In this paper we present an efficient way to both compute and extract salient information from trace transform signatures to perform object identification tasks. We also present a feature selection analysis of the classical trace-transform functionals, which reveals that most of them retrieve redundant information causing misleading similarity measurements. In order to overcome this problem, we propose a set of functionals based on Laguerre polynomials that return orthonormal signatures between these functionals. In this way, each signature provides salient and non-correlated information that contributes to the description of an image object. The proposed functionals were tested considering a vehicle identification problem, outperforming the classical trace transform functionals in terms of computational complexity and identification rate.