Architectural Design of a Scalable Vehicle Tracking System

Architectural Design of a Scalable Vehicle Tracking System

Nominated for The Planning for Sustainable Land Use and Transport Award


Félix Vega Stavro, National University of Colombia, Gabriel Mañana Guichón, National University of Colombia, Andrés Arévalo Murillo, National University of Colombia


Use of cloud computing services to implement an active and scalable Vehicle Tracking System, which provides real-time data for analysis and transport planning, and also acts as a framework for the development of intelligent transportation systems.


This paper summarizes the architectural design, implementation, and deployment of an active Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) based on radio-frequency identification, 3G/4G telecommunication technologies, and the computing services of a Platform as a Service provider. The system constitutes an auto-scalable platform that will serve as a framework for the development of Intelligent Transportation System services and applications to be adopted nationwide in Colombia. In this work satisfactory experimental results are presented, demonstrating the viability and effectiveness of the proposed architecture.

The main goal of the VTS described is to provide the functionality required for the identification and tracking of vehicles in the Colombian territory. The system consists on radio-frequency tags (RFID) attached to vehicles, several telecommunication networks, and a distributed information and processing system. The system is called PCIV for its acronym in Spanish: Plataforma para el Control Inteligente de Vehículos.

PCIV will act as a framework supporting a series of traffic management services and applications, such as congestion charges, electronic road pricing, pay tolls, traffic restrictions, road space rationing, automatized access, among others. The development of the project began in early 2014 and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

To demonstrate the capabilities of extensibility and reusability of the PCIV framework, two pilot systems were deployed: one on the main campus of our university, and one in Chía, a mid-sized town near to Bogotá.

Nearly a thousand vehicles participated in the test conducted on the campus, where six RFID readers were placed at the entrances. During the test the RFID readers sent about 1500 readings per day. The readings were used to provide information in real time and to calculate various statistical measures: vehicular volume, origin-destination matrix, vehicles stay on campus, among others.

Some ten thousand public transport vehicles participated in the pilot deployment deployed in Chia. From the analysis of the results of this pilot, the system is being adjusted and a large-scale test will be held in Bogotá DC, a city with almost two million private vehicles. The results of this second test will be used, in turn, to optimize the system for it to be adopted nationally.

The experimental results show that a cloud-based system with the required level of security and scalability is feasible and beneficial. Related works focus on specific applications, but the VTS designed is a reusable and extensible platform, and acts as a generic framework for the development of other ITS. To our knowledge this is a pioneering work on addressing the implementation of a VTS for a government organization, using cloud computing services. The proposed architecture has been implemented as an experimental version of the PCIV platform.

The paper is organized as follows: Section 1 (Introduction) presents the motivation, challenges and related works; Section 2 (Background) reviews the technologies involved and official standards; Section 3 (The PCIV Platform) outlines the hardware and software components, the architectural principles applied, and the primary use case: Secure Registration of a Reading. Section 4 describes a pilot implementation and analyses deployments costs and results obtained. Finally, Section 5 (Discussion) describes some ITS services that may be implemented based upon the PCIV platform and presents some valuable lessons learned during the implementation and deployment of the pilot system.


Association for European Transport