Will automatic license plate recognition soon take the place of tollway RFID systems?

At least along MPTC-operated tollways
by Aris Ilagan for TopBikes.ph | Sep 8, 2021
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

After the attempted full implementation of the ‘no RFID, no entry’ policy that caused heavy traffic at toll plazas last year, you might be curious about how the interoperability between the two RFID systems used in Luzon—Autosweep and Easytrip—is taking shape.

According to Roberto Bontia, president and general manager of Cavitex Infrastructure Corporation (CIC), a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the tollway operator is continuously improving the electronic toll collection (ETC) system to ensure smooth traffic flow at toll plazas while at the same time complying with COVID-19 health protocols.

“I think we have to determine if we need to replace the (RFID) stickers,” Bontia said during a recent online press event. In fact, he confirmed that CIC is not upgrading its RFID-based ETC anymore.

Instead, the MPTC subsidiary is already migrating from the old system to automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), which uses smart cameras to instantly recognize the license plates of vehicles entering and exiting toll plazas.

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For the longest time, MPTC-owned facilities have been using the Easytrip RFID system, which is considered outdated compared with the Autosweep tag of SMC Tollways. This is why the interoperability between the two RFID systems continues to have issues.

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“[The use of ALPR] will help a lot. Kasi while the primary device for [vehicle] recognition in the system is the RFID, matching the ALPR with the account actually helps in the detection in the event na mag-fail yung sensors [of the stickers[,” the CIC head explained.

ALPR first saw action at some toll plazas along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). In May, it found its way to the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) C5-Link segment.

Bontia added that the new tech will soon be available at the main CALAX facility and, most likely, along other MPTC expressways. As of this writing, the ALPR serves as a backup to the RFID system in case the latter’s sensors fail. Once ALPR is fully implemented, though, the MPTC could have the upper hand over SMC Tollways as far as cashless toll payments are concerned.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on . Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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