The goal of transportation agencies around the world is consistent — increase customer service, improve systemwide safety and reduce system congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. To support these efforts, transportation systems are moving toward an efficient operations model powered by intelligent transportation systems (ITS). ITS includes a number of applications such as CAD/AVL, traffic cameras and counters, highway advisory radio (HAR), variable message signs (VMS), dynamic digital signage, automatic license plate recognition, remote weather information systems (RWIS) and many others. These new systems generate and process vast amounts of information that need to be transferred from drivers, operators, vehicles, cars, airport ground crews, ports and traffic management and dispatch centers.
The value of ITS applications has been proven, but in most cases, they’ve only been deployed over limited areas served by wired communications infrastructures. The primary constraints of broader technology deployments have been both a lack of dedicated funding, but more importantly a unified, secure network solution (a combination of wired and wireless technology) that can support the communication over a large jurisdiction.
Wireless Networks — Extending the Reliability and Reach of ITS
Thanks to a number of advancements in wireless technology, today’s transportation agencies have a number of choices when evaluating communication solutions for their ITS deployments. To meet the goals of expanding ITS deployments, providers are increasingly considering well-engineered, wireless communications networks from the providers of their mission critical and land mobile radio (LMR) communication systems. While ITS systems are still new within transportation infrastructure, utilization of unified, standards-based, licensed, assured communications (both wired and wireless) will enable the broader distribution of ITS technologies that can enable the goals all agencies are working toward: safety, mobility and environmental sustainability.
CCTV — A Framework for a Successful ITS Application Deployment
One of the major hurdles in the construction of ITS systems is data-heavy applications that require efficient transfer of large files or content streams, such as video from the bus or train to the operations center. One solution for first responders can be CCTV video, which can be streamed in real-time for situational awareness and location positioning.
Achieving this level of broadband reach and connectivity is a challenge that has been attempted by a number of transportation agencies through the purchase of disparate technologies. This patchwork approach often creates a number of transmission problems. Difficulties occur when offloading or backhauling video and traffic control data from bus, train or traffic corridors to operations centers over the wireless network, as well as interference and disparate network administration systems.
A better solution to successfully deploy ITS video applications is for transportation agencies to turn to the same wireless network providers that agencies currently rely on for the planning, deployment and maintenance of their most mission-critical networks. Working with these providers will allow transportation agencies to ensure that the deployed system, and related applications, meets the short- and long-term needs from CAD/AVL, traffic signal prioritization, passenger information systems and real-time streaming video.
The Future of ITS — It’s the Growth of the Network
Today, the combination of private fiber and WiMAX-based networks at 4.9GHz are providing transportation agencies the ability to deploy ITS networks. By choosing the right wireless technologies and deployment partners, transportation agencies can design and deploy networks that will be an essential part of successful, long-term deployment of intelligent transportation systems.
Barry Einsig is market director with Harris Public Safety & Professional Communications.