Kaye Beach

Automatic License Plate Recognition and the ATI in Oklahoma

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Soon after queries were made to Governor Henry regarding license plate scanning devices some very interesting information came to light that seems to give more of the “big picture” on why these devices are so important to the state.

The Alliance for Toll Interoperability is a fairly new organization comprised of representatives of the transportation industry from several states.  David Machamer, the Director of Toll Operations for the  Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is on the board of trustees of ATI.  This  organization has come up with an interoperable toll charging plan that requires the use of ALPR (Automatic License Plate Readers) in order to be workable.

The plan also includes other schemes for tracking motorists and charging for various roadway usage fees through electronic registration tags (RFID) as well as cellular and satellite technology which begs the question;

Does the push to make texting illegal while driving  and law enforcement’s  apparent desire to access to our cell phones at will and without having to get a warrant in order to access them as part of the texting ban have anything to do with ATI’s charging/tracking scheme?

(Of course I agree that those who use poor judgment while driving are a menace but it is poor judgement that is at fault no matter what activity they happen to be engaging in.  Eating, reading, putting on makeup or any other possible distractions can lead to accidents, but the fault lies with the driver’s poor judgement)

I spoke with Ken Sellers and Amanda Teegarden about what I had found out on their internet radio show America in Balance;

America in the Balance is a weekly Truth in Focus Internet Radio show presented by Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise (OK-SAFE.) and Hosted by Ken Sellers and Amanda Teegarden.

OK-SAFE is a non-profit 501(c)4 Oklahoma Corporation made up of individuals and coalition groups dedicated to the principles of American Free Enterprise and the Constitutional Sovereignty of Oklahoma and the United States of America. Hosted by Ken Sellers and Amanda Teegarten

On this show,  Ken and Amanda also discuss with guest Kaye Beach the effort by DPS to install automatic license plate recognition cameras on OK highways.

Listen online


A recap;

Recently it was announced that Oklahoma official were going to add 200 license plate scanning cameras, ostensibly to catch uninsured motorists.

Oklahoma to Establish Electronic Insurance Verification System

State officials are looking at beefing up the state’s electronic insurance verification system by setting up cameras across the state to randomly record vehicle tags. Cameras set up at about 200 locations along selected highways would focus in on a tag’s bar code — found at the bottom of each tag — and record it. Bar code scanners would match the tag numbers with a national database containing real-time vehicle insurance information.


Why ALPR?  Why Now?

The next couple of articles tells us one reason-Toll Interoperability.

NEWS ARTCLEFlorida, E-ZPass exchanging toll camera data to test license plate based tolls
Fri, 2009-08-07

Several toll agencies in Florida and the E-ZPass have begun exchange of camera based data to test the feasibility of levying tolls on one another’s license plates in a pilot program.

In most states when the transponder readers don’t recognize a local transponder, or any transponder, a camera is triggered that takes pictures of the rear and sometimes also the front of the vehicle. Each state or tolling area (E-ZPass IAG, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas etc) will generate a toll bill or violation notice based on their ability to access ‘foreign’ state motor registry databases.

The pilot program to exchange camera based data between toll areas is being conducted under the auspices of the Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) and the I-95 Coalition.

read more



Alliance for Toll Interoperability formed in south – video data standard priority

Fri, 2008-02-15

Representatives of nearly twenty toll agencies met in Dallas TX February 7 and decided to form an Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI).

. . .With the strong move towards cashless tolling camera reads of license plates – ‘video tolling’ – becomes the mode for collecting the tolls of those motorists without a transponder account.

Attending the formative Dallas meeting were senior operations people from toll authorities in the Carolinas, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas. 15 to 20 toll operators were informally represented.

. . . Video data exchange format priority

ATI people are also interested in how they can improve the readabillity of license plates. Eden says some of the members have been talking with 3M, the big Minneapolis based company that supplies much of the surfacing film used on license plates.


Information on the Alliance for Toll Interoperability taken from their own documents available at their website;


WHAT IS ATI-the Alliance for Toll Interoperability

Current Organization:

– Members:

• More than 40 participating toll agencies representing 24 states & 3 countries


• Extend tolling interoperability beyond today’s boundaries

Develop specification for license plate violation and video tolling data exchange, get DMV’s and other key stakeholders involved

Determine state legislation of ETC/DMV and sharing information

• Investigate RFID toll interoperability

• Consider future technology including 5.9 GHz DSRC(WiMax), GPS/Cellular, and other

ATI Today

Phase 1 & Phase 2

Future vehicle ID technology in all vehicles:

•– 5.9 GHz RFID in various devices, or

•– Satellite / GPS Tolling.

• TODAY, vehicles have a common, if imperfect, identification technology –the license plate.

Why ALPR?  ATI says;

License Plate Tolling is the “bridge” interoperability technology”

Mission: Improve ability of toll agencies to identify vehicles traveling on toll facilities

– Allow customers the seamless use of toll facilities across state lines

– Maximize state toll revenues and reduce toll collection and operations costs to States and agencies

– Guide the toll industry towards technical interoperability utilizing future technology opportunities

Facilitating talks with multiState organizations to secure access to motor vehicle records

Will allow toll agencies and states to identify vehicles without the use of transponders through Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR)

American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators fully engaged

Will allow enforcement across state lines, not just for tolling


August 4, 2009

Agenda & Meeting Details

•Oklahoma/Texas Pilot Program:

•Committee Members: Rick Herrington (lead)

David Machamer (lead)

•Clayton Howe

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) is waiting for action from NTTA on responding to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Mr. David Machamer suggested completing a ‘file swap’ rather than going through the Tax Commission.

Alliance for Toll Interoperability-Trustee, David Machamer* Oklahoma Transportation Authority.

Texas/Oklahoma Pilot

Project Contacts: David Machamer*, Rick Herrington* Clayton Howe

Project Overview:

Establish interoperability between NTTA (North Texas Tollway Authority) and OTA utilizing license plate data exchange. Discussions are ongoing between NTTA and OTA to establish protocol for exchanging plate and driver information.

Time frame: Expected to be complete by 1st Quarter 2010.

The economic crisis has worked its magic.  People are driving less.  That’s good and green right?

It’s not very green where it really counts.

and that is M-O-N-E-Y

VMT-vehicle mileage tax

Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Web-Only Document 143: Implementable Strategies for Shifting to Direct Usage-Based Charges for Transportation Funding explores ways that direct charges to road users, based on vehicle-miles of travel (VMT), could be implemented within approximately the next 5 years.

Enabling Technologies
There are, not surprisingly, many technologies that could support different functions in a VMT fee system.
ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition). Combining digital cameras with optical character recognition software, this technology makes it possible to identify vehicles that pass a particular location based on their license plate numbers.


‘One of the major benefits of ALPR is the collection of data that allows for investigative purposes; this benefit is being seen with equal or even greater interest than the identification of known vehicles of interest.’

Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is likely the most talked about technology today in law enforcement, public safety, and the transportation sectors. Endorsed by the IACP as an “effective tool for law enforcement” in a resolution at the 2007 IACP Annual Conference, the technology has proven itself time and again as a force multiplier that can bring about incredible results for agencies at every level

White Paper-Automated License Plate Recognition Investment Justification and Purchasing Guide

Federal Signal Corporation Published: August 2008

Federal Signal (and the International Association of Chiefs of Police) are talking about the New Paradigm of Policing-Intelligence Led Policing and Fusion Centers.

But those are subjects for another day.

Our Governor apparently plans to implement this system by executive order-today Dec 23, 2009.  This technology carries huge implications with it that reach far beyond our wallets.

My question is “why an executive order?”

Oklahoma Watchdog, Andrew Griffin, Reports;

Norman activist inquires whether Gov. Henry will use executive order to implement license-plate scanners

Posted By Andrew Griffin On December 16, 2009 

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Watchdog accompanied Norman activist and blogger Kaye Beach to Gov. Brad Henry’s office on Tuesday afternoon. It was there that Beach handed Henry’s receptionist her letter [1] inquiring whether or not Henry would sign an executive order to approve the implementation of license-plate scanners.

Paul Sund, Henry’s press secretary, was not available Tuesday afternoon and as of Wednesday Beach had not heard from the governor’s office. Still, her pursuit for answers has garnered some attention. She was interviewed by KTOK’s Jerry Bohnen on Wednesday and was able to get her questions aired.

“I haven’t heard anything from (Gov. Henry’s office) but then my biggest goal was to get the media on it,” Beach said. “There is some concern that the governor will sign an executive order on the 23rd of December.”

People are objecting to the scanners, as evidenced in this recent Muskogee Phoenix editorial [2]. And Sen. Randy Brogdon, who is also running for governor, reportedly inquired this week about the placement of bar codes on the new license plates that have been issued to Oklahoma motorists this year.

Beach, who is also a co-host on “Radio Free Oklahoma,” which airs Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. on RuleOfLawRadio.com, will be discussing the issue at great length this evening. She also discusses a lot of these issues at her blog, Axxiom for Liberty [3].

Oklahoma Watchdog is following this story and hopes to have a full story by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Andrew made some inquiries of his own as well;

State officials not responding to license-plate scanner inquiry

Posted By Andrew Griffin On December 18, 2009 @ 3:57 pm In Blog | No Comments

OKLAHOMA CITY — Still no word on whether Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry will be signing an executive order next week to implement license-plate scanning technology on Oklahoma roads.

As we reported earlier this week, Norman-based activist and blogger Kaye Beach hand-delivered a letter to the office of Gov. Henry at the State Capitol inquiring whether or not the rumor that Henry’s planned executive order was to take place on Dec. 23. Here is her account [1] at her informative blog Axxiom for Liberty. She also discussed it in depth on “Radio Free Oklahoma,” an Oklahoma City-based radio program she co-hosts with Chris Emery, James Lane and Holland Van den Nieuwenhof.  The show is heard every Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. on RuleOfLawRadio.com.

Beach and several other sources have reportedly heard this date bandied about and Oklahoma Watchdog has been making calls and sending emails seeking more information.

Phil Bachrach, the governor’s spokesman, has not returned calls or an email message from Oklahoma Watchdog that was sent to him requesting more information. Calls have also been placed to the office of Rep. Ken Miller (R-Edmond). Miller was on the 2008 “Oklahoma License Plate Design Task Force” and has allegedly been vocal about this support of this technology, although several attempts to confirm this via phone were unsuccessful.

Additionally, Sen. Randy Brogdon has reportedly been inquiring into the issue, asking questions about the small bar codes on the new, standard-issue, flat, digital Oklahoma license plates that have been issued during 2009, replacing the 16-year old green and white design.

It is unclear if the difficulty in reaching anyone is connected to the upcoming holiday break.

These stories are being cross-posted at Oklahoma Watchdog’s sister site RedDirtReport.com.

Read more at Oklahoma Capitol Investments [2].

I don’t think we will be getting any answers to these questions from the Governor or his staff anytime soon.




What is ALPR?

Automatic License Plate Recognition is a means of mass surveillance that uses character recognition programming to read the letters and numbers on license plates.

Other Names;

  • NPR (Number plate recognition )
  • ANPR Automatic Number Plate Recognition
  • Automatic vehicle identification (AVI)
  • Car plate recognition (CPR)
  • License plate recognition (LPR)

ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the license plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver

The device itself has little value unless it is linked to a database (or many databases).

The software or programming that tells the device what to do with the data it has captured (your license plate identification number) it will be handled in one of two ways.  The tag number will be compared on the spot, in real time against a predetermined set of information such as the insurance policy database or possibly against known stolen vehicle tag numbers.  If the search produces a match then likely you will be stopped or mailed a ticket.

The second way the captured information could be handled is by sending it to a remote location and stored for future use.


“ALPR is effectively the foundation of all electronic free-flow charging, because it is the only common point of reference for all vehicles passing through a toll checkpoint or zone boundary.”

From Technologies that enable congestion pricing A Federal Highway Administration document

typical ALPR

Enabling Technologies
There are, not surprisingly, many technologies that could support different functions in a VMT fee system.

ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition). Combining digital cameras with optical character recognition software, this technology makes it possible to identify vehicles that pass a particular location based on their license plate numbers.




In 2008 -HB 3115-the Compulsory Insurance Verification Bill was passed allowing law enforcement to instantly verify insurance coverage from the field.

Tulsa Talks (blogsite) reports on March 29, 2006

Law enforcement officials may soon be able to immediately verify if drivers have insurance coverage thanks to legislation unanimously approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
House Bill 3115, by state Rep. Ron Peterson (R-Broken Arrow), would create an online insurance verification pilot program in Oklahoma. The program would allow police to verify insurance coverage from the field.

House Bill 3115 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 99-0 vote


HB 3115 was ultimately signed into law in 2008.  Implementation date was originally scheduled for July 1, 2008 then moved to Dec 31st 2008.

2008 SB 2122 amends HB 3115

A noteworthy portion of the amendment-

Paragraph 11: Makes all information exchanged or generated in relation to the verification system not subject to the Open Records Act, that is, confidential.

The Oklahoma Public Records Act says that;

“The purpose of this act is to ensure and facilitate the public’s right of access to and review of government records so they may efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.”

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