Arizona fights traffic congestion on wireless mesh

Arizona fights traffic congestion on wireless mesh

Firetide, the technology leader in next-generation wireless mesh networking, announced the successful deployment of a state-of-the-art wireless intelligent transportation system (ITS) for the Scottsdale Traffic Management Center (Scottsdale TMC). The ITS communications platform connects wirelessly to video cameras, traffic signal controllers and dynamic message signs on arterials throughout the city so experts at the Scottsdale TMC can continuously monitor traffic activity from a central command center. The ability to view live video feeds from heavy traffic areas enables city officials to make fast, well-informed decisions on how to prevent and reduce daily congestion, improve driver information and actively manage traffic affected by special events, weather, and emergency situations.

The City of Scottsdale covers an area of 185 square miles and is home to more than 225,000 citizens. The city's traffic congestion is exacerbated by the fact that Scottsdale borders Arizona's other large population centers including Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, and Mesa. Scottsdale also hosts many heavily attended special events and PGA golf tournaments.

Scottsdale TMC's wireless ITS network consists of 90 Firetide wireless mesh nodes, Firetide network management software, and 86 PTZ digital video cameras. To monitor traffic flows more effectively, the video cameras are strategically placed on traffic signal poles at intersections throughout the city, and connect directly to the city's network via Firetide wireless mesh nodes. Live video feeds of the most heavily trafficked intersections are continuously displayed on a large video wall and on desktop monitors in the command center, where operators can identify congestion and spot incidents as they happen — enabling them to take corrective action and remedy congestion before it worsens.

Scottsdale is a forward-looking “smart city” that is focused on implementing technology to improve the city's critical infrastructure while saving taxpayer money. Migrating from its existing leased-line communications network to the newly deployed Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh network will save the city approximately $250,000 a year in lease fees alone, enabling the city to achieve full ROI in only four years. The ITS platform was procured through national provider Unicom Government (formerly known as GTSI ), of Herndon, Virginia, via the pre-competed US Communities contract.

The Firetide wireless infrastructure network was selected because it proved to be the only solution that could deliver 100 Mbps of very low latency throughput while maintaining “low-sight” (less than 20 feet above the ground) wireless connectivity over long distances. Because the network supports up to 15 consecutive links, or “hops,” it can easily be routed around buildings and trees rather than requiring giant 300-foot towers to operate above these obstacles. The Firetide network's built-in multicast and traffic filtering functions also eliminated the need to purchase external switches, saving the city $1,500 at every camera location.

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