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How to use intelligent networks to ease traffic

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Growing cities see a corresponding rise in the volume of people, goods and cars that need to move through them. Investing in road infrastructure and facilities may improve transit capacity, but there's no guarantee they'll reduce congestion, travel time or mishaps. Access to real-time information on road conditions and local weather can play a major role in helping travellers and commuters avoid traffic obstacles, plan their journey better, and get to their destinations safely.

Data networks for road systems usually support comprehensive road signalling, surveillance and security response features. To sustain reliable, real-time operations over long periods, the network infrastructure is expected to do more than facilitate fast data transfer; it also needs rugged networking capability and robust devices to withstand the challenges of the outdoor environment. Efficient network management that enables quick, easy operations from installation and monitoring to maintenance and troubleshooting, is also important to meet the dynamic network requirements of intelligent transportation systems.

Moxa presents two case studies that demonstrate how the right choice of an underlying network helps improve traffic efficiency and public safety.

Case I: 10GbE Core Backbone for Tunnel Surveillance

Since the opening of the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel in the Oakland Hills in 2013, drivers and passengers in more than 160,000 vehicles save time and fuel every day. The Caldecott Tunnel bore is over 3,300 feet long, and is ventilated by 19 jet fans.

System needs

Traveller safety and efficient flow of traffic are ensured with the tunnel’s fire/life safety emergency systems relying on a unified network infrastructure to detect and suppress fires, and protect travellers.

Linear heat detectors (LHD) are provided for fire detection, carbon monoxide detectors to monitor air quality, and video image detection (VID) cameras for traffic monitoring, intelligent video analysis and event notification in the event of any incident inside the tunnel. When abnormal conditions are detected, the system activates the ventilation jet fans, and provides motorists with instant information through variable message signs and the tunnel radio system.

Solution: Edge-to-core network integration

The massive data processing demand generated by 24/7 video, messaging, and emergency services is supported by the use of industrial core switches in the tunnel and the Operation and Maintenance Control (OMC) centre functioning as the communication backbone.

These high-port-density modular managed switches, each with 3 Gigabit uplink ports and up to 4 slots for fast Ethernet expansion modules (4 ports each), are installed along the highway and tunnel, connecting various edge devices. Multiple H.264 video encoders, capable of -40°C to +75°C operation, encode video from up to four analogue VID cameras each.

A network management platform with a highly-intuitive user interface installed at the control centre enables real-time maintenance of the tunnel infrastructure network by auto-detecting network devices; generating a visual network topology; displaying the status of all network devices and physical links for real-time monitoring; creating event logs; and offering network event playback for easy troubleshooting.

Advantages: Enhanced efficiency and safety

The smooth passage of traffic through the tunnel demonstrates how the 10-Gigabit network infrastructure integrates with various tunnel systems such as signalling, surveillance, ventilation, and fire and air quality monitoring. Key features of the network's edge-to-core connectivity including superior bandwidth, millisecond-level self-healing redundancy, wide temperature range operation, as well as easy management together help the tunnel's 160,000 daily users enjoy a safe and efficient journey.

Case II: PoE-Wired Surveillance for City Bus Transportation

A city in Asia invested in six BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) lines across the city with a networked real-time control and monitoring system ensuring safe, trouble-free operation. The network covers all BRT stations and the control centre. Taking into consideration the hierarchical nature of BRT systems, the system builds on a powerful Ethernet backbone to support centralised management and massive data and video aggregation from over 40 BRT stations.

System needs

Public transportation requires real-time information integration to ensure public safety and maintain traffic efficiency. Key system requirements included centralised video management with multiplexed live display, recording, playback, and alarm reports; easy location awareness and event-based alerts; and proven reliability for non-stop operations.

Solution: HD surveillance network and easy management

The BRT operator deployed an easy-to-use full-function surveillance network that handles automatic monitoring and alert systems, and simplifies staff effort. The surveillance centre uses IP surveillance software for intelligent recording and a powerful centralised video management system that makes it easy to perform live video monitoring, video playback, map display (Emap), remote I/O trigger, and incident management.

A modular rackmount switch simultaneously connects the surveillance, ticketing, alarm, and emergency callout systems within each BRT station. The high-port-density rackmount switches aggregate network connections to handle bandwidth-heavy data and video monitoring. These PoE switches use only Ethernet cable to connect and power up to eight IP cameras each, saving installation and maintenance cost on power cabling.

Multiple compact, vandal-proof IP cameras in both fixed dome and mini-dome version are fitted at every BRT station. Both IP camera models provide 720P HD (high definition) surveillance, video enhancement and pre-alarm recording to reliably monitor all movements within the station all 24 hours.

Advantage: Non-stop services

Thousands of urban residents rely on the BRT to transport them safely every day without error or delay. The assurance of long-term reliability can be experienced in every component of the system. For instance, the Ethernet switches were selected due to their high-density, seamless connectivity, with self-healing redundancy in less than 20 milliseconds. The IP cameras guarantee day and night viewing with superior image quality, fanless design and a wide operating temperature range from -40°C to +75°C. Incident video can be retrieved from centralised video management or local camera storage. All networking devices have long-term guarantees to ensure maximum reliability and performance for the public.

Moxa’s integrated network solutions for intelligent transportation

Road safety and efficiency today depend on real-time access to information and communication. Moxa provides robust edge-to-core industrial network solutions to meet the demands of intelligent transportation systems from roads and tunnels to e-Buses and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), increasing traffic flow, reducing congestion, and improving incident response times.

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