you can have? Because we are collecting all this information and because we are archiving it, you can see what how it was average weight, vary per month, what are the number of trucks, the different hours of the day. You can see a slight dip that happens around rush hour at the port of Jacksonville. You can see, for example, the speed of the trucks and different hours of the day, and you can see number of violations and so on.
This is the last slide in the presentation, and what I just wanted to show here is the incorporation of a weather station. This can be very useful in situations where you have perhaps one of these stations in a remote location in a mountain pass where you are concerned maybe about the existence of fog, so if you relate the current temperature to the do you point, you can know whether there is fog and warn truckers or reduce speed and so on. That brings me to the conclusion of my presentation, exactly 20 minutes, and thank you for the opportunity, and I turn it over to Joe Crabtree.
Thank you. I know we have a number of questions put in there. We will get to those at the end of the webinar. We're now going to move on to Joe Crabtree of the University of Kentucky Transportation Research Center.
Thank you, Jennifer. I would like to express my appreciation to Federal Highway Administration for setting this up and all you fine folks for dialing in. Jennifer did send us an attendee list, and I saw a lot of familiar names on there, so I appreciate the opportunity to do this. My goal today is to talk to you about a concept for which there is a lot of work going on; the concept is called universal ID. I am going to give you a little bit of background on the concept of universal ID and give you a status report. If you will bear with me, for those of you not familiar with the term, I will provide a definition of that as we move forward.
Let's talk a little about roadside enforcement activities. Again, I know am preaching to the choir for many of you, but for most enforcement operations it is physically impossible to stop and check every truck. Nor would you really want to do that from an efficiency standpoint as far as the free flow of commerce. So, enforcement personnel have to continually make decisions on which trucks should stop and which may proceed. That decision process is called "screening," and the objective of screening is to focus our enforcement resources on the noncompliant or the high-risk motor carrier or vehicle.
Roadside identification is obviously critically important. If we're going to focus our enforcement resources on those high-risk carriers and vehicles, we need to have information to make those decisions. In order to do effective screening we must have pertinent information about the company or vehicle, and getting that information starts with identifying the vehicle and/or the motor carrier. So identification is really what drives our process of being able to screen commercial vehicles effectively.
Let's look at a little bit of history. This need to identify vehicles at the roadside is not a new revelation. We have recognized that need for many years, and we have instituted numerous requirements for identifiers on commercial vehicles. I have listed some examples here; license plates, DOT numbers, and in years past we had ICC numbers, we have required company names, that kind of information. We've had various special plates, placards, decals, those types of things. They all have one thing in common. All the identifiers we have required on commercial vehicles over the years were designed to be read by a human observer.
The problem with that is that trying to screen trucks based on these manual, human-readable identifiers is difficult, expensive, and largely ineffective. As a result of that, most trucks pass through our enforcement facilities anonymously. In fact, at most locations in the country (most weigh stations at least), for the vast majority of truck that pass through, the only thing checked on the trucks is weight.
In addition, trucks who want to avoid enforcement contact can generally do that. They can do it by taking alternate routes to where they don't come through the enforcement facilities or by choosing to travel when the enforcement staffing is not present.
So the gist of that, the summary of that, is that we really have little success in focusing our enforcement resources on the noncompliant or high risk carriers and vehicles. That is the case in our current environment. What we have seen in recent years is the emergence of technologies that can provide automated identification of commercial vehicles, and I have listed a couple of examples here.
One type of automated identification technology is what I call transponder-based systems. Think of it as radio frequency identification. These systems are used for electronic screening at weigh stations--many of you are familiar with NORPASS, Prepass, Green Light, those programs--and also used for international border crossings and electronic toll collection. The other technology that has emerged is optical character recognition, technology such as license plate readers and U.S. DOT number readers. We have those in Kentucky as well. We're evaluating them at three weigh stations in Kentucky, with plans soon to install a fourth.
What is the current status of automated identification? With regard to the transponder-based systems they are widely deployed, and they have proven themselves to be accurate, reliable and inexpensive. The downside of transponder-based systems is that they rely on voluntary participation, and only a fraction of all trucks in the U.S. participate in these programs. So, the noncompliant and high-risk carriers continue to operate anonymously.
With the other technologies, the OCR systems, those systems read current identifiers on the trucks, so they don't depend on the motor carriers volunteering or enrolling in a program. Many states, including Kentucky, are installing and evaluating optical character recognition systems. So they do offer some value. The major drawback is they just don't work very well. What we're trying to do here is use technology to read identifiers that weren't designed to be read automatically. They were designed to be read by human beings, and so we're force-fitting technology to a task, and it can do it up to a point. Basically they just don't work very well. They also tend to be expensive, which would hinder any kind of widespread deployment. If you wanted to deploy a lot of these systems to spread your enforcement coverage out, the expense of these OCR systems would hinder that.
The fundamental question when you look at the situation, where we are, and what our goal is, the fundamental question that I have posed here is this one: "Is it time to transition from the old manually-read identifiers such as license plates and numbers painted on doors to a new, electronically-readable identifier on every truck?" And that's where the term "universal ID" comes in. That's what that term is referring to. When we say universal ID, we're talking about having an electronically readable identifier on every truck.
Another way of phrasing that same question is this: "Do we need to update our identification requirements for commercial vehicles in order to keep pace with changes in technology?"
Here are some of the benefits that we would see with universal ID, I have a slide for government and a slide for the motor carrier industry. On the government side we would see more effective and efficient screening. We would be able to make better use of our personnel, and truly focus our enforcement resources on the high-risk carrier. We would provide more consistent enforcement coverage. We would be able to monitor more routes and not just have our enforcement concentrated on our interstates. It would become harder for noncompliant carriers to avoid enforcement, which would allow to us provide more consistent tax collection, where everybody is paying their fair share. We would be able to improve safety, provide better protection of our highway infrastructure, and improve Homeland Security.
From the standpoint of the industry, we would create a more level playing field. We would make it more difficult for anyone to shortcut the requirements, so again everybody must play by the same rules. We would have a better revenue base, with everyone paying their fair share of taxes and fees to where we would have less possibility of revenue shortfalls which might result in tax increases or fee increases. If everybody is paying their fair share, we have a better revenue base. We would have streamlined operations at enforcement locations, with safe and legal trucks being able to avoid stops and delays. As a result, we would have fuel and time savings associated with that.
We would have improved safety and potentially reduced the need for deceleration, acceleration, diverging and merging at enforcement locations, and less need to stop trucks on the shoulder to perform checks. If we can identify those trucks electronically while the trucks are moving, we can do the checks while the vehicle is in motion and have less need to stop trucks in order to perform these checks.
We should see improved condition of the roadways as a benefit to the industry. Fewer overweight trucks means less pavement damage. We would also, as I said before, have a better revenue base which provides the potential for improved maintenance of our highways.
What would the universal ID look like? It could look like a lot of different things. There are many options. I have listed a few here. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It could be something as simple as a uniform machine readable license plate, could be a transponder like is used currently for NORPASS or PrePass or the electronic toll collection systems, could be an advanced transponder integrated with the on-vehicle systems, could be a transponder built into the license plate or a transponder built into a windshield decal. There are many others: I just listed these as examples.
Just to maybe reiterate a point here, universal ID is not a new idea. Actually in June of 1999 we here at the Kentucky Transportation Center did a report for what was then the federal highway administration office of motor carriers on -- it was a needs assessment and technology evaluation for roadside -- should say roadside identification actually--of commercial vehicles. Two of the recommendations in that report dealt with this topic of universal ID. We recommended conducting an assessment of the feasibility of placing an electronic identifier on every truck and recommended convening a stakeholder forum, primarily to document specific concerns of the motor carrier community regarding electronic identification technologies. Again, I put that up there just to say this is not a new concept. It has been around for at least ten years.
That's all pretty much background on universal ID. I want to talk to you about recent developments. In 2007, FMCSA formed an ad hoc team called the roadside ad hoc team (the initial name was the roadside identification ad hoc team), and under the auspices of that team a concept paper was developed. The title is listed there: "concepts/scenarios for roadside identification of commercial vehicles." The subtitle was "developing a vision for the future where every truck can be identified electronically." The paper included background information on having an electronic identifier on every truck, the fundamental question I talked about a few slides earlier, and some concepts and scenarios for what the electronic identifier might look like. The first half of this presentation that I gave today pretty much follows along with the information that is in that concept paper.
That paper was discussed and refined by the ad hoc team, and was presented in numerous forums in order to gather feedback, with the primary intent (to the extent we could) to try to get feedback from the motor carrier industry. I have listed some examples there of places where we presented this paper. We also made phone calls from here at the center to numerous industry representatives that we had contact with in order to request feedback on a one-on-one basis. Interestingly enough, one of the places this concept paper was presented was in the ITS committee of the commercial vehicle safety alliance. I presented the paper there with the intent of just gathering additional feedback on the paper, but the ITS committee decided they wanted to take action on it. They looked at that fundamental question of do we want to move forward on this and they actually passed a resolution. That resolution went to CVSA's executive committee where it was passed there as well, and the resolution was to petition FMCSA to require an electronic identifier on every truck. CVSA prepared and circulated a draft petition letter. In March of last year, CVSA's ITS committee reviewed the draft letter, thought it needed to be simplified, and passed a motion to do so. The ITS committee formed a subcommittee to work on the letter and to simplify it, and the subcommittee completed its work last month, January of 2009. The letter was considered by the full ITS committee last month, about four weeks ago.
The ITS committee sent the letter back to the executive committee for action, and also asked the executive committee to seek input from CVSA's associate advisory committee before taking action. These discussions will take place at CVSA's spring workshop in Louisville in early April.
Just real quickly, I'm going to highlight what is in the current CVSA recommendations. What CVSA is recommending is that 49 CFR390.21 be amended to require every interstate commercial motor vehicle to be equipped with an electronic device capable of communicating a unique identification number when queried by a roadside system. I listed bullets there describing what is included in the CVSA recommendation. They recommend it be a simple, low cost, decal-type device, with each device assigned to a specific vehicle, each device having a unique ID number, and the device being mounted on the inside of the windshield. FMCSA should specify the frequency and nonproprietary protocol, devices cannot be transferred from one vehicle to another, existing wished mounted devices will satisfy the requirement but only if they meet all the specifications. When they issue the specification if there are devices out there that already meet those specifications, those devices will meet the requirement and they won't have to add an additional device to the truck.
We will associate the identification number of each device with a specific truck in the safety and fitness electronic records (SAFER) system. The process for actually issuing the devices and getting them registered in SAFER will be determined by FMCSA based on an assessment of the cost, benefits, et cetera. I have listed a couple options there. It could be the responsibility of state agencies or could be the responsibility of the private sector.
Extension of the federal requirement to intrastate carriers would be a state by state decision. The intent is for the devices to support multiple roadside operational concepts, but only if that is consistent with the requirement for simplicity and low cost. The target is to have full compliance by January 2012.
I won't go through all of these. We listed issues and research needs. These are listed in the CVSA letter. These are things that FMCSA has been asked to research in coming up with the details of the specification. I won't spend time on those right now.
I will mention a couple of frequently asked questions. How do we envision the electronic identifier being used? Just as an example, in Kentucky we would envision if we had an electronic identifier in every truck, we would probably put a reader on every weigh station ramp in Kentucky and co-locate it with our weigh in motion system so we would get the weight and ID of every vehicle as it came through our weigh station and be able to do fully automated screening on those trucks on the ramp. We would also incorporate these readers into our virtual weigh station concept. So we would install a weigh in motion system and a roadside reader at various locations across the state to do virtual weigh stations.
Just to let everybody know, this effort described here for universal ID is not the ultimate goal. I think the ultimate goal is defined by programs like the wireless roadside inspection initiative and commercial vehicle infrastructure integration. Those programs define the technology that's going to be in the truck in the future, but most people agree we're really looking ten to fifteen years out for any kind of universal deployment of those technologies. What we're really looking at here is an interim solution. It does not replace programs like NORPASS and PrePass. Those transponders are more sophisticated, they have driver signaling capabilities, and they are an order of magnitude more expensive. The tags we're looking at with this universal ID requirement will be on the order of $1 to $2 per device. I will skip ahead because my time is done.
We can address some of these frequently asked questions during the Q&A session if we want to do that. I don't want to take up any more time, so I will stop there. I believe Dan is next.
Thank you, Joe. Yes, we'll move onto Dan Shamo of URS who is going to give our final presentation for today.
Thank you very much. Thank you for the opportunity to present here today. I will talk a little bit about some basics about what a weigh station is here. Basically a weigh in motion scale is a device embedded in the pavement that weighs vehicles passing at highway speeds. Typically they're used by planners and other people to schedule roadway life cycle and design pavements and such. To upgrade a weigh-in motion scale to a virtual weigh station or what I call "virtualizing" the scale, we need to add communication equipment, a field grade computer and usually a digital camera although the camera is not absolutely necessary in some applications.
The new configuration enables us to identify truck weight violations in realtime and also to post process the data to get summary information as well so that the small percentage of carriers I should say are breaking the rules can be identified. What we found is that the majority of the carriers are complying with the rules. It is just a small number creating the problem.
Digital imaging is used so officers can identify the carrier down stream much easier, and there are other uses for the images as well. To make the system more effective we can add supporting equipment like a central operating system that manages the data if a state would have 20 to 50 of these systems. This could be quite a daunting task to try to handle manually.
One point I would like to make, I noticed in a question brought earlier - a virtual weigh station is not used for citations, it is used for screening purposes. That's an important distinction. The accuracy of weigh in motion scales is generally not high enough to issue a citation and have it hold up in court. They are accurate enough however to identify suspect vehicles and even go to the extent of which axles on those vehicles are at fault.
Here is an example of a Kistler Scale that you also saw in one of the earlier presentations. They're fairly inconspicuous in most cases. Here is an inspection site for roadside enforcement. This pavement was built for this purpose on U.S. 24 near Ft. Wayne, Indiana and designed to provide a safe working environment for the roadside inspections. However, the majority of roadside inspections are generally accomplished along the shoulders of the pavement.
I just want to show this. This is really a nice way to handle that. If you have never seen a roadside enforcement take place, this is that it looks like - like bathroom scales. A vehicle is pulled over to the side, and these are placed in front of the tires. Then the trucker is asked to move onto them, and each individual axle is weighed. From that data you can calculate the gross weight, axle weight and any bridge formula violations which if you're not familiar with that, is a measure of how the loads are distributed on the truck. Not only does it have to be legal weight, but it has to be distributed properly as well.
Here is an example of the digital image capture. You have seen others earlier today. That pretty much is what a virtual weigh station is and how it is built around the framework of a weigh in motion scale. I would like to talk a little bit about why we go to the trouble of doing this. Fundamentally the purpose is to extend the life of our roadway infrastructure. Roadways typically deteriorate for two reasons, either environmental or from excessive loads. We can't do too much about the weather although the engineers have done a great job of providing stronger and stronger pavements and sealants and so forth, but our topic today is to see what we can do about excessive loading. It is a significant problem. I would like to show you that here. This is a simple diagram that shows a relationship in terms of pavement damage, between cars, legal trucks, and overweight trucks. Cars do almost no damage whatsoever. We can build a road that would last 1,000 years, the Romans did it, and we probably could, too, if we didn't have overweight trucks. Way back I think it was two centuries ago a man named Vilfredo Pareto stated that for events roughly 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes. In our case it is probably more like a 90/10 ratio because it is a fairly small percentage of trucks causing the damage. As you can see from the diagram here the amount of damage is exponential. It is not a linear function. It has been calculated to be a fourth power exponential function which is substantial. What that means is that a relatively small increase, a few thousand pounds extra on the truck, can translate into a substantial amount of damage to the pavement itself. In some work we did for the state of Minnesota we were able to demonstrate the if we could pull off even a small percentage of these overweight trucks, we can get a return on investment of at least 3 to 1 and realistically that's probably somewhere between 3 to 1 and 10 to 1, which is a very high return on investment for a fairly small initiative.
The pavement damage often looks like this. It can also look like wheel rutting, and shoving near the stop bars, at traffic signal intersections. You have all seen those where the pavement gets shoved forward. A lot of that has to do with excessive axle loading.
Traditionally the focus has all been on enforcement. Typically there are three types of enforcement, fixed scales are placed at port of entry sites near the state borders. I am not sure why that was ever done in reality because it makes the assumption all overweight trucks come from outside of the state, and I take exception to that, I guess. Mobile scales are like portable fixed scales. They're fairly heavy duty. They are trailer mounted, and they are positioned along a ramp usually where they pull off vehicles one at a time and run them through the scales much like they do the fixed scales. Roadside enforcement, you saw a picture of that earlier, is where we use the portable scales and this enables inspections to be done in many locations. Most states are using crews for roadside enforcement using the small portable scales. They can put them in the trunk of the car, and only one truck is detained at a time which is kind of nice.
There are some inherent problems with each of these forms of enforcement, however. Recent study conducted by Purdue University found the chances of catching an overweight truck at a fixed scale diminish to near zero in the first fifteen minutes after the scale is opened, and that is primarily due to the CV network. I think it was brought up in an earlier presentation, the discrepancy between roadside enforcement and fixed scale enforcement. A covert approach can lead to a much higher violation rate. After about 15 minutes the word gets out up to 50 miles ahead and the truckers wait it out or find an alternate route. Mobile scales are cumbersome and not exactly covert. They suffer from the same problem within 15, 20 minutes word gets out and they lose their effectiveness as well. Roadside enforcement is more convert and gets around the issue of the CB radio network but does require the officer to pull a vehicle over and it is not exactly the safest environment to be working in.
Virtual weigh station strategies attempt to resolve some of the issues. They can dramatically increase the odds of a roadside inspection resulting in a citation because you are more likely to pull over a vehicle that is suspect. Another way of looking at this, and I have spoken with a number of the inspectors on this, is that they do not like pulling over a truck and weighing it and finding out it was legal. It is embarrassing, and it does create some friction, and so if they pull a truck over with a high confidence that it is going to be overweight, that really helps.
Virtual weigh stations, and I think this is probably one of the biggest advantages, enable the enforcement officers to target the times and locations when they should be out there. There is no need for them to be out when there are no overweight trucks present, and often times that is the case. It can be useful for addressing truck evasion around fixed scales. They can be used at specific roadways, a lot of times a roadway and all the associated bridges will be built around the same time. For example you can find bridges all built in the 1940's. You may have a roadway with five or ten of these. One virtual weigh station can protect the whole batch of them by putting it anywhere on the roadway network to identify what the loads are, and what is happening to the life cycle of those particular structures.
They also provide a rich source of data for performance measures beyond just weight compliance. For example, freight movement tracking can be identified which is very helpful for commodity studies and capacities to allow loads with permits. All states have been getting under a lot of pressure to increase their permit capabilities and this provides a defense for that case. There is a difference between predicted versus actual pavement life cycle, this is useful because some states require pavement warranties. One weigh in motion scale is a way of telling how fast that pavement is being consumed.
I would like to make a point here. There is a difference between weight enforcement and weight compliance. It has to do with weight compliance being a broader term. Compliance uses enforcement, but enforcement is not the only thing. We typically have been using enforcement for years. Weight compliance has to do more with improving behavior on an overall perspective, and there are other strategies other than just enforcement. I would like to think of our program in terms of weight compliance versus weight enforcement, and on this slide we talk about how enforcement has not delivered the goods in many respects, the fixed scales are very expensive and easily circumvented. . They don't address intrastate movements where there are a lot of overweight movements. Certain commodities run heavy. What I call blind enforcement is just picking a truck and weighing it. This does not have a high hit rate. Compliance programs on the other hand are more effective because the real goal is compliance, not fines. You can have all the fines we get from enforcement, and they do not even begin to recover the damage that is done to the pavement, so it is better if we can encourage better behavior. What we're seeing in the virtual weigh station arena is habitual offenders as our real target. I mentioned a small percentage, less than 10% are running overweight, and of those 10%, a very high number of those are the same trucks over and over again, so by dealing with those on an individual basis, you have a high return on investment -- I call that the low hanging fruit in a weight compliance program. It is also nice not to have to disturb the legal trucks.
Here is what they bring to the table: they are more covert, much lower cost than building the large facilities, but I should make a point here -the weigh stations, the permanent weigh stations have other purposes, and I am not advocating they be eliminated. I am just saying that they are only one tool in a whole tool kit. They're ubiquitous. They can be placed all around, particularly if you have areas of your state that have high volumes of heavy commodity movements - certain ag products, coal, steel, concrete, so forth, tend to run heavy.
It is easier to find those habitual offenders using this approach. On this slide there is a third bullet called zero enforcement opportunities. This has to do a lot with weight compliance programs. What I mean by zero enforcement opportunities, instead of weighing trucks and punishing them with a citation, if you know who the habitual offenders are in particular, it is possible to contact them by letter or by phone or whatever and try to encourage behavior. I will use the word "encourage" with quotes on it. That can be done by asking them. This could be done by approaching the industry groups and asking them to self enforce their own group, their own players. It can also be done by visiting them onsite and running various kinds of inspections and audits. It can also be done by focusing attention on the particular vehicles owned by a particular carrier when they're known to be coming out of a barrow pit or something like that.
We talked about performance measures earlier. Performance measures are becoming a more and more important topic every day. There is a lot of very good data generated by the virtual weigh stations. For example, you can improve the "health" of the scale by using the data from the virtual weigh station to tell you the level of accuracy of you are finding. Beyond that, I would like to think of taking a weigh in motion scale and turning it into a Swiss Army knife. There are a lot of other things you can do with it. These three here are fairly straight forward:
The road weather systems have been around for years. There is no risk whatsoever those can be done. That was mentioned earlier.
Infra red temperature sensors are coming of age. It is possible to measure tire temperature and wheel hub temperature and look for bad breaks and bad tires, and this is useful for the trucker themselves who may not know they have a problem.
Radiation detection has been proposed, and there is work going on in that area. I am not familiar with a lot of it, but I do know it is going on. There are a lot of reasons why that could be useful. One of them I thought was interesting is that there is research going on at Argonne National Laboratories where they are trying to identify different cargo based on the radiation signatures that are emitted. Everything gives off some sort of radiation, I understand, and by recognizing that you can tell a little about what the commodity is. There is a very good chance the illegal disposal of radioactive material is seriously going on and this might be a way of kicking that off as well.
Beyond those three which I think have fairly high probabilities of success,, there are even further ones that could take place. We might be able to look at exhaust emissions, for example, measure air quality at specific points, particularly around urban areas that have non-attainment areas. I have seen enforcement officers stand next to a truck and identify a brake leak just by listening to it. They know there is a certain hissing sound given off. I believe it is possible that a highly sensitive microphone might be able to identify and a computer might be able to identify leaking air brakes, so there may be other things we can do as well. Sky is the limit as far as I am concerned. The more things we can build around the WIM cabinet, the more valuable they become.
To date there have been a number of accomplishments. I think there has been quite a bit of progress made. We "virtualized" a few scales in a number of states. We have developed guidelines for inspection sites. There are a lot of characteristics that should be considered. When you are building a WIM, you should consider where do you want to inspect and is it safe and convenient to get to and are there other amenities that are needed. Creating weight compliance strategic plans is helpful. As I mentioned before, punishment by citation is not the only way to get trucks to stop running overweight. There are other tools. The data can be used to estimate the amount of damage, and it can be useful for planning purposes and guarantees that the problem isn't increasing over time. Enforcement data can be used to calibrate the WIMs. This is always a problem, a weigh in motion scale needs to be calibrated periodically, and with enforcement officers weighing specific trucks, the data can be fed back to the WIM on a manual or automatic basis and calibrate them and keep them fine tuned.
Night imaging systems were addressed earlier. There are issues with getting images at night, but you always get the weights. The WIM doesn't care whether it is light or dark, but getting the image off the side or the front of the truck can be an issue in certain weather conditions. Internet access is typically necessary unless there is a wireless system in place, and dimensional enforcement is becoming a significant issue. This could be very valuable for structures that have low heights and restrictions as you're approaching work zones, for example, where they have narrow lanes.
Where do we go from here? I am proposing two general categories of things.
A multi-state consortium would be a great idea in my opinion. It would help to standardize central operating systems that states could share data and basically share each other's border facilities. If you had a weigh in motion scale near your border, heading outbound, the inbound state might be interested in monitoring that site just as if it were its own. That can be done with simple agreements, letter agreements actually, memorandums of understanding. Performance measures, all sorts of performance measures. I don't want to get into that today, but there are a lot of things you can utilize the data for.
There is still a need for a number of areas of research. The damage estimation is a little tricky, and it can be refined particularly where we're talking about bridge environments.
Additional enhancements as I mentioned. We're only limited by our imagination, and I think there is a lot that we can do as well with performance measures. I guess this slide says it all. We have come a long way. I believe that is true although we are still weighing trucks with scales. If you have any information, I would be more than happy to speak to anyone one-on-one at a later date. I think we're getting close to our Q&A time here, so I will hand over the floor.
Thank you, Dan. We're going to start off the question and answer session. We're going to try to get you out on time, 2:30, so hopefully we'll be able it get through the questions quickly because I know there is a number of questions there. I will go in order.
Starting with the question for Steve. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study completed by FMCSA in 2007 suggested that 87% of large truck crashes were attributed to Driver Factors, 10% to Vehicle Factors, and 3% to Environmental Factors. How do these causation factors match up to our national enforcement efforts, i.e. what percentage of enforcement efforts are dedicated to roadside vehicle performance, versus CRs, training, driver inspections, etc?
Good question. There are about 3.4 million roadside inspections done a year. They are fairly evenly split between level one, two and three. Almost one third down the middle. Compliance Reviews are in the neighborhood of 12,000 a year country wide, two-thirds of those are done by federal people, the rest are done (the other third) by the states. As far as training goes, there is about $2.5 million for training allocated every year of the $300 million in total for various CMV safety grant programs (of which MCSAP is a part) that goes to the states. The states use their own money for training as well and have their own training programs. How this relates to the large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS)? I think what we have seen over the last couple of years and part of this was precipitated by 9/11, but part of it was also precipitated by the LTCCS and other studies looking at driver behavior and performance as well as changing to the hours of service rules. About five years ago the inspection demographic -- about half of it was level one inspections. Now we see more of a shift to level 2s and particularly level 3s which are driver/credential inspections, and we have seen a lot more focus on traffic enforcement activity over the last couple of years as well. If you look at the data, of those 3.4 million roadside inspections, there are about 800,000 traffic enforcement contacts associated with those, so there has been a pretty sizable movement in trying to focus more on drivers in part because of what the data is showing, but not also not losing sight of the fact that vehicle safety still very important. The other thing I will note is some of you on the phone probably have heard of the Comprehensive Safety Analysis for 2010 (CSA 2010) program that FMCSA is working on to reengineer the whole safety fitness and compliance assessment program. In part, CSA 2010 is decoupling the safety rating process from the compliance review process and integrating roadside data into the safety rating process on a more frequent (monthly) basis rather than whenever a carrier gets a compliance review. That's a movement that is happening right now. The other thing I will note is for the states that are on the line, many of you probably are aware of something called the driver information resource. This is a tool FMCSA recently has made available to states that basically is a targeting tool for drivers that is based on historical performance data that is being supplied through multiple data sources. It integrates various pieces of driver data and allows enforcement to focus more on drivers.
I think there are a lot of things happening to try and understand the different data, what it is telling us, and how we're shifting our programs to account for where the crashes are occurring.
Thank you. Amr, we have questions for you next. WIM doesn't always work well in urban environments due to low speeds leading to misclassification (2 vehicles read as 1). How is this compensated for in your WIM sensors?
That's a good question. We have actually built two systems so far. One of them you would classify as a high speed system, the other probably mother of a moderate speed. If you are talking about speeds of one mile per hour or five miles per hour, that is a problem, and there isn't really a very good way to get around it. We did make sure in the picking the location for the station at the port is that the speed is also both uniform and above about 10, 15 miles an hour where you can get an accurate read.
Great. We have another question, Amr, I believe this one is for you. What do you do with the imaging during bad weather conditions and at night?
Yes. I actually just responded privately. We are not imaging in night in our cases, but there are system that is can use infra red lighting which works in some applications, site lighting if appropriate can be used, bad weather, snow, heavy rains, all of these and I think Dr. Crabtree alluded to that, these are problem for any imaging scenario and very little you can do about that.
Thank you. I think this next one is for you as well. Are enforcement officers using the data as screening data and then re-weighing the trucks?
Both of the systems that we developed are not used right now in realtime enforcement if you will. The one up in Sneads was done more for validation and the one in Jaxport is more for data integration, so the answer is the system is able to do it. We have designed it that way, but we haven't tried it in that scenario yet.
Okay. We have another one for you. Will you be able to capture the HAZMAT placard? Is there a way to determine what the truck is hauling?
That is a good point. We do have ways that we can do it. We have not worked on if, but there are ways that can use image extraction and so on and use the color to determine what is in the truck, but I don't have personal experience in that, and we haven't tried that.
Okay. And what capture success rates do you see with LPR and USDOT readers at speeds of 60-65 mph?
I won't be able to respond because we're still developing that. I can answer DOT in our application we have used that at the ports, so the speeds are limited to about 50 miles per hour, and the average capture accuracy in our case for our system was about 65%.
Thank you. The next one I am not sure if this is for Amr or Joe. Do you compare license plate numbers and U.S. DOT numbers with actual state or national records?
We are setting the infrastructure to connect to Prism, but we haven't done that. That is a step that we do plan to do, but we haven't done that yet.
Okay. Thank you. Now I will move onto one for Joe. If the devices are mounted on windshields, how would a window replacement be handled?
That is a great question. That issue surfaced before and basically when this tag is the type of technology that we're recommending, if FMCSA pursued that approach, would become in essence a permanent part of the windshield when you install it. If you remove it, it disabled the tag. Replacing a windshield would entail replacing the tag. It is one of the reasons for choosing such an inexpensive technology that you would be adding $1 to $2 to the cost of replacement windshield.
Okay. And then we have two similar questions, what is your sense of the trucking industry's attitude towards universal ID systems and do you have a sense of how other jurisdictions will react to your suggestions of universal transponders?
Those are both great questions. With regard to the industry, one of the things I learned years ago is that you can't speak of the trucking industry as if they're just one voice, one person, it is a very diverse industry, and it is made up of individuals, and of course individuals have their own ideas about things and the way things ought to be done. I will say that I have actually documented a lot of the comments that have come in from our conversations with industry folks. The positive comments basically from the industry focus primarily on the level playing field, the folks that are out there doing things right, obeying the law, paying taxes, keeping the trucks safe. They want everybody to have to do that. They don't want unfair competition from other fly by night carriers out there cutting corners, so they really like that aspect of it. They like the safety aspect of it, the stronger revenue base with everybody paying their fair share. They like the efficiency aspect of it. They do have concerns. They're concerned technology like this could be used for example for knit picky speeding or log book violations. Could be an enabling technology for weight distance taxes at the state or the federal level. If the reader technology was only installed at weigh stations, it would simply focus more attention on the big interstate carriers, so that's one of their concerns. Those are examples. Again, the primary feedback I have gotten from the industry has been positive, but it is a cautious positive. It is, yes, we think this could do a lot of good, but there are issues we they'd to make sure we're sensitive to as we move forward. From the standpoint of the jurisdictions, the jurisdictional response has been extremely positive because there are a lot of jurisdictions out there right now trying to deploy technology to identify trucks, and most of us are using license plate reader and U.S. DOT reader technology, and it is expensive, and again while it is useful, it is certainly limited. It is expensive and for this application it simply does not work very well, so they're very excited about being able to deploy their ramp screening systems and virtual weigh stations at a much lower cost and higher level of performance.
Thank you. We have one more question typed in I think for Dan, but do you have to stop a truck to identify if it is a habitual offender or is there the idea of pictures?
No, what we're proposing is that using the U.S. DOT number which you can capture off the image, you would be able to identify that. From a given site what, we have observed is that the same vehicles keep showing up over and over again, and you can catch that from the images, yes. Particularly if you can read the DOT number on the side. Often times just a logo from the name that's on the side of the truck from the carrier is all you need, too. Depending on whether it is a local route or heavy interstate where you have a lot of trucks coming from cross country.
Okay. Thank you. I don't see anything else typed in at the moment. We have a few more minutes and we'll see if anybody has a question over the phone. If not, we'll close out. If the operator can give instructions on how to ask questions over the phone.
Operator: (Operator Instructions).
As people are trying to do this advance questions, this is Tom Kearney from the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations and I personally want to thank Steve, Amr, Joe and Dan for an outstanding job today. I appreciate the work you're doing in the advancing technologies for truck enforcement. I am sure our friends in the trucking community appreciate it as every minute spent in the long queue at a weigh station undergoing a traditional inspection is wasted fuel, air quality contamination that can be avoided and officer time that is really not well attributed. What you guys are doing and the hard work that you're advancing each of the three of you and Steve of course with your supportive enforcement activities across the nation is absolutely invaluable. The Federal Highway Administration, and I want to express my appreciation and support for what you're doing today. Thank you.
This is Tom Melville from the Indiana State Police. I just wanted to respond to the habitual driver question. I think it will depend on how the state legislature is, but in Indiana we have to physically be able to see the person and be able to identify them in court, so the photograph is not going to do us any good. We couldn't do anything by mail. We have to physically see the violation.
Thank you, Major. Excellent point. The answer I was trying to give on that was that to identify who those habitual offenders might be in the first place you would use this equipment, again, it is a screening tool. The actual citations would be issued of course from real world inspections either roadside or otherwise. Excellent point.
Thank you. We'll go ahead and close out today. Thank you to all four presenters and thank you to Tom Kearney of the Federal Highway Administration for pulling this webinar together today. Before we close I want to mention the freight peer to peer program. I have a slide showing on the screen. If you haven't done so already I encourage you to visit the peer to peer website and learn more about the program, but it is really just a way to puts public sector freight transportation professionals in touch with experts in the field and provides technical assistance in order to enhance overall freight skills and knowledge For more information you can go to the website, you can call the phone number or send an e-mail.
The next seminar is going to be held on March 18th and will be about freight corridor programs, This seminar as well as the April and May seminars are open for registration, and you can get to the registration page from the Talking Freight website which I have on a slide on your screen now where it says register for future seminars. I also encourage to you join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you haven't done so already. With that, thank you everybody in attendance. Thank you to our presenters, and we'll close out for today. Have a great rest of the day.