Hardware for a Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tag and Reader System for Signage Management Has an Estimated Minimum Cost of $4,860 per 1,000 Signs.

Mobile System for Traffic Signage Management Based on RFID Tags Attached to Traffic Signs and Guard Rails Was Tested in Vermont.

Made Public Date

Summary Information

An important part of transportation asset management is inventory management, such as developing and maintaining an inventory of roadside signs and associated attributes such as measured retroreflectivity. Researchers in Vermont assessed an approach of using passive radio frequency identification (RFID), a wireless tracking technology, for transportation signage management. The tested technology utilizes a reader to wirelessly read a radio frequency tag attached to, or embedded in, an object. In July 2019, this asset management system was tested on Vermont State Route 63 and on the University of Vermont (UVM) campus in Burlington. The testing process used a total of 32 RFID tags attached to traffic signs or guard rails and an RFID reader mounted on a survey vehicle. The system performed the RFID tag interrogation while researchers drove the survey vehicle past the signs during field tests, and the performance in successfully reading the tags was evaluated under varying configurations and speeds.

The minimum hardware cost for a RFID system for signage management is estimated at $4,860 per 1,000 signs. This includes:

  • $2,360 per 1,000 RFID tags ($2.36 per tag purchased at a quantity of 5,000)
  • $2,000 for RFID reader/antennas (usually ranging between $2,000-$3,000)
  • $500 for the mechanical structure.

The cost estimation is based on vendor provided prices for RFID tags and reader hardware for a system with 5,000 tags. The other costs required to implement a traffic sign asset management system were not included in the estimate, and can vary depending on the sign locations and availability and quality of the existing sign asset data in the agency’s database. The type of RFID tags with a maximum read distance of 55 feet (on-metal) / 45 feet (nonmetal) is used in the cost estimation, and the unit price of RFID tags varies depending on the number of tags purchased.