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Connectivity – The Backbone of Safer Roadways

Published January 4, 2024

The Governers Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in conjunction with State Farm, has released a new report about the efficiency of automated enforcement (AE) in increasing safety on roadways. You can read the report at this link. The article states that traffic fatalities in the United States have increased 30% over the past decade. GHSA believes the expanded use of automated enforcement is essential to reversing the tragic increase in deaths and injuries on the nation’s roadways. One of the key reasons the article cites for this surge in fatalities and injuries is lack of adequate infrastructure. We will discuss how connectivity at the intersection plays a big part in infrastructure deployment and share how it can be a project barrier.

What are Automated Enforcement Tools for Roadways?

Automated enforcement tools for roadways are red-light safety cameras, automated speed safety cameras, and school bus stop-arm cameras. They are all “connected devices” that capture and share data digitally with a traffic operations center. For these devices to work properly, they need to have reliable and fast connectivity. There are two main connectivity options for intersections and along highways - wireline (fiber or twisted pair copper) or wireless.

Wireline connectivity is ideal for traffic intersection and highways for several reasons. These include:

  • Coverage (direct line of sight is not required)
  • Reliability (wireline communication has little-to no interference and ultra-low latency in any weather)
  • Speed (wireline communication can transmit Gigabit connectivity at faster speeds than wireless)

Cost, power, and security are also considerations when choosing a connectivity medium. Wireline communications does not require cellular fees and you can power your devices over your existing wiring, which is not possible with wireless technology. Also, a wired network is contained while a wireless network is susceptible to jamming and hacking.

Why Connectivity (or Lack Thereof) Becomes a Barrier to Automated Enforcement

The expansion of automated enforcement devices can be hindered if agencies do not realize that they can utilize their existing wiring to get the fast and reliable connectivity they need. Many agencies believe that they need to wait until fiber is deployed at their intersections, which creates project delays. Additionally, cost can be a huge factor with fiber deployment as it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, you do not need fiber to achieve fiber-grade connectivity!

With the Actelis solution, agencies can get the instant and secure, fiber-quality connectivity they need to transport the data produced by traffic cameras. For instance, the Actelis' MetaLight 684D Layer 2 Ethernet Switch can be installed in a traffic cabinet and connected to the existing twisted pair copper in about an hour. This provides you with immediate connectivity as well as the option to power the cameras via Power over Ethernet. Since the ML684D is a hybrid-fiber device, it can also transport the data if fiber is deployed in the future.

Let's Make Our Roadways Safer!

Is lack of fiber-quality connectivity holding back your automated enforcement deployment? If so, request a presentation from one of our experienced ITS team members. Together, we can accelerate the deployment of the tools needed to manage traffic while ensuring the safety of our roadways.