Saturday, August 15, 2009


I signed up for New York E-ZPass , an electronic toll collection system, in 2001. I used it on the infrequent occasions when I drove over one of the local toll bridges. When I recently drove to Baltimore and Denver I was impressed with how widely E-ZPass has spread. It was accepted south to Maryland and west to Illinois. The Ohio Turnpike was an exception but it is planning to adopt E-ZPass soon .

This got me to thinking about the future. It seems to me it would make a lot of sense to require every vehicle on public roads in the United States to have an E-ZPass like electronic tag. This would have obvious advantages for toll collection and law enforcement.

There might be objections from privacy advocates. However every vehicle is already required to display identification in the form of license plates. An E-ZPass like transponder is basically just an electronic license plate. And advances in automatic license plate recognition ( ALPR ) technology will increasingly allow vehicles to be tracked. Electronic tags will just make this simpler and more efficient.

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