Skip to comments.Some skeptical that tollway authority testing tracking technologies only for toll purposes
Posted on 10/05/2018 10:56:14 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
A freelance automotive journalist worries a testing site operated by the Illinois Tollway Authority could be for more than just testing automated tollway technology.
Paul Brian said hes noticed a site with various sensors on northbound I-294 for years with a sign that reads for testing purposes only.
Illinois Tollway Authority officials said the site is used for testing various sensors, but only for tollway purposes. The site, established in 2015, had an initial price tag of $2.7 million.
The Illinois Tollway has used the test site to study a range of systems some of which were adopted and some of which have not come to fruition, Illinois Tollway Authority spokesman Dan Rozek said. We believe the site has been a resounding success based on how many technologies we have actually tested.
He listed a variety of technologies having been or are being tested. Among them, the tollway tested cameras to read license plates for the purpose of assessing tolls for vehicles without transponders.
Well finish rolling out this new camera system soon, Rozek said. I should note this is tolling technology, not law enforcement technology.
Other technologies include antennas and other sensors Rozek said are only for assessing tolls.
Brian said he isn't convinced. He said he worries about stricter driving regulations being used to fill state and local coffers. In other places, advanced tracking technology and camera monitoring is already in place. For example, Britain has cameras that monitor a drivers' average speed over specific distances with a system that calculates average speed based on the time it took to travel between two points and then determines if the driver was speeding. Singapore plans to use GPS to track vehicles by 2020 to determine how much drivers must pay in road-use taxes.
Frankly I dont believe them, Brian said. I cant help but think that having the basic arithmetic ability of saying a vehicle traveling a certain amount of distance over a certain amount of speed and if you exceed that its an easy tap in plot for the computer to issue a ticket for you.
With the amount of debt state and local governments are in, Brian said he thinks using the technology for automatic point-to-point speeding tickets is way too tempting an apple for the regulators in Springfield to pass up as a revenue stream.
Weve got a state that is just awash in red ink that [policy makers] are looking for any means they can garner to raise revenue, Brian said.
Rozek said the tollway is also testing technologies to accept payments from other transponders from other states, testing transponder sticker tags on windshields to understand how accurately they record tolls on the system, and how to incorporate cellphone-based apps to help collect tolls.
Additionally, on an ongoing basis we test the computer code for the in-pavement loop technology we use to determine the number of axles of the vehicles passing through toll plazas, which in turn determines the appropriate toll rate to be assessed to each vehicle, Rozek said.
I know that theyre saying thats not their motivation, but experience leads me to believe that I dont believe them, Brian said.
Civil libertarian group Electronic Frontier Foundation keeps tabs on such technology. Senior staff attorney Lee Tien said rental car companies have issued speeding fees to customers driving too fast using such tracking technology. But for law enforcement it would not surprise me if someone were doing it now and if it were not that it would happen later, he said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Illinois already has point-to-point speed sensing technology it uses in certain construction zones.
Other automated technology used to track driving habits of motorists has also become a political issue in the upcoming November election.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has ads claiming his chief Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker, has proposed a vehicle-miles-traveled tax. Pritzker said that's not true, though he has said hes open to investigating a pilot program in Oregon that would do just that.
Tien said such technology is in the pipeline elsewhere and is politically controversial. He said the concerns are twofold for some who are really upset about the possibility that they think [if it] is politically feasible that well still have the gas tax but also have to pay the vehicle-miles-traveled tax, which to them they see as more taxation and also potentially more privacy invasion.
Tien said with the gas tax, consumers dont pay much attention when they pay the bill.
The gas tax, its something you don't fill out a return for, you dont separately pay, its part of the cost of your gasoline and people just don't think about it, Tien said.
That awareness changes if drivers were to all of a sudden start getting billed for every mile they drive.
When you implement something like the vehicles-miles-traveled [tax], its very, very upfront, Tien said. For every mile I drive that thing is ticking and Im paying for it.
Tien said if policy makers want to tax per mile, a less intrusive way is to physically check odometers, not install transmitters sending sensitive and private data back to the government.
The gas tax, its something you don’t fill out a return for, you dont separately pay, its part of the cost of your gasoline and people just don’t think about it, Tien said.........Oh,you think we don’t consider it? Hard not to when states are constantly wanting to raise it & we see no benefits from it.
[ a site with various sensors on northbound I-294 for years with a sign that reads for testing purposes only. ]
“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Eventually, the statement will be: “You’d like to be able to buy or sell, wouldn’t you? Will that be right hand, or forehead?”
Great pic. Keeper.
Where do folks think that they get the information on the freeways for the signs that tell you how many minutes to major exits/interchanges? They have to be calculating off of the toll tags to see how long it takes for specific cars to cover the distance, and then posting it to the electronic boards in near real time.
They are also used for checking for expired tags (1st hand knowledge) and as an aide in searching for stolen vehicles.
If they are saying that they are only used for toll purposes, they are lying.
“Where do folks think that they get the information on the freeways for the signs that tell you how many minutes to major exits/interchanges? They have to be calculating off of the toll tags to see how long it takes for specific cars to cover the distance, and then posting it to the electronic boards in near real time.”
In Californicator land, that data comes from our fast pass card/chips in a package and maybe other sources like our ever present cell phones.
At no point in history has any government ever wanted its people to be defenseless for any good reason ~ nully's son
Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping!
To get onto The Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping List you must threaten to report me to the Mods if I don't add you to the list...
Tollway technology is already perfected and online. We have it here in NC Raleigh 540 beltway. They only collect tolls on my side of town though. The suburbs.
Why “test” if the technology already exists? Florida has had this for years. Dumb ol’ FLariduh
I suspect that’s actually done using ordinary traffic cameras.
Oh, those 2 million dollar signs that inform drivers that the next exit is 12 minutes away? Yeah, you gotta have those. An absolute must...
Yikes, great cartoon. Or should I say “honest, factual, timely and prophetic”.
1) It’s not really a “test” (as you indicated) or
2) They’re actually testing - to see how much more money they can grab
I have never heard any other claim that these figures referred to "specific cars". That would not even be that helpful because highway conditions are constantly changing. The figures are determined/estimated by monitoring traffic flow everywhere along the highway at the same time.
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