City of San Rafael California – Greener and Safer with Actelis ITS Solutions


Transforming Traffic Gridlock into an Intelligent Traffic System

The city of San Rafael, California chose Actelis Networks, the market leader in high performance hybrid fiber/copper networking, to modernize its traffic system by bringing Ethernet extension to its traffic signals. The project was made possible by the ‘Innovative Deployment of Enhanced Arterials’(IDEA) Grant. 

Funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the IDEA grant provided resources to transform San Rafael’s gridlocked traffic network into an Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM) system.

The IDEA grant program is being used to fund:

  • Traffic signal system improvements
  • Bicycle and pedestrian improvements
  • Transit improvements
  • Other projects

The project scope included advanced traffic signals with upgraded cabinets and controllers incorporating video surveillance and high-speed communications. Enhanced signal performance and Improved traffic monitoring with real-time control would provide essential information and tools to the traffic engineering division to address city traffic management and facilitate long-term planning.

The city of San Rafael, California is north of San Francisco in Marin County, one of the most affluent regions in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city's population was 57,713.

The Challenge

How to build a 21st Century Network with a 20th Century Infrastructure?

Like many cities around the country, San Rafael needed to provide an Intelligent Traffic Monitoring System (ITMS) including cameras and next generation sensors to its busy central business district where fiber connectivity is nonexistent. 

Customer's Requirements

A Fiber Performance Network Sans the High Costs and Construction

Installing fiber was an option, but due to construction timelines and high costs, the city needed a solid, secure alternative that would deploy rapidly without adverse impact to businesses and residences. Prolonged construction to trench fiber would result in further costs and traffic congestion. San Rafael needed hardened products that would deploy rapidly in a variety of locations. The new equipment also needed to be compatible with San Rafael’s existing systems. 

The city’s imperative was a greener footprint with enhanced safety and quality of life for businesses and residents through Intelligent traffic signal timing. Add to that, the need for minimal implementation delays and optimized cost. 

The project needed to:

  • Speed travel times and improve travel-time reliability on major arterials
  • Improve safety for drivers, transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption
  • Advance public agencies proficiency in the use of advanced technologies for arterial operations


Phase 1- Actelis Delivered Immediate Connectivity with 10-20x More Bandwidth over Copper

Actelis Ethernet switches and extenders were used to provide high speed Ethernet and IP connectivity to hard-to-reach intersections. Actelis provided 10 to 20 times more, immediate bandwidth—up to 30 Mbps over the same existing two (2) twisted pairs already used between the intersections and the Traffic Operations Center (TOC).

The ML684D 8 port Layer-2 managed switch with two 1G SFPs and six Ethernet RJ-45 ports, with optional Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows San Rafael to cost effectively aggregate data from up to eight smart devices, using a single Actelis Ethernet switch per location. The new smart sensors and cameras allow for real-time traffic volume metrics including approach delay per vehicle, arrivals on red and pedestrian delay. This means, more efficient traffic signal coordination between intersections, minimizing congestion and travel time for a greener, safer city.

Phase II – Actelis Networks Aggregated Hybrid Fiber/Copper Network

For a second phase of the project, San Rafael later selected the Actelis ML680DF – Fiber only unit to further extend its ITMS network. The combined Actelis hybrid fiber-copper network provides innate security with advanced encryption and Zero-Touch management with centralized control and automated resiliency and failover. Actelis products are NEMA TS-2 compliant, and street hardened to be deployed in a wide variety of installations.


Modernization and Digitization of City Traffic over Hybrid Fiber-Copper Network. 

After installing the Actelis ITMS, San Rafael’s traffic engineering team continued to implemented suggestions made by the Police Traffic Unit. Together, they watched via video detection in real time as the changes improved signal timing and traffic flow. The police were happy and that made San Rafael’s traffic engineering team happy. 

Actelis Networks hybrid fiber-copper Intelligent Traffic Platform enhances traffic flow, safety, and quality of life for motorists, bikers and pedestrians alike. Synchronized traffic with reduced idling times means San Rafael is now a greener, safer city.