Carma app, detect passengers for automatic HOV-lane toll refunds

Drivers in North Texas could soon use an app to qualify for HOV lanes and receive a toll refund.

Using a system called VeriRide, the Carma app automatically counts each person in a vehicle who has the app downloaded on his or her phone as an occupant when traveling the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on toll roads.

“Current methods of manual enforcement are unsafe, contribute to network degradation  and erode public trust in lanes that are intended be premium lanes that serve as a faster alternative to general purpose lanes,” says Carma’s website. “Carma’s VeriRide technology removes the high risk of road side enforcement and changes the focus from enforcement to verification in the most intuitive hands-off way that technology allows.”

Click here to read the full article.

Article 2.jpg

HOV rewards considered on Dallas-Fort Worth tolled lanes

ARLINGTON — A radical change is coming for North Texas drivers who rely on high-occupancy-vehicle discounts.

Currently, drivers with TollTags can register their cars as high-occupancy vehicles, which gives them a 50-percent discount on the region's tolled express lanes and makes LBJ East toll express lanes free. About 2 million vehicles use the discount annually.

The new rewards program will eliminate that upfront discount. Instead, drivers will receive the same savings in the form of an e-credit, Visa prepaid cards, cash or direct deposit.

Read the full article here.

article 3.jpg

New Toll Road Idea A ‘Game-Changer’ Say Transportation Leaders

HURST, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – An app that automatically detects how many people are in one vehicle, could help more drivers take advantage of discounted toll rates for high occupancy vehicles North Texas highways.

The technology would also eliminate the need for police enforcement of HOV violators.

It could roll out in early 2019 for toll roads in North Texas, and TxDOT is watching the program to see if it could be implemented statewide.

Read the full article here.

article 4.png

Automating Vehicle Occupancy Verification with VeriRide

At Carma, we believe in rewarding high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) travel. Increasing the number of people in a car is the most effective way to fight traffic congestion, local air pollution and climate change. All over the world, government agencies are experimenting in rewards for high-occupancy vehicles, including dedicated HOV lanes, HOV toll discounts, preferential parking access and road user charging. 

However, until now with Carma's VeriRide technology, verifying vehicle occupancy has been impossible. Most agencies deploy roadside law-enforcement for periodic spot checks, but it's not easy to count people in a car that's moving quickly in traffic, in varying weather conditions. It's also dangerous for the police officers, and degrades traffic flow. Other agencies use automated digital imaging systems for peering inside cars - but these fail for the same reasons. 

Carma's patented system, VeriRide, takes a different approach. Our smartphone app automatically verifies your occupancy in a vehicle. It does this by using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications to detect its proximity to a small in-car device - a Car Beacon - that simply transmits a Bluetooth identifier. In this way, vehicle occupancy is reported to the agency and you qualify for preferential HOV treatment.

One of the great features of the VeriRide solution is that it requires no user interaction at all. You can keep the phone in your pocket and the app will automatically verify your occupancy. Our product design process focuses on completely remove all barriers to someone adopting behavior change. This is one of the reasons why Carma's VeriRide solution is ideal for government agencies wishing to verify vehicle occupancy for enabling toll discounts. As you drive through a toll gantry, agencies can simply query for the number of people in your car and apply a reduced rate for carpools.

In this way, Carma is building the future of personal mobility - connected, hassle-free and rewarding. 


Emmett Murphy is Chief Product Officer at Carma.