Toll boothsMilligan Partners and Ruuftop.io have launched Tolling.Network, a distributed ledger solution which uses the Hyperledger Fabric for toll interoperability. Milligan Partners and Ruuftop.io believe Tolling.Network is a next-generation network for both agency-to-agency national interoperability and cross-border interoperability.

When we started the Tolling.Network project, we were drawn to Hyperledger because it doesn’t rely on cryptocurrency. We understand how much toll agencies need security and stability, and that’s what we designed Tolling.Network to provide,” said Tyler Milligan, Managing Partner of Milligan Partners and Co-Founder of Ruuftop.io. “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.”

Tyler Milligan, Managing Partner of Milligan Partners and Co-Founder of Ruuftop.io
Tyler Milligan, Managing Partner of Milligan Partners and Co-Founder of Ruuftop.io

Tolling.Network

In the Tolling.Network architecture, a distributed ledger is a specific type of ledger: practitioners describe a blockchain ledger distributed because an identical copy of the ledger is stored on every peer on the network. In this context. a blockchain ledger comprises two parts:

  • a ‘world state’, a database containing the current values of the ledger
  • a blockchain, the historical journal which holds the record of everything that has ever happened in the system.

The combination of these is what makes Tolling.Network so efficient compared to other blockchains.

Tolling.Network is a permissioned, blockchain network which:

  • enables agencies to communicate with each other
  • eliminates the need for the more common, and current, hub-based interoperability model.
  • is secure.

Tolling.Network exploits the Hyperledger Fabric’s private, secure channels and encryption. These  protect transactions and customer data. This approach also possesses smart characteristics. Tolling.Network uses smart contracts to create digital interoperability rules.

A smart contract (also called chaincode) is the encoding of sets of rules stored on the blockchain. These rules govern how toll agencies operate. When known, these rules mean toll agencies can tailor their business approach for each organisation with which they interact: there is no need to conform to one consortium’s set of rules.

The road toll problem and what it needs from blockchain

For at least the last ten years, the US toll industry has tried to solve the problem of interoperability on a national basis. Tolling.Network allows toll agencies to share status updates for:

  • transponders
  • license plates
  • other vehicle identifiers.

It also lets toll agencies:

  • send and receive interoperable transactions
  • handle reconciliation and disputes.

Data encrypts and stores in distributed ledgers. This enables everyone always to possess access to a current copy of the transponder status list. Put another way, this means that the list ‘you’ are looking at is the same list ‘I’ am looking at . Better still, this eliminates the need to send giant data-heavy lists back and forth each day.

In addition the use of distributed ledgers makes it easier for agencies to:

  • send and receive transactions
  • report on what each owes another agency.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

Shared, verifiable accounting is one of the attractions of blockchain. A blockchain provides the ironclad, immutable, transparent histories of the information written to it. This means that ‘transaction’s’ cannot disappear, that the past can be re-assembled.

Road tolling systems, particularly in the US, tend to exist more in isolation than with interoperation. In the Tolling.Network vision, blockchain becomes the common or shared point for interoperability. Thus blockchain becomes an enabling infrastructure component which does not demand, if Enterprise Times understands this, existing systems must be rewritten.

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