A Mobile Electronic Toll Collection for E-Commerce Applications

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper establishes a new mobile electronic toll collection (m-ETC) by integrating mobile communication with radio frequency (RF) communication on microprocessor control with an e-commerce business model. A simple ETC system architecture and protocol for e-transactions from vehicles to toll stations is proposed to complete toll interaction on wireless environment. A software flow through Internet is developed to link from toll station roadside units (RSU) to car units. A car unit (CU) for vehicle, a pair of roadside units (RSU), and an e-Center are established. A data flow and an interaction protocol are created. The proposed m-ETC system can be applied to different toll/charge systems with appropriate hardware and software. Some simulation test results verify basic system performance on ETC applications. A new business model for the proposed m-ETC is organized and discussed with feasibility analysis in e-commerce demonstration.

Key words: Mobile e-commerce (m-commerce), Mobile and radio communication, Mobile electronic toll collection (m-ETC), e-Transaction, Circuit hardware

1 Introduction

Mobile communication has become a livelihood technology to be widely adopted for added value applications. While e-commerce is introduced to elevate daily commercial interactions from the conventional business concept, mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) is another trend to develop suitable technologies for new applications under free mobility condition. M-commerce is defined as a commerce behavior by mobile stations [12], [16]. Mobile stations include wireless phone, wireless handheld computer, laptop, personal message pager device and personal digital assistants (PDA) [3], [4]. M-commerce presents the function of personal mobility, operational flexibility, and interactive availability with various function capabilities. Due to the high population of mobile communication users, mcommerce is an emerging demand to those mobile users in the near future. In Taiwan, the National Communication Committee (NCC) has statistics report of 22.8 million mobile users in second quarter 2006. It is extremely high percentage on this 23 million population island (Site 1). In China, the official statistics has reported 487.4 million mobile users in first quarter 2007 from Internet news April 30, 2007. It is 38% of total population in China. The mobile phone users are still increasing in both areas, matching with the worldwide trend. As mobile communication has been well accepted by the users, mobile services should not only limited within personal communications, but also extended into wider added value applications in decreasing fare. Since mobile communication itself represents freedom from fixed locations, the adoption of mobile communication to transportation system is an emerging application.

Focusing on the development of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) [8], road information acquisition and data processing to road users are the most important role of study. In China, road construction and personal vehicle are two highest expansion and increase in the world. Total mobile phone users is much more than total vehicle numbers at present in China and Taiwan, or even possibly to the whole developed and developing countries. The use of mobile phones to enhance ITS is viable and feasible. Toll collection is adopted to facilitate further investments as a chain reaction to improve ground transportation system. How to adopt efficient toll collection methods will become the most concerns in the national transportation administration in China. Technologies on all different demands are studied and designed to fit the toll collection requirements. Among them, unmanned toll collection is one of the urgent issues to deal with and solve in many countries due to manpower cost. New methods from new technologies are developed to solve ITS problems.

Methods for toll collection have been developed since 1980's including microwave system, optical system and recent RFID system. …