City planners of Charlotte, North Carolina, have apparently made a mistake in the type of LED lighting that they chose for illuminating I-77. The lighting is part of a statewide plan to replace outdated lights with LED lighting along interstate highways. The city found out in the early stages of installation that the LED street lights that they have begun installing interfere with the tollway driver identification system, according to a report from Eye Witness News WSOCTV.
Parts of I-77 have been under construction for many years. And proper lighting is necessary to allow people to traverse the construction zones. However, just as the construction is about to be completed, the city noticed that the lighting interferes with the tollway system.
Charlotte LED Lighting Could Cause the Toll System to Misidentify Vehicles
According to the article which cited a North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesperson, Jen Thompson, the lighting interference could cause the toll system to misidentify vehicles more often or could also make the LED lighting system more difficult to troubleshoot if issues arise.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, “The radio frequency-based control and monitoring system for the LED lights uses license-free (Part 15) communications when transmitting, and uses the same band as the licensed (Part 90) toll system, and could interfere with the communication with RF-ID tags on vehicles, which it is not permitted under FCC rules.”
An article by the FCC explaining licensed and unlicensed communications explained how this could happen. “Non-licensed transmitters operate on a variety of frequencies. They must share these frequencies with licensed transmitters and are prohibited from causing interference to licensed transmitters.”