E-GPS: Low Risk & High Reward

Does E-GPS have risks? Like any technology – like any human, group or corporate action, really – it does. But they are known and easily mitigated.

The first risk pertains to E-GPS’ dependence on the smartphone, a carry-in, self-powered device. While 99% or more of drivers of toll roads carry them, but on rare occasions, they may leave home without their phone, suffer a dead battery, or even purposefully turn it off or place the phone in some form of shielded compartment in the vehicle. These are all mitigated through account management approaches and the technology itself. To sign up, drivers enter their vehicle type, color, license plate and other identifying data, including payment data (note: customers can also ‘top-up’ their accounts with cash at retail locations, just as they do with prepaid mobile phones, Starbucks, etc.).

The data becomes part of a whitelist of validated and registered E-GPS customers which canbe sent daily to the agency. Comparing license plate images to the whitelist precludes any missed transactions.

The other mitigating factor is that smartphone adoption is in the high 90% level, particularly among users of toll roads. The smartphone is such a vital appendage that people are more likely to forget their purse or wallet than leave home without it.

The second possible risk relates to the fact that agencies use vendors to manage their Back Office. E-GPS may require an interface with that BOS and the vendor may not be interested in adding it because of unfamiliarity or fears of high costs. To address what is really a misunderstanding, GeoToll developed a free software development kit (SDK) in Android andiPhone operating systems. The SDK helps third-party providers and operators install/integrate the E-GPS functionality. This also facilitates new applications or the reuse ofthe agency’s current mobile account management app – all without sharing private information about customers. Agency customers remain theirs, and drivers can keep using the toll management app they know – now with the added feature of E-GPS.