Success Stories Northern Virginia: Relaying Big Data in the tech corridor with Fluidmesh

Transportation infrastructure can be problematic for a variety of reasons; road maintenance, including the integrity of structures such as bridges, roads and tunnels is an ongoing commitment and most importantly a challenge. Monitoring ones traffic management components, such as traffic signals and the data they collect, is crucial to keep large metropolitan areas moving. The cost for public service departments to monitor and manage transportation can account for a sizeable percentage of annual budgets. However, when that management includes a high-tech corridor including a rapidly expanding population, plus the seat of federal government, traffic is always going to be challenge.

For a city or municipality, transportation planning can be challenging for a variety of reasons. It requires ongoing infrastructure maintenance as well as traffic management technology to help commuters get from point A to point B safely and efficiently. The costs of these systems can be significant and, as was the case with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), planning can be complicated due to a rapidly expanding population and proximity to other urban areas.

The Challenges

Just outside the Washington D.C. city limits, Northern Virginia is one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. The area includes farm land, commercial supply routes, urban areas, and major international airports. Many thoroughfares also serve as crucial evacuation routes for the D.C. metro area. Vital communication systems are crucial for safe and efficient passage in the corridor, but communication systems based on cabling come at a high cost and time commitment. Cabling can involve civil works (construction and trenching) as well as complicated and time consuming approvals processes, adding to the overall cost and inflexibility of the option.

The Solution

VDOT needed to implement a system that delivered all of the advantages of a cabled, secure, and mission-critical communication network without its disadvantages. Working with the integrator Warren Electric & Signal Corp, Fluidmesh Networks’ wireless communication system was incorporated in the overall solution to deliver critical data across the area in real time. Over 400 radios cover more than 350 intersections and stream 130 independent data networks, enabling rapid response and unparalleled flexibility that is reactive to real time road conditions. Instead of months, implementation times are reduced to a matter of days.

The solution, which employs encryption-enabled 5ghz FM1200 VOLO and FM3200 BASE radios in a point-to-point and point-to-multi-point architecture, is cost-effective, secure, and removes the need for costly ground construction and city approvals. Fluidmesh’s MPLS-over-wireless technology guarantees peak network performance according to VDOT’s needs.

By eliminating construction costs and reducing up-keep expenses, Fluidmesh was able to save the department approximately $600,000 in the initial roll-out and $20,000 per month on a recurring basis. The end result is an unobtrusive, flexible, highly reliable, secure wireless network that plays a key role in the safe transportation of commuters at the fraction of the cost of traditional cabled alternatives.