Expect that new technology will require modifications before it is useable.

A Washington State experience with testing of electronic container door seals (E-seal) through a freight supply chain.

Washington,District of Columbia,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

A field operational test (FOT) attempted to apply a new technology, E-seal, to existing freight movements. While the seal worked in tests, when applied to containers in a real world environment on roads, at ports, and at borders, it required re-engineering. This application of a disposable E-seal transponder demonstrated that new or prototype technology may require additional development before it is a viable system.

The project suggested the following lesson:
  • Expect that new ITS technology may need considerable re-engineering before it is usable in a real world environment. For example, as the project began, the original E-seal design faced challenges because the broadcast speed was too slow to read moving trucks. The system was successfully re-engineered to broadcast at a sufficiently increased rate to support roadway speed conditions. The hand-held seal readers also proved difficult to operate because users had to navigate through a cumbersome series of menus and because of a short battery life.
Over the course of the test, a number of technological problems with the E-seal were resolved. After the seal was re-engineered several times, the test demonstrated that the concept of the E-seal was valid. The seal read rate during the test improved from poor in the early months of the test to approaching a 100 percent read rate toward the end. The lesson here is that existing ITS technology may need considerable modification before it is usable.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


WSDOT Intermodal Data Linkages Freight ITS Operational Test Evaluation Final Report Part 1: Electronic Container Seals Evaluation

Author: M. Jensen, M. Williamson, R. Sanchez, A. Newton, C. Mitchell

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation

Source Date: 12/1/2002

EDL Number: 13770

Other Reference Number: FHWA-OP-02-XXX

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/34487

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Edward McCormack
Washington State Transportation Center
206 543-3348

Agency Contact(s):

Edward McCormack
Washington State Transportation Center
206 543-3348

Lesson Analyst:

Firoz Kabir


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)

Lesson ID: 2005-00082