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Thread: e-Toll Gantries: How they work

  1. #1
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    Exclamation e-Toll Gantries: How they work

    Introduction:

    I can't think of a single person who is keen on the new e-toll system. It has however been installed and the ANC, Dipuo Peters and SANRAL seems hell bent on fattening themselves with the profits of this parasitic venture.

    Given the state of affairs, we may as well educate ourselves on how the system does and does not work.

    The purpose of this thread is to serve as a central point for all technical and functional information pertaining to the e-toll gantries. This information is gathered in the spirit of education and should be used for educational purposes only (not to provide ideas to rebellious e-toll evaders).

    If you have a clear understanding of how the system and or gantries work, please post your knowledge here so that we can collect, structure and analyze the system.

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb Legal & Technical Documentation and links

    Legal & Technical Documentation and links

    Section 1: Administration


    Section 2: Gantries
    • Information about Structure and construction
    • More information needed


    Section 3: e-Tags
    • Data transmission
    • Risk of duplication
    • More information needed


    Section 4: System
    Last edited by Duan; 13-10-2013 at 11:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Actions you can take?

    How often do we think: "Well what could I possibly do?"

    Don't just sit there!!! Here are some things that you could do:

    Actions you could take now!

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    I wondered about this....

    The gantry scans your tag as you pass under it, this info moves from the gantry to a server located where and how is the info moved?
    " This pass grip demands a password, give it to me..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mortymoose View Post
    I wondered about this....

    The gantry scans your tag as you pass under it, this info moves from the gantry to a server located where and how is the info moved?
    Someone pay the hackers a lump sum to DDOS them for a few years so their system is unworkable.

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    Another one, where does the gantry source it's power from? Is there a backup power source? , just in case somebody steals the cable?
    " This pass grip demands a password, give it to me..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mortymoose View Post
    I wondered about this....

    The gantry scans your tag as you pass under it, this info moves from the gantry to a server located where and how is the info moved?
    Ho does it scan your e-tag? Is it RF? If so, on what frequency? Can your tag be copied?
    What does it do if I dont have a tag?

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    What metal is used in the fabrication of the structures - what implements should not be sold to would be thieves of 'scrap' metal if these structures fall over in 'stormy' conditions?

  9. #9

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    By reading the Kapsch Com.(hence KC) website(slow as hell), I gathered the following basic principles of how it "actually" works from reading their brochure:

    SANRAL needs to keep an additional database of all the registration details of all the vehicles it intends to process and synchronize it periodically with a master(read: national). This is, as KC's brochure explains, "a subset of the data contained in the national vehicle registration database". I hope that this database is maintained locally at a premise of SANRAL and not by KC, since if it is, it means that our private information is being sent off to another country(I doubt this is the case anyhow).

    Furthermore, the e-Tag that they expect you to buy is "personalized" with your own vehicle's data(read: database) and "a new vehicle record is created in the database". What they mean by the record, IMO, is the e-Tag identification number(every tag will have a unique one). I'm not quite sure why the tags are required - it's not documented anywhere. But, if I had to make a guess it's to allow for easier matching with their system and produce less false-positves(and people with "obscured" plates). IMHO, their playing NSA, whereby they want to keep track of everybody.

    KC also documents the routine for people who do not pay, referred to as "non-compliance":
    If the Back Office detects a non-compliance (e.g. vehicle tax not paid, technical check-up outdated, etc.) the vehicle is put on a VOSI list and can immediately be identified by the monitoring equipment. In many cases registration non-compliance is not a violation unless there is evidence that the vehicle is used in traffic. The EVR solution hence helps to automatically identify such cases.

    If a non-compliance (license plate mismatch or VOSI match) is detected an evidence record is created. In general, this evidence record contains the date, time and location of the vehicle, DSRC data and an ANPR image for the visual identification of the vehicle. This data package is sent to the infringement processing module where the data is processed according to the predefined workflows. These processing workflows can be defined to meet customer needs and legal requirements of the given project. The debt collection can be done by the Kapsch EVR solution or by an external debt collection agency
    The exact specifications for the gantries are(from brochure):
    • "Transceivers for the reading of the vehicle on-board unit (OBU)"
    • "Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras for license plate recognition"
    • some sort of "vehicle classification sensors (determining size, shape or class of vehicles)"

    These two features work in conjunction with each other to avoid fraud as well(clearly documented).

    The e-Tags themselves are CEN TC278 5.8 GHz DSRC transponders: more info here. I'm not all that up with such devices, maybe someone knowledgeable can explain how it works?

    How SANRAL is actually managing this... I'm unsure, as there's no information available anywhere on the Internet. But looking at it, the whole process from the tracking a vehicle at a gantry to sending the event to SANRAL is completely automated.

    P.S. These some other nifty things that SANRAL will also be using, like "Portable Monitoring Stations" and such, the brochure is worth a read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nand View Post
    By reading the Kapsch Com.(hence KC) website(slow as hell), I gathered the following basic principles of how it "actually" works from reading their brochure:

    SANRAL needs to keep an additional database of all the registration details ....
    Nand, nice one lots of info to research!

  11. #11

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    Sounds like a police state in the making. Mobile tracking station? Evidence record? Debt collection? Criminal prosecution?

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    A trial by combat would resolve this dispute efficiently

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    Note: I do not know these things for a fact, but seem to me the most logical way things fit together based on what I've read so far.

    As far as I know, the cameras work using some optimized form of OCR. There is some sort of central processor for each gantry (like a PC in a box) which is connected through a wired connection to a central database (I remember reading an article somewhere on how Neotel/Telkom were supplying comms to each gantry)

    As far as the metallic structures of the gantries go, judging by the colour I would say that they are some sort of steel with a passivating layer covering them protecting it from rust - either galvanized or stainless steel. This makes sense since they need to be strong enough to take an impact from an unruly car/van/truck. They're probably galvanized since they are outdoor structures and have that sort of colour - meaning they are highly susceptible to being scratched, since the ratio of anode to cathode for the grounded structure would heavily favour the formation of rust if a small part of the under structure were exposed to the atmosphere. Not worth much to chop down and sell, so people taking down the gantries to sell as scrap is unlikely.

    The tags have electronic identification and can therefore be stolen/copied/hacked. They transmit their device ID when they receive a certain signal when passed under a gantry.

    The above is my biggest concern. The devices can theoretically be taken apart and the memory on the chips can be rewritten to transmit a different ID to the one it was assigned. This means that a tech savvy no-gooder can not only fake his tag, but also make his tag charge you to your tag, and all he would have to do to get your tag's ID is stand next to your car and let off the same signal the gantries constantly beam out to record your tag's response.

    This whole etoll business is scary easy to abuse.
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    It seems there is very little we can still do about the e-toll system as a whole...

    We do however have until 8 November to oppose the draft tariffs!

    Don't just sit there!!! Click here: Sign Petition opposing tariffs

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duan View Post
    It seems there is very little we can still do about the e-toll system as a whole...

    We do however have until 8 November to oppose the draft tariffs!

    Don't just sit there!!! Click here: Sign Petition opposing tariffs
    eh...pretty sure you'd have to use the formal consultation mechanism to oppose it not some random internet campaign.
    A trial by combat would resolve this dispute efficiently

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    Quote Originally Posted by HavocXphere View Post
    eh...pretty sure you'd have to use the formal consultation mechanism to oppose it not some random internet campaign.
    HavocXphere, thanks for considering the challenges with the approach. Here is what I know:

    According to the tariff draft notice interested persons can submit written comments to tariff@dot.gov.za.

    If I can collect digital signatures in the form of an on-line petition and then submit that, then I am following the formal consultation mechanism as outlined.

    You are obviously welcome to write your own letter and comments, but I assume most people would prefer to just add their name to the petition.

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