TransCores eGo Selected for U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's Free and Secure Trade Program

TransCores eGo RFID Technology Selected for Extending U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's Free and Secure Trade Program to 22 Northern and Southern Border Crossings
transcore.jpgDALLAS and WASHINGTON – ITS Services Inc., overseeing the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enhanced border protection system, selects TransCore's eGoTM wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as the standard for its ongoing Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program. Through a $4 million contract with CBP and the prime contractor, ITS Services, TransCore will deliver more than 170,000 eGo windshield sticker tags, driver identification cards, as well as install inspection booth reader equipment for more than 99 FAST lanes at 22 border crossings. After successful Phase I testing using eGo technology at six border crossings, Phase II began with deployment at El Paso, Texas, where U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge visits today.

FAST is an intelligent border crossing system that enhances trade flow and security along the borders with Canada and Mexico. FAST allows CBP agents to instantly identify designated low-risk vehicles and drivers who are compliant with the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). These vehicles, equipped with eGo tags, are expedited through border crossings, reducing congestion and helping agents target a smaller pool of potentially high-risk vehicles for closer inspection.

CBP was formed in March 2003 to join the resources of the U.S. Customs Service, the INS and Border Patrol in support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiatives. With a priority mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country, CBP is also charged with facilitating legitimate trade and travel. The FAST program is a key element in CBP's overall strategy to modernize operations, expand advance information regarding people and goods entering the country and improve inspection systems. As a joint program with Canada and Mexico, FAST also bolsters CBP's strategy to extend the country's zone of security outward by partnering with foreign governments and the private sector to bring friendly traders into the security fold.

Launched initially with Canada in 2002, Phase I of the FAST program used eGo technology for a successful pilot at six of the busiest U.S border crossings with Canada: Ambassador Bridge in Detroit; Bluewater Bridge in Port Huron, Mich.; Peace Bridge in Buffalo, N.Y.; Lewiston, N.Y.; Champlain, N.Y.; and Blaine, Wash. These crossings account for nearly 70 percent of traffic and 80 percent of the trade value flowing between the two countries. FAST was launched with Mexico in September 2003 to extend the system to both borders.

New FAST locations to be operational in 2004 include: Sweetgrass, Mont.; Portal and Pembina, N.D.; Alexandria Bay, N.Y.; Highgate Springs and Derby Lane, Vt.; Otay Mesa and Calexico, Calif.; Nogales, Ariz.; and El Paso, Laredo, Hidalgo and Brownsville, Texas.

How the FAST System Works

To use the FAST system, a truck must be a FAST-approved carrier, hauling goods from a FAST-approved importer, and be operated by a FAST-approved driver. To gain FAST approval, importers, carriers and drivers complete applications to customs administrations. Importers and carriers must demonstrate a history of complying with legislative and regulatory requirements and commit to security-enhancing practices as required by C-TPAT. Upon FAST approval, carriers are given eGo windshield sticker tags to mount in trucks. Commercial drivers who pass the application screening are asked to report to an enrollment center for an interview, review of identification and citizenship documents, fingerprinting and digital photography. When approved, they are issued a commercial driver card, which contains both a photo and biographical information.

As a truck approaches a FAST lane at a crossing, a wireless RFID reader recognizes the unique identification number encoded into both the truck's windshield sticker tag and the driver's identity card and associates this information with import, carrier and driver information already submitted to the system electronically. An alert is then sent to the inspection booth, notifying agents that the truck is or is not FAST compliant, whether fees have been paid, and displaying a digital image of the driver along with biographical information. Compliant trucks are signaled to proceed. Non-compliant trucks may be redirected for further inspection.

Background on FAST and Border Security

After Sept. 11, 2001, the United States and Canada committed to initiatives to bolster homeland security while maintaining the freest possible flow of people and goods between the longtime partner nations. A 30-point joint agreement signed in December 2001 specifically called for identifying and investing in technology to speed throughput at congested border crossings. In April 2002, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs Service (now part of CBP) launched C-TPAT as a public/private initiative to protect the security of cargo entering the United States and improve trade flow. In September 2002, President George Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chretien met at Ambassador Bridge to unveil the FAST program as a key element of the countries' security partnership efforts. The FAST program was extended to Mexico in September 2003.

The eGo Transponder Tag

transcore_e-go.jpgThe eGo windshield sticker tag is a paper-thin, RF-programmable, battery-free tag that operates in the 915 MHz range. The tag has a read range of 5 meters or 16.4 feet. The tag has a 1024 bit memory, capable of reading, writing and rewriting information or permanently setting individual bytes. TransCore achieved a series of groundbreaking design innovations, using single-chip technology to produce a low profile (45 x 85 x 1 mm) and low cost tag. The flexible sticker tag is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, sunlight, humidity and vibration. The tag can include a tamper-resistant option, and control numbers and markings may be custom color printed on the outside of each tag, such as the U.S./Canada FAST and U.S./Mexico FAST logos.

About TransCore

TransCore is at the forefront of global efforts to apply intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to the problem of border crossing efficiency and security. The company has dozens of installations at U.S. border crossings with Mexico and Canada. In October 2002, Shenzhen Customs in Shenzhen, China selected TransCore's eGo RFID products as part of a $1.5 million automatic vehicle and driver identification system that will facilitate the flow of traffic and goods and help customs agents combat smuggling between Hong Kong and China.

TransCore also recently completed a first-of-its-kind freight management system for the Washington State Department of Transportation Northwest International Trade Corridor & Smart Border Crossing Program. The system verifies the integrity of shipping containers entering the United States from Japan and monitors freight as it travels over U.S. Interstates in commercial vehicles and passes between the United States and Canada.

TransCore is a privately held transportation services company with 1,800 employees and more than 80 locations throughout the world. With installations in 39 countries, 80-plus patents and a world-class manufacturing facility, TransCore's expertise in providing system-based applications that improve transportation efficiency is unparalleled. For more information, visit

About ITS Services Inc.

itssinc.gifFounded in 1991 and privately-held, ITS Services is led by three veteran federal information technology executives: Todd Stottlemyer, chief executive officer; Paul Leslie, president and chief operating officer, and Phil A. Odeen, chairman of the board of directors. ITS Services provides information technology solutions to government entities, and specializes in three core areas of business: network engineering and operations, software and systems development, and enterprise architecture. Current customers include the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, and Internal Revenue Service. ITS Services is independently assessed at Level 2 under the Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Headquartered in Springfield, Va., ITS Services has more than 400 employees and supports both nationwide and international information technology requirements for our customers. More information on ITS Services can be found at
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