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Tolling Points

Milligan Partners Introduces Blockchain for Toll Interoperability

By: 
Bill Cramer

IBTTA member Milligan Partners is drawing on blockchain technology to launch Tolling.Network, a “distributed ledger” designed to facilitate toll interoperability among individual agencies, across the United States, and across borders.

The new system uses a blockchain product called Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source solution hosted by The Linux Foundation with connections to big market players like Walmart, Samsung, and Oracle. Blockchain is a still-emerging technology that can be used to record and verify transactions, described by tech writers Don and Alex Tapscott as “an incorruptible digital ledger” that “can be programmed to record not just financial transactions, but virtually everything of value.”

Blockchain has been around for a little while now. But Milligan Partners Managing Partner Tyler Milligan, co-founder of Ruuftop.io, said he’s particularly pleased with the potential in tolling.

“We understand how much toll agencies need security and stability, and that’s what we designed Tolling.Network to provide,” he said last month. “We believe the solution is blockchain technology. We also believe that an open source project is the right way to go. Government agencies need a cost-effective and innovative option, and that hasn’t existed…until now.”

One Ledger for Everyone

Enterprise Times explains that a blockchain ledger is considered “distributed” because every participant in the electronic network gets an identical copy. It consists of two components: a database containing all the current values in the ledger, and the blockchain, a secure historical record of all the transactions that have ever taken place across the system.

With that kind of technology behind it, the publication says Tolling.Network will give participating tolling agencies a more secure platform to share up-to-date data on transponders and vehicles, send and receive transactions, and handle reconciliations and disputes. Its proponents say it can eliminate the need for the more common hub-based interoperability model.

The system also allows flexibility on contractual arrangements, called the chaincode, so that agencies can tailor their business rules for different relationships.

The Dawn of ‘Immutable’ Transaction Histories

Enterprise Times points to shared, verifiable accounting as one of the major selling points for blockchain. “A blockchain provides the ironclad, immutable, transparent histories of the information written to it,” the publication explains. “This means that ‘transactions’ cannot disappear, that the past can be reassembled.”

For the tolling industry, it adds, “blockchain becomes the common or shared point for interoperability. Thus blockchain becomes an enabling infrastructure component” that eliminates the need to update or rewrite legacy accounting systems.

Technology is reshaping the tolling industry before our very eyes. Register today for IBTTA’s Annual Technology Summit, March 31-April 2, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.