You are here

Tolling Points

IBTTA Blockchain Working Group: 2020 Report

By: 
Matt Milligan, Milligan Partners LLC

Guest blog by Matt Milligan, Milligan Partners LLC, Chair, IBTTA Blockchain Working Group

At the beginning of this year, IBTTA’s Emerging Technology Committee created the Blockchain Working Group to educate and engage the general membership on blockchain technology and its uses in tolling. James Hofmann, the chair of the committee, gave us the charge of making a complicated and often over-hyped technology clear and understandable to the non-technical, and we were excited to take up the challenge.

Just as we were forming our working group and developing our plan, the pandemic hit. As with the rest of IBTTA’s events, we were pushed into the virtual world for meetings. Our working group took it in stride and began planning a series of online events that would bring recognized and respected blockchain experts to speak to the IBTTA membership. Going virtual actually made it easier for us, no travel schedules and no budgets to wrangle! We decided to structure our education efforts broadly at first and narrow the focus throughout the year, ending with applications for tolling and other transportation services by the end of the year.

In June, for our first event, we brought together a panel of speakers from different blockchain disciplines and hosted an online meetup with breakout sessions, Demystifying a Powerful Business Tool. Our speakers included: 

With the goal of presenting different aspects of blockchain technology through the lenses of policy, finance, and technology, each speaker presented their organization and we followed up with breakout groups for open Q & A time. The meetup format worked very well for fostering discussion and giving everyone a chance to ask questions, but it also showed us how much work we had to do to bring everyone to a common understanding of the technology.

For our second event, Blockchain and Mobility Services: A Conversation with MOBI, we focused on blockchain technology and in-vehicle applications. We invited the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) to talk about their work with vehicle manufacturers and their development of a standard for a digital vehicle ID using blockchain. With a more focused agenda, this event was hosted as a webinar. Our speakers included:

The panel was moderated by Matt Milligan and Randy Cole, and the group discussed how blockchain technology is changing mobility and creating new possibilities for vehicle identification, road user charging, new payment networks, privacy protection, sustainability, and more.

The Lab

Formed in the early days of the Blockchain Working Group, The Lab is a subgroup of members endeavoring to create live demos of functioning blockchain examples to serve as visual aids for those learning about blockchain technologies. The Lab saw many significant milestones in 2020: its birth, the development of the code that would serve as the foundation for the network, as well as the implementation of test data and visualization tools in harmony. As an educational tool, The Lab strives for clarity in simplicity and strong foundational practices. Check out The Lab’s progress at our Github link, and keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming presentation featuring key features of our network with choice blocks of code!

Blockchain 101

Over the course of this year, we have been working on an interactive “Blockchain 101” toolkit, a resource for the IBTTA membership that walks through the basic concepts of blockchain technology, including distributed ledgers, consensus, and smart contracts, and presents the technology in the context of tolling use cases. We will publish the online resource after the holidays, and we hope everyone will have a chance to explore the content and learn more about what the technology has to offer.

Our 2021 Plan

In 2021, we will explore more interactive approaches to build and expand the blockchain technology community in the tolling industry, including more online meetups and opportunities for the IBTTA membership to participate in proof-of-concept and pilot projects. We will generate additional educational content, such as more basic concepts and real-world applications in the “Blockchain 101” project, to educate and benefit the community.

Special thanks to these working group members and for their contributions this year:

  • Glenn Deitiker, BancPass
  • Dave DiAngelo, Milligan Partners
  • Tom Knuckey, Atkins
  • Kevin Ko, Milligan Partners
  • Bob LaGatta, Atkins
  • Vince Larson, E-470
  • Yufan Luo, Milligan Partners
  • Matt Milligan, Milligan Partners
  • Devang Patel, Kyra Solutions
Newsletter publish date: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 07:00

1 Comments

Outstanding work Matt and the entire working group.  Embracing technology is key to our industry.