Budgets for public infrastructure are always tight, and constructing roads and bridges is always expensive. Smart Traffic Management Systems help municipal and regional transportation departments to cope with the situation — quickly and cost-effectively. Integrating smart traffic technology helps them affordably get better performance from their existing infrastructure.
Let's explore how augmenting and retrofitting infrastructure can dramatically improve the efficiency and safety of existing traffic networks.
The problems plaguing our streets and highways are well known. Traffic slow-downs can cause debilitating congestion and add to urban air pollution. Businesses suffer from delivery delays and lost productivity. Emergency vehicles are slowed down by bottlenecks, potentially putting lives at risk. And all of it diminishes the city's overall quality of life.
Meanwhile, cities and regional governments continually ask their traffic management teams, civil engineers and highway maintenance crews to do more with less. In the face of these challenges, innovative cities — "Smart Cities" — are using a coordinated array of hardware, software and cloud solutions to increase traffic flow and improve safety. Smart Traffic Management Systems, which are included in the umbrella of “intelligent transportation systems” and sometimes called “intelligent traffic management,” are automated systems that incorporate the latest advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
These systems can optimize traffic flow and enhance safety by using sensors, cameras, routers and cellular technology to dynamically adjust control mechanisms such as traffic lights, freeway on-ramp meters, bus rapid transit lanes, highway message boards and even speed limits.
Today, Smart Traffic Management Systems make it possible to increase the capacity of city streets without actually adding new roads. With the advent of connected vehicle technology, these systems will also be able to directly control vehicles when needed — braking them in intersections, for example, to prevent accidents with pedestrians or other vehicles. Smart Cities are deploying these systems now to be prepared when the vehicle technology is fully tested and deployed.
All of this connectivity requires sophisticated hardware and software. Digi offers secure, scalable, high-speed connectivity to address the range of traffic management requirements. Designed to operate optimally regardless of moisture, vibration and temperature extremes, Digi industrial and transit routers are installed in Smart Cities around the world.
Some of the key functionality cities achieve with these systems include the following:
All of these functions require monitoring, detection, reliable high-speed data transfer and automation. One purpose-built Digi cellular router can provide the communications backbone to manage all of these systems.
Examples of Digi's communications solutions for traffic management include the following:
Digi technology solutions integrate with existing traffic management systems to provide critical communications, security, reliability, and device management. Digi also offers professional services to integrate and install the systems and develop applications for specific requirements. With thousands of installations across the U.S., our teams have deep experience in tailoring and installing these systems on tight timelines.
Is your city keeping up with new technologies?
Daily traffic congestion may be one of your city's biggest headaches. Ensuring emergency vehicles can rapidly and effectively reach their destinations is a critical metric of success for any traffic management system as well. In addition to handling these urban challenges, city managers also know that disaster preparedness is critical in the event of city-wide events.
During a large scale public emergency, such as a hurricane, tornado or other major disaster, civilian cell phone use can jam cellular networks, jeopardizing communications with first responders and city leaders.
FirstNet is a U.S. nationwide wireless network designed to provide voice, text and data communications for emergency responders — the primary category of public safety entities —as well as "extended primary" services, which include critical infrastructure such as power grids, commuter rail, and water and sewage systems. Digi is building cellular systems to support smart cities in their critical disaster preparedness planning, such as the FirstNet Ready™ Digi WR54 cellular router. This designation means that it has been tested and certified to meet the strict criteria for devices designed for these critical situations.
Techology is always evolving and the future is on the horizon, even as organizations and municipalities make their best choices for infrastructure maintenance and enhancements today. As a technology leader in the networking and IoT space, Digi develops mission critical solutions that are designed for longevity, scalability and evolution to support enterprises and smart cities in long-term planning. For information on the integration of LTE and 5G technologies and networks, and to start your 5G planning, be sure to visit our 5G information page.
Connected vehicle technology is one example of an innovation that will have a huge impact on smart city technology planning. Under trials at test sites, connected vehicle technology will enable vehicle-to-intersection communications and automated braking. As networks become faster, and latency lowers, the ability to make instantaneous, automated decisions for driver and pedestrian safety will increase. Many Smart Cities are integrating the infrastructure techology today to be prepared for connected vehicle at its earliest availability. In the foreseeable future, technologies such as machine learning will also be deployed as it is tested for efficacy in identifying objects and making rapid decisions to improve city safety.
In spite of constrained budgets for infrastructure upgrades, Smart Cities around the world are using smart traffic management technologies to improve the overall performance of their traffic networks, with high performance, secure, redundant and reliable communications solutions that can help streets and highways carry more traffic in greater safety.
At Digi, we have teams with deep experience in transit and traffic management, as well as fleet technology, telematics and system integration to support municipalities in making their smartest infrastructure and city management choices. Contact us to start a conversation about smart traffic, transit, and emergency preparedness solutions for your city.