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.
In terms of population density, Northern Virginia is one of the most congested in the country, and monitoring infrastructure and data is crucial to keep people moving. The region includes rural areas with rolling farmland, densely populated urban areas, and major international airports. Many of the routes that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) manages are crucial evacuation routes should there be incidents and weather events that affect the capital region. Communications systems based on cable or wired systems from a single service provider are inflexible, and come with high costs for replacement or expansion. In addition, construction to install new traffic signal communication systems can cause delay due to possible right of way issue or limited access problems where trenching and boring will be required – in short, it can take up to six months to upgrade signal communications.
The solution is at the cutting edge of innovation. The Virginia Department of Transportation, working with integrator Warren Electric & Signal Corp., made the decision to implement the Fluidmesh 5Ghz wireless communications system to deliver essential data in real-time. Over 400 radios in point to point and point to multipoint configurations cover over 350 intersections and 130 data networks. This enables traffic signal data information problems to be highlighted and dealt with quickly. The solution is also cost-effective, removing the need for ground construction such as trenching and boring and the accompanying reduction in traffic flow. Instead of months, implementation times are reduced to a matter of days.
The units themselves don’t stint on aesthetics; the Fluidmesh FM1200 VOLO and FM3200 BASE station units aren’t just high-performance, but integrate perfectly into the installation environment. The units provide data encryption at the Application Layer and high speed data transfer is guaranteed by the Fluidmesh technology.
Obviously, construction is necessary from time to time, and the beauty of the wireless Fluidmesh units is that they can be easily repositioned to accommodate construction requirements. There are also no recurring costs, thus saving the department an approximate $20k per calendar month, and 600k savings on initial installation and works costs. For public service budgets, this is perhaps the most important consideration of all.