New Gate, Drop Arm and RFID System

By Mark Risner

As we reported in the prior Cordillera Ranch Living magazine issue, the Cordillera Ranch POA is in the process of an upgrade to our access control system. If you missed the prior article and want to go take a look, here is a link:

Below is a list of FAQ’s about some of the access control changes planned that you may find helpful. As noted in the article, part of the upgraded system involves adding RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) transponder readers at each perimeter gate. Property owners will add transponder stickers to their vehicles, which will automatically activate the gate to open as you arrive.

Where else is this RFID technology used?

All of us have used or have been exposed to this technology. “Toll tags” on toll roads, plastic tags on merchandise to prevent shoplifting, microchips implanted in our pets, and microchips placed on shoes to track runners in marathons are all examples of how this technology is already in use.

How will the new RFID system work?

Each vehicle will have its own RFID tag mounted on the front windshield or headlamp (predetermined by make and/or model of car). As you approach a gate, a reader will receive a signal from the tag mounted on your car and will operate the drop arm.

How will the RFID system reduce tailgating into the community?

The drop arms will be programmed to allow only one vehicle through at a time. This is accomplished via a magnetic loop in the pavement. Our exit gates already use this system. As your vehicle approaches the drop arm, the reader receives a signal from the RFID tag, which lifts the arm and holds it open until your vehicle passes over the magnetic loop in the pavement, and then drops the arm about 1.5 seconds after your vehicle clears the loop. Signage will be posted as a visual warning about single vehicle access, video surveillance and eminent danger of damage to vehicle and liability of driver. Seeing how quickly the drop arms operate as cars ahead approach the system will be a deterrent as well. However, the system will be tested by tailgaters and drop arms will be broken. Drop arms will be replaced as soon as possible after an incident. Drivers will be responsible to pay for damage to the drop arms and their own vehicle.

When will the system be activated?

You’ll start seeing physical signs of progress with the construction of infrastructure in January 2018. As the system becomes operational, it will be tested by a small group and then rolled out to the community thereafter. We’re hopeful all of this can be accomplished by the end of Q1 2018, and we will notify all residents and members when they need to have RFID readers installed on their vehicles.

How many RFID tags can I get? Will there be an expense for the RFID tags?

A single tag may be purchased for each vehicle registered to your home or property in Cordillera Ranch. Club members will need to provide membership information to obtain RFID tags. Just as there was a charge for clickers, there will be charge per RFID tag. The CRPOA will share methods of payment and when you will be able to purchase the new transponder tags in future communications.

Does a vehicle have to be physically present for the installation of the RFID tag?

Yes. We’ll have staff trained for the proper installation of the RFID tags and a test reader will be present to provide immediate confirmation that your RFID tag is functioning properly. With thousands of vehicles to be processed, a schedule for installation will be provided to allow for groups of property owners to come purchase new transponders and have them installed by CRPOA staff.

How will I gain access if in a loaner car, rental, on a motorcycle or with a non-resident friend?  

1) You can enter through one of the gates monitored by our guard or virtual guard system (Hwy 46, FM 3351/Rio or Joe Klarr Road entry) and stay in the visitor’s lane and the guard (or virtual guard through call box and video camera system) will let you in after verifying your identity or that your guest is on your approved guest list. 2) You (or your guest) can pull up to the call box at all perimeter gates and use your “direct dial code” which will call the phone number you have set (we recommend updating the phone number it calls to your cell phone) and then when that call is received by the resident, the resident will push “9” and it will open the gate. Theoretically, if you did not have your vehicle with RFID and had your cell phone registered as the number the gate will dial, then you could pull up to the call box, type your direct dial code, your cell phone would ring and you simply push “9” on your cell phone to let yourself in.

Will our clickers and gate access codes (not direct dial codes) remain active after the conversion to RFID tags? Do I have to turn in a clicker for each tag?

While converting to the RFID system, clickers will remain active, but once we have fully transitioned to the new system, clickers will no longer work. Notification of such timing will be posted and communicated once we are comfortable the system is up and fully operational. At that time, all gate access codes (which are different from “direct dial codes” mentioned above) will also cease to work. We won’t require existing clickers be exchanged for RFID tags. Feel free to add old clickers to your collection of 8-track tapes and rotary phones.

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