As traffic congestion continues to increase and take a heavy toll on existing infrastructure, the environment, and commuting time, city administrators and traffic engineers are turning to intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for practical and cost-effective solutions to improve road safety and traffic management. These systems leverage cutting-edge analytics, made possible by vast amounts of high-quality data that was collected by various sensors.
At the core of an ITS, the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) incorporates sensors with communication and control technology to monitor traffic conditions and transmit relevant data to the traffic control center via a citywide network. The control center then consolidates information from other sources to formulate, evaluate, and execute traffic control strategies, as well as deliver relevant information to all road users for route planning and safety purposes.
Increasing Components of an ATMS
ATMS integrates traffic monitoring, analysis, and control into a single application via a network. The more real-time traffic data is fed to the central control system, the more robust it becomes. A reliable network is therefore key to enabling operators to make the right traffic management decisions. An ATMS contains the following necessary components:
Control Mechanism: At each road intersection, the control mechanism analyzes the traffic information coming from various sensors to decide the optimal timing for each traffic signal. This is made possible by multiple subsystems and devices, such as traffic lights, variable message systems (VMS), traffic information from road weather information systems (RWIS), or CCTV systems.
Sensors: Sensor data is important as data forms the basis for recognizing traffic patterns and formulating a traffic control plan. Common sensors in an ATMS include loop detectors and laser or radar sensors for motion detection. Cameras are also widely used in these applications.
Communications: Control mechanisms at each intersection also need to be interconnected for communication with the central control system via wired or wireless networks. That way, signal switching at multiple intersections can be coordinated effectively.
Central Control Systems: At the heart of the ATMS is the Central Control System (CCS), which oversees the entire traffic management operation of the ATMS.
Thanks to the increasing adoption of cloud-based traffic management systems and the wider deployment of smart sensors, today’s ATMSs are more efficient and robust. However, these advanced sensors and systems also raise several connectivity concerns. Before revamping your existing traffic management systems, you should ask yourself the following three questions.
First, does my connectivity solution make network integration of various sensors easy?
An ATMS relies on multiple sensor data to provide insights for both traffic management input systems and information output devices used to convey messages to road users. The interfaces required may include serial-based or digital/analog data points, so your connectivity solution should offer multiple yet flexible communication interfaces in one compact hardware design to make installation and maintenance efficient. Thus, choose a compact and reliable solution to connect various sensors for clean and robust integration.
Second, does my connectivity solution provide sufficient cybersecurity safeguards for critical infrastructure?
Transportation systems are critical infrastructure important to national security and safety. Networked and cloud-based services can become an easy target of malicious hackers. Proper device configuration and up-to-date installation of firmware and security patches help secure both data and communication within the network. Thus, choose a solution that is secure by design and provides essential security functions to ramp up your device security.
Third, how do I manage multiple field devices spread across different networks and sites?
The increasing number of smart sensors that are deployed at different field sites requires more networking devices for data acquisition and communication. Consequently, traffic system networks can become a tremendous undertaking and easily overwhelmed. Configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting these devices and networks can also be labor-intensive and time-consuming. For this reason, you need an efficient solution from the very beginning. For example, a network management tool that visualizes your networking device statuses and provides a user-friendly interface for mass configurations can be a great help.
As an industrial connectivity and networking solution provider, Moxa has helped numerous clients connect and build reliable networks for ATMS in intelligent transportation systems. Download our case studies and see how we have helped other companies enable future-proof communication for their ATMS.
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