Perhaps the most significant challenge in using existing transportation infrastructure effectively is the lack of up to date road condition information for the broader roadway network. In large urban centers, dedicated traffic sensors and cameras are deployed on major freeways (e.g. COMPASS and RESCU systems in the Toronto area) enabling traffic managers to obtain information on road conditions in near real-time. But little real-time information is currently available for other roadways, least of all in remote areas.
Installing cameras on a network scale would incur prohibitive levels of costs for power and communication lines, and so more creative solutions are called for. This project proposes a demonstration of innovative technology, to deploy a low-cost Satellite IP Camera (SIPC) Pilot Project, incorporating video capture, solar power and internet communications, thereby removing the need for expensive power and communications infrastructure costs.
Further economies will be realized because the particular communications technology incorporates a user-adjustable bandwidth capability. In practice, this means that the number of video frames transmitted can range from low levels, like one every one to five minutes when traffic is light or normal, to 20 frames per second or higher during heavier or unusual traffic activity.
This technology also affords flexibility inherent in quick set-up times.
The project will incorporate two cameras. One will be mounted at the Highway 400- Highway 9 interchange. The purpose of the second camera is to demonstrate sharing of communications bandwidth, and will not necessarily be installed in a remote location. The video quality will be 640×480 pixel resolution. The project duration is 9 months, and the total estimated cost of this project is $80,000 including a $5,000 provision for contingencies.
The overall goal of the project is to deploy a SIPC pilot installation on an Ontario highway in a remote area within a three month time frame. The purpose is to demonstrate the ITS application using low-cost satellite communication and renewable solar power to capture real-time video data of interest to both traffic managers and interested parties.
If this technology and the pilot are acceptable to operating agencies, it will constitute a breakthrough of ITS implementation in several ways. It will demonstrate fast, flexible and a low-cost comprehensive ITS deployment. It is technically feasible to add video incident detection, vehicle detector and on-site variable message signs to the system configuration, together constituting FAST, LIGHT and LOW-COST Advanced Traffic Management System deployment anywhere on the transportation network. These advanced features are technically feasible, but are not in the scope of the current project.
- A Detailed Work Plan. Within 4 weeks of the start of the project a detailed work plan will be developed. A number of stakeholders will work with the guidelines provided by the System Integrator to develop this coordinated plan.
- The pilot site is expected to be in place 3 months after the start of the project, and will then be in operation and maintained for a period of 6 months, to give traffic managers and interested parties a chance to get accustomed to, and evaluate the results of the pilot project.
- A Final Report outlining what was done, results and recommendations for future work, prepared by MTO and System Integrator.