Maintenance and Infrastructure Insights

This is the final installment in our blog series on Traffic Insights. This post covers Maintenance and Infrastructure Operations. If you’d like to read other posts, check out links to the rest of the series below. 

In part 1, part 2 and part 3 this blog series, we covered Miovision’s vision for data-driven traffic operations. The first two categories of Traffic Insights are Signal Performance Metrics and Arterial Performance Metrics. They provide micro and macro-level insights for traffic planners.

This blog post covers how insights can help improve Maintenance and Infrastructure operations.

Part Four: Maintenance & Infrastructure Insights

Citizens expect traffic lights to work. City traffic teams are responsible for traffic signal maintenance and field operations, but without a system that informs the traffic department of problems in the network it can be difficult to meet the public’s expectation.

Even simple questions, like the ones below, can be hard for traffic pros to answer:

  • Where are the trouble spots for equipment failures in my network?
  • Which detectors appear to be performing unreliably?
  • How can I remotely determine if my maintenance contractors have resolved the signal issue to my satisfaction?
  • How often are signal issues occurring?

To help cities answer these questions proactively, Miovision has a set of reports and dashboards in Spectrum. They are called Maintenance and Infrastructure Insights.

Three Key Reports

Maintenance insights forecast and justify maintenance and operating budgets across cities. They also have an eye toward elevated system performance. Here’s a look at the key reports:

  • Exception Reports: Roll-up views to occurrences of power loss, signal flash, detector failure, pre-emption failure, connection failure and UPS activity.
  • Maintenance Ticket Management: Reporting and tracking of average open ticket time from incident alert to resolution.
  • Intersection Maintenance Profile: Intersection history including uptime, summary of persistent maintenance issues and performance rankings of maintenance teams.

How Are These Reports Generated?

To generate these reports, Spectrum hardware monitors the intersection for maintenance issues or infrastructure failure. Data sources include the traffic controller, detection systems, and power supplies. This information generates maintenance alerts to the appropriate technicians or contractors as part of Spectrum’s core signal management module. All event data associated with infrastructure or service issues are logged in Spectrum’s cloud database. When the problem is fixed, a resolution event is logged in Spectrum’s cloud database.

The database of infrastructure events is analyzed to determine maintenance trends and performance metrics.

What do Maintenance and Infrastructure Dashboards and Reports Look Like?

Maintenance Dashboard: Allows investigation of key trends in maintenance resolution time, uptime, and call volume. This information can be segregated between multiple zones in a city, allowing comparison between multiple groups of technicians.

Corridor Maintenance Priority: Offers corridor-level trend reporting on alert frequency, downtime, travel time and daily volumes.

Summary of Alerts: An annualized view highlighting monthly statistics for a given intersection, broken out by maintenance category, and time-to-resolution.

Pre-emption Summary: A history of pre-emption events, including those that remained active beyond the alert threshold.

That’s All She Wrote

Thanks for reading our series on Traffic Insights. Hopefully it provides some key information on how to optimize your traffic intersections using key insights. If you’d like to learn more, check out our Spectrum page.

 

Gridlock on corridor

Arterial Performance Measures (APMs)

This is part 3 of 4 in our blog series on Traffic Insights. This post covers Arterial Performance Measures. Stay tuned for more!

In part one of this series, we covered the evolution of data-driven traffic operations. In part two, we talked about the first set of insights, Signal Performance Measures. Today’s blog covers Arterial Performance Measures (APMs). APMs are traffic insights that allow optimization of traffic corridors.

Part Three: Arterial Performance Measures

As a traffic pro, have you ever been stumped by the following questions:

  • Are my intersections in a corridor well coordinated?
  • Did that new timing plan adjustment fix my progression problems?
  • Is traffic flowing normally in my main corridors right now?

What seems like rudimentary information actually requires planning and systems. But why does it matter, you ask?

Corridor traffic flow is a critical factor in citizen satisfaction. It’s tracked by a discipline called arterial traffic performance, which are a set of metrics that measure travel times across heavy volume arteries in a city. Traditionally, legacy arterial performance systems were only able to measure performance of sequential intersections. Teams had to stitch together this data to get corridor-level views, which wasn’t always easy. But today, new tools make this much easier. At Miovision, we solve for this with APMs.

So What Do These “Insights” Look Like?

Here’s the list of out-of-the-box reports. All are customizable to your city and whatever traffic priorities top your list.

  • Point-to-Point Travel Time: A comparison of travel time between two points throughout the day, with ability for comparison to historical averages.
  • Corridor Congestion Plot: An analysis of where and when delay is occurring in a corridor.
  • Travel Time Index: The median travel time along a corridor expressed as an index relative to the free-flow travel time.
  • Planning Index: The 95th percentile travel time presented as an index relative to the free flow travel time. This metric indexes the typical worst-case scenario that a traveler should plan for.
  • Buffer Index: The difference between the Planning Index and Travel Time Index. This provides an indication of the perceived extra time that a traveler should plan for above and beyond the average travel time.  This metric is a good indicator of Travel Time Variability.
  • Progression SPM: Use of various Signal Performance Measures for the collection of intersection data along a corridor. It’s presented in ways that help evaluate the quality of progression along the corridor.

How Are These APMs Generated?

The process is called “wireless vehicle re-identification,” which counts vehicles by tracking MAC addresses from mobile phones. Here’s how it works within Spectrum.

Collect: Included with the Spectrum hardware at each traffic cabinet is the antenna used to transmit data back to the traffic management center using cellular LTE. This antenna supports Wi-Fi signal discovery, and is used to monitor the presence of Wi-Fi devices passing thru the intersection, such as mobile phones or even “smart” vehicles. The Spectrum antenna scans the intersection for Wi-Fi devices in its vicinity, and reads and records addresses within the active range.

Sort: By scanning continuously at all intersections, Spectrum can recognize or “re-identify” a MAC address as it enters and then exits the readable range. Comparing the multiple identifications of the same device, Spectrum can calculate how long it takes for vehicles to travel between two intersections, otherwise known as the “travel time”. Spectrum is able to calculate travel times for 5% to 10% of all vehicles travelling along a route, which produces a statistically accurate model of the true traffic conditions.

Analyze: Spectrum then performs sophisticated data analyses and filtering to combine the individual records to produce a total Travel Time Analysis for an arterial. This analysis indicates how the commute time, delay and congestion varied throughout the day, as well as easy comparison between different time periods.

An important note on privacy. (We’ve highlighted it in red because this is important.)

MAC addresses don’t contain personally identifiable information, but they could be used to “track” a specific vehicle in ways that violate citizen privacy. As soon as Spectrum detects a Wi-Fi MAC address, it is hashed or scrambled, using an algorithm that does not allow the original MAC address to be reverse engineered. The hash key changes every 24 hours to ensure that a single driver’s commutes cannot be correlated over time.

What do APM Dashboards and Reports Look Like?

Here are the two most popular.

Travel Time: This graph shows the selected single day’s travel time (orange) vs. the 12-week historical trend (blue). The 24-hour data is presented as individual vehicle captures (dots) and the associated median travel time (orange line). The trend is presented as median (blue dotted line) and variability bands of 80th, 90th and 95th percentile travel times are shown for the selected comparison window.

Travel Time

Travel Time

Congestion Scan: This index graph shows the travel time for different segments of the corridor and for various times during the day. This can highlight not only when, but also where congestion is building.

Congestion Scan

Congestion Scan

Part four of this blog series will appear in a few weeks. It will cover the final category of Miovision Traffic Insights:  Maintenance and Performance.

Signal Performance Metrics

This is part 2 of 4 in our blog series on Traffic Insights. This post covers Signal Performance Metrics. Stay tuned for more!

In part one of this series, we covered the evolution of data-driven traffic operations. We looked at the obstacles many cities face in implementing modern systems. And we didn’t forget to cover the benefits:

1. Better payback from infrastructure investments and 2. Better served citizens.

Both are driven mainly by the traffic insights available from Spectrum.

These insights fall into three main categories: Signal Performance Metrics (the subject of this blog post), Arterial Performance Metrics, and Maintenance and Infrastructure (which we will cover in future posts).

Design, Tune and Troubleshoot with SPMs

Signal Performance Metrics (SPMs) are a set of measurements and visualizations that help traffic teams design, tune, and troubleshoot traffic intersections. They are part of Miovision Spectrum, a turnkey solution for remote traffic signal optimization.

Spectrum provides the entire range of solutions needed to collect, monitor, and understand traffic signals. This includes a managed cellular connection and tools for signal monitoring, video streaming, maintenance alerts, and traffic data insights.

Spectrum’s analytical tools and reports generate actionable information from the raw traffic intersection data. SPMs provide intersection-level reporting of key metrics like:

  • Vehicle volumes
  • Wait times
  • Problem detection

Do These Questions Ring True?

If you recognize the questions below, your team is a good candidate to test these solutions.

SPMs help traffic agencies answer the most basic questions like:

  • Are my traffic signals working?
  • What kind of traffic volumes are we seeing?

But also deeper-level questions like:

  • Do we have an appropriate allocation of green time between movements?
  • Are we meeting our goals on vehicle wait times at rush hour?

How Are SPMs Generated?

Spectrum captures event data from the traffic controller, detectors, and other cabinet devices. This data includes signal state, pre-emption, and detector actuations. This is generated from stop-bar and upstream count detectors and pedestrian call button actuations.

Spectrum’s cabinet hardware is able to generate this data even from cabinets housing older traffic controllers. These typically do not produce high resolution reporting. The raw data is securely stored in Spectrum’s cloud where analysis is performed to extract meaningful information and actionable insights.

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What are the Infrastructure Requirements for Signal Performance Measures?

Although Spectrum Traffic Insights can be useful in an intersection with no detection, the set of available analytics expands with additional detector infrastructure.

With no detectors, Spectrum SPMs include:

  • Red/Green Allocation: The proportion of green time allocated to each approach and movement.
  • Pre-emption Summary: Reports of pre-emption events, durations, and triggers, including railroad crossings or emergency vehicle pre-empts.

With stop-bar detection data, Spectrum SPMs include:

  • Red and Green Occupancy Ratio: Gauges the demand for the various phases based on the ratio of time that vehicles are present in the associated movements. This allows for tuning of split times between phases.
  • Purdue Split Failure: Industry-standard metric that charts the frequency of split failure occurrences, an incident where green signal time fails to meet the vehicle volume demand.
  • Simple Delay: Simplified approach delay measures the time between detector activation during red singals and movement service at start of green signals. Simple delay approximates the overall delay experienced by intersection users.

With advanced upstream detection, Spectrum SPMs include:

  • Arrival Volumes: Counts of total vehicle traffic through an intersection from each approach.
  • Arrivals-on-Red vs. Arrival-on-Green: Counts of total vehicle volume arriving during red or green, giving a rough sign of progression quality for the given movement.
  • Purdue Coordination Diagram: A graphical representation of individual vehicle arrivals relative to cycle time (red, yellow and green), highlighting arrival characteristics, and platoon progression quality.
  • Average Delay: The length of time vehicles are delayed at a congested intersection.

What do SPM Dashboards and Reports Look Like?

We’ve included three screen grabs for dashboards that are generated by Spectrum.

The UX is designed to 1. Be as simple as possible for a big data set and 2. Show performance patterns over time.

Check these out!

Approach Volume: chart showing the volumes for the chosen day compared to the previous 12-week weekday average and variability bands.

approach-volume-pg11

Arrivals on Red/Green over a 12-week period showing the average volume of traffic arriving at the intersection during the red or green phases at different times of the day.

arrivals-on-red-pg11

Occupancy Ratio chart showing the stop bar occupancy ratio during red, green, and the first 5 seconds of subsequent red (ROR5) for each cycle of a selected movement.

occupancy-ratio-pg12-1

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Feeling informed? Part three of this blog series will appear in two weeks. It will cover Miovision Traffic Insights for Arterial Performance Metrics.

Traffic Operations

The Evolution of Data-Driven Traffic Operations

This is part 1 of 4 in our blog series on Traffic Insights. Stay tuned for more!

How do you operate a modern traffic system? It requires more than the ability to manage the asphalt, concrete, steel, and electronics that make up road infrastructure. It’s also about understanding the data being produced by this infrastructure.

As a provider of intelligent traffic signal management solutions, Miovision knows first-hand how traffic teams can leverage the power of traffic data to improve congestion, safety, and operating efficiency.

In this blog series, we’ll describe the current state of city-deployed traffic operations. We’ll also forecast on a future state using traffic insights, made possible by Miovision’s Spectrum solution.

Traffic Operations

A transformational change is now happening in public sector traffic agencies. Cities are awakening to the power of traffic data as a foundational element of how they plan, build, and operate their road networks. Enabling technologies – remote connectivity, vehicle detection, and software tools – are at the heart of this change. But another key driver is public pressure—taxpayers demand accountability in how public dollars are spent.

Traffic teams are already realizing significant benefits from being more data-driven in their operations and decision-making. Teams are now empowered by data to respond more quickly to public safety issues, optimize existing infrastructure to reduce congestion, and more effectively deploy limited budget dollars. However, this transformation is by no means complete, as agencies continue to face challenges in making the shift.

What are the Obstacles to Data-Driven Traffic Operations?

Despite the recognized benefits of agencies moving to a more data-driven framework, three main obstacles are hindering the transition.

  1. Supporting Infrastructure: Historically, two pieces of supporting infrastructure are needed to generate signal performance measures: a controller capable of producing high-resolution data and remote connectivity. Traffic controllers yielding hi-res data are limited to only the latest generation of devices, and remote connectivity is lacking in 55% of North America’s traffic cabinets. The lack of this pre-requisite technology and connectivity has limited the rollout of data-driven practices in many agencies.
  2. Data Analysis Tools: Generating actionable insights from large volumes of traffic data requires analytical software tools. The ATMS or central software systems in place in most agencies today aren’t equipped to perform sophisticated analysis of traffic data. The software systems that do support advanced data analysis are typically limited to modeling signal performance data, without the ability to analyze network-level trends, arterial performance, or maintenance metrics.
  3. Technical Expertise: Leveraging data-driven tools for traffic operations has historically been complex, and required expertise in two areas: the technical IT skills to maintain sophisticated server systems for data processing, and the engineering skills to interpret and understand the resulting data metrics. Many small and medium sized traffic agencies have continued to struggle to deploy traffic data analysis systems due to a lack of expertise in these areas.

Traffic Operations

What Are the Benefits of Enhanced Traffic Operations?

Spectrum’s Traffic Insights tools are helping agencies solve these obstacles by utilizing performance measures and data analysis to enhance traffic operations. Agencies that can effectively collect, understand, and utilize data, have shown the ability to enhance traffic operations in four main ways.

  1. Network Monitoring: Agencies are able to leverage real-time data to understand when congestion is occurring, and if these events are normal or indicate an issue in the traffic network. This is helping operations teams develop traffic plans using accurate and timely traffic data, as opposed to approximate models based on sporadic and potentially out-dated engineering studies.
  2. Optimizing Intersection Performance: Agencies are able to leverage signal performance metrics that quantify and analyze intersection flow from a number of perspectives. These tools are helping engineers to not only identify coordination or configuration issues but also significantly reduce the time that it takes to diagnose and solve traffic issues.
  3. Measuring Impact and ROI: Assessing the impact of a change to road design, a timing plan or a traffic policy has historically been challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. Data-driven traffic agencies are able to leverage the power of “before/after” analysis immediately after making a change so that the true impact and return-on-investment of an initiative can be determined.
  4. Data-Driven Decision Making: Agencies are not only using data to optimize traffic flow; they are using data to optimize strategic decision-making. Capital and operating investment decisions are areas of traffic strategy becoming increasingly justified by data-driven objectives. Agencies can report on their fiduciary responsibility to a council and the public with assurance that tax dollars and resources are being optimally allocated.

Traffic Operations

Ask Yourself the Following Questions

Are you struggling to answer the questions below? If so, your traffic agency is likely a good candidate for increasing the use of data-driven operations.

  • Based on complaints we’ve re-timed and coordinated a major corridor – is it working?
  • I know my signals need to be re-timed, but how can I prove the need with hard data?
  • How can I make a stronger argument for support in my funding applications, backed up by real performance data?
  • Is my signal green-time being optimally allocated?
  • Our staff and budget are decreasing, so how can we maintain our service level with fewer resources?
  • I’m not sure that our maintenance contractor is meeting our agreed on service standards – how can I know for certain?

Part Two of this blog series appears in two weeks. It will cover Miovision Traffic Insights for Signal Performance Metrics. Parts three and four of this series will cover Arterial Performance Metrics and Maintenance and Infrastructure.

How Seattle Transformed a Dangerous Intersection Through Data

There’s an intersection in Seattle located in the Madison Park lakeside neighborhood where a ½ mile hill leads right into a populated business district. There sits Seattle’s busiest Starbucks location and a Wells Fargo Bank. This arterial connection is both the neighborhood’s busiest intersection for pedestrians and a city-designated school crossing location. Due to the rampant speeding and sight-line problems with this location, people walking often have difficulty crossing the street without trepidation.

Busy intersection at East Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East in Seattle

It took a serious collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian to force the city to try and fix the problems with the intersection. That’s where Bob Edmiston, his team from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and volunteers from Tableau saw an opportunity to make difference.

Their success would all depend on the data.

The Long and Winding Road to Funding

The plan for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was to conceptualize and implement a safer intersection strategy for pedestrians. First, the team secured a $90,000 grant through Madison Park Community Council to enable the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to redesign the intersection.

However, to secure the addition $390,000 necessary to implement the changes, they would need to prove that the redesigned intersection would actually solve a problem. On top of that, there is a competitive pitching process for allocating grants in Seattle divided by district. Edmiston and his team were competing for the top spot against 15 other grant projects from the area. After initially failing to convince the decision makers of the value of the project by using an emotional appeal, a more persuasive approach was desperately needed.

If the team didn’t win the grant right now, their project would be dead.

Answering the Call with Data

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sensed that they needed quantifiable proof of the improved safety of their solution. To collect the evidence necessary for a persuasive argument, Edmiston built a traffic counter that could record gaps in traffic with millisecond precision and conducted a gap analysis of the intersection. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteer Troy Heerwagen worked with Edmiston to visualize the data using Tableau Public for ease of understanding.

Edmiston made some key observations:

  • During the critical 15-minute period before the morning school bell, there were only two opportunities with gaps long enough to walk across the street.
  • Crossing distance reductions provided by the curb extensions would reduce the crossing time enough to triple the number of safe crossing opportunities for pedestrians during the critical 30 minutes before the morning school bell, without requiring any changes to driver behavior or roadway function.
Intersection Video Data

Bob’s Visualized Data

After presenting the new data and logic to the East District Neighborhood Council, the people responsible for funding decisions were convinced that the project would, in fact, produce the safety outcomes it promised. They reversed their earlier decision to not fund the project and chose to make it their top priority for 2017 funding.

Don’t Underestimate the Data

Edmiston reminds us to not underestimate the data, when he says,

“data matters, counts matter, gap analysis matters. We would have been dead in the water without it. But it’s about being able to show data in a way people can understand and relate to. That’s an equally important part of the problem.”

If it weren’t for the data collected, Seattle’s busiest intersection would still be dangerous for pedestrians. More so, it was the way team presented the data through visualization that made it digestible and accessible to everyone.

Miovision is passionate about enabling other change-minded individuals to use data to justify their road safety solutions.

Want to learn more how we can help you leverage meaningful data? Contact us today.

miocast with Erin Skimson

“Safety Comes First”- An Interview with Oregon’s Chief Traffic Engineer

Recently, Miovision sat down with Dennis Mitchell, Chief Traffic Engineer with Oregon’s Department of Transportation. Dennis’ experience with ITS Technology gives him a unique perspective on the future of transportation. In this interview, we ask Dennis four key questions:

1) What does transportation look like to you in 10 years?
2) What is it that you want to do to impact traffic?
3) What is your biggest traffic pet peeve?
4) How do you manage the freedom of wanting to drive your own vehicle versus autonomous driving safety?

Continue reading for a short summary or listen to the full interview below.

 


Summary

What does transportation look like to you in 10 years? 

I think the first improvements will be in safety and collision avoidance. We’ll see that in the next ten years. But I think autonomous vehicles are farther out because there are still a lot of things to work out. For autonomous to work, every car needs to be outfitted. Because we’ll need an entire fleet turnover to make that work, it will take some time.

I think the real question is whether self-driving cars will decrease or increase Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). For example, do you drive to work and let the car drive home and come back to get you? It’s an interesting dilemma.

What is it that you want to do to impact traffic? 

  1. Safety is our number one priority. We want to improve safety by incorporating new technology.
  2. Oregon is a small state, and we don’t have a lot of money. We’re trying to figure out how to improve traffic operations with the limited budget that we have. We need cost-effective technologies to do this.
  3. Trying to figure out where we can make the biggest impact using technology. Because we can’t solve congestion, it’s not possible. So let’s try to make small improvements in efficiency and safety of specific locations.

What is your biggest traffic pet peeve? 

Drivers are all different, and each drive with their mentality – some aggressive and others slower.  This mix of driving styles causes congestion. If people just drove consistently we fix some congestion issues without technology. Basic human nature gets in the way.

How do you manage the freedom of wanting to drive your own vehicle versus the greater good of the security and safety of autonomous vehicles? 

I’m not sure how we get past that, maybe its autonomous with a choice. For example, when you reach an area with a certain level of congestion, you must be autonomous. When you reach an area with lower congestion, you could switch to non-autonomous.

What is interesting is, nobody brings up the issue of “what does it do to the insurance industry?” Because who is liable? Is it the facility? The car? The driver? Well, the driver isn’t driving. So it’s interesting to ask, how does it change that industry?

Cities Get Smart with Performance Measures

Dave Bullock, Managing Director, ITS Line of Business, Miovision

Ask the average citizen what a smart city is and you’re likely to hear the following replies:

“It’s where my town fixes utility outages more quickly.”
“My city is looking at data about my usage of public services so it can serve me better.”
“It means I get like seven straight green lights on my way to work.”

All of these are true. But there’s an underlying smartness that goes pretty much unnoticed. It’s about how cities use data to make better decisions. Change is happening now about how governments are justifying projects funded by tax dollars. More and more, city councils and state legislatures are employing private-sector rigor to allocate funding and assess after-the-fact performance of public investments. There’s a movement afoot to performance-based project selection, especially in transportation.

Take Virginia. It’s official state slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers,” is evidently about lovers of data. It is basing every new transportation funding project on performance data. The state announced in June 2016 its Smart Scale Policy. It’s about picking the right transportation projects for funding and ensuring the best use of limited tax dollars. Starting this year, transportation projects in Virginia are being scored with an objective, outcome-based process that is transparent to the public and keeps civic decision-making accountable to taxpayers.

virginia
Instead of squishy logic, pork-barrel pandering or politically-motivated projects, the state has committed to approving each new project on projected performance measures and ongoing analysis of outcomes compared to projections. They will be based on the state’s priorities, specified by the legislature, which include safety, reducing congestion, accessibility, environmental quality, economic development and proper land use.

States across the union are following Virginia’s lead. Massachusetts is working to finalize its performance measures roadmap for project approvals. Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon have also announced such initiatives. It’s about time they tackled a $300 billion opportunity.

Big Dollars, Little Transparency

Federal, state and local spending on transportation will be about $300 billion this year. It’s done with little transparency for citizens and without an eye to performance measures for new infrastructure. States will typically list what projects have been successful in applying for funding. But very rarely is data shared, or even available, to back up why certain projects were selected. And almost never is there data after-the-fact to analyze the return on investment of past expenditures. This has generated low tax payer confidence, and generally low accountability.

Performance measures are available today to vastly improve how cities make funding decisions. The Big Data movement has entered the civic planning space in the form of sensor data from infrastructure, connected devices around cities and analytical tools to frame performance goals.

Data and performance measures is not just a tool that traffic engineers use to tune and optimize their infrastructure. It’s quickly becoming a mandatory component of how projects get selected, funded and assessed at the government and citizen level. Not investing in data driven technology and expertise now puts a planner’s ability to get future funding grants at severe risk.

 In the recent past, traffic teams have utilized data to improve operational efficiencies and unlock additional capacity from their roadways. In the coming years, this data trend will enter the strategic sphere, where funding decisions are made.  Data-based funding criteria will emerge as a common framework for choosing what gets funded and supported based on how it meets congestion, safety, environmental and economic performance targets. Performance measures will also be the method to ensure transparency and accountability in deployment of tax dollars.

Traffic teams who don’t invest in understanding data are missing out on operational optimizations and efficiencies today. But tomorrow, they’ll will be missing out on funding dollars as government and citizens demand more data-driven accountability and decision making backed up by performance measures.

Traffic Insights

Spectrum_ConnectedSignal_Intersection

Now, here’s where all this relates to Miovison.

Miovision has introduced performance measurements features into Spectrum, to support better decision-making policies being instituted across the country. As more and more data becomes accessible, Spectrum helps cities make sense of it with:

  • A defined set of Performance Measures for the whole traffic system that quantifies traffic network performance
  • Trend mapping of how intersections and corridors are performing over time
  • Visualizations of historic traffic patterns
  • Before/after impact analysis of signal tuning on road capacity
  • Identification of systemic shifts in the network compared to short-term anomalies.

For more information on Spectrum and how to connect and understand your traffic signals, please visit https://miovision.com/spectrum/

Dave Bullock is a serial entrepreneur who has built successful companies in the mobile, gaming, and telecommunications industries.  He joined Miovision in 2015 and spearheads Miovision’s Intelligent Transportation efforts.

Check out Dave’s Interview with Kevin Borras from Thinking Highways Magazine at ITS America 2016:

Traffic Engineers Deserve Better Mobile Tools

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Almost every industry imaginable is embracing mobile tools and remote management. Even traditional industries that have been slower to adopt to technological change have embraced mobile as the new normal. Construction professionals regularly manage their job sites and projects with real-time information sent directly to mobile devices. The oil and gas industry uses mobile strategies to modernize their operations. They can better respond to key operational challenges like scheduling and crew management, failure prevention, environmental safety, and increasing productivity. Even farming is getting into the game. John Deere offers remote management tools through Precision Ag, and they are betting big. A farmer can easily see agronomic data in real-time including yield data, seeding varieties and more.

And yet, with all these advancements, traffic engineers have been left behind. Mobile tools and remote management options purpose-built for the traffic engineer are few and far between. With responsibility for moving millions of people and goods through cities everyday, if any profession can justify the need for better mobile tools, it’s the traffic engineer.

Think about how much easier it would be to understand and respond to traffic and signal maintenance issues with access to real-time data on a mobile device. Armed with the right tools and real-time traffic insights, a traffic engineer can reduce traffic congestion and pollution while improving city productivity and mobility more efficiently.

At Miovision, we believe it’s time to invest in traffic engineers, and give them the tools they deserve.

Why Mobile is Better 

It’s Only Real-Time if It’s Mobile

Real-time data is vital in managing a city. But real-time data means nothing if it’s not accessible in real-time. A notification sent to a desktop computer is not sufficient for traffic engineers. They need data on their tablet or smartphone, accessible anywhere and anytime. They should be able to respond to an issue in the field, at the office or at home. A city never sleeps, and neither should their technology.

Smart Alerts

Alerts delivered by text or email can help a traffic engineer better respond to issues. It also provides peace of mind to city traffic staff who currently manage the traffic signal network blind. Instead of relying on citizen or police calls to identify traffic signal problems, the city can know exactly when and where issues arise, and respond appropriately.

Remote Management

Mobile allows for remote management. Traffic engineers get essential information to immediately identify, diagnose and triage signal issues, and fix these problems before they escalate.

This includes the ability to resolve issues remotely.  Deploying a repair team to resolve signal issues should be reserved for things that are not manageable remotely. The time and cost savings, and public safety enhancements gained through remote signal management via mobile more than offsets the cost of this technology.

Traffic Engineers Deserve Better Mobile Tools

It’s time we armed traffic engineers and city transportation staff with adequate tools. They, in turn, will save the city money, reduce citizen frustration and contribute to a more productive city.

You can learn more about Miovision’s smart signal solution; Spectrum, which brings mobile signal data to the traffic engineer.

A Wireless Traffic Network Doesn’t Need to Be Scary

Security Resize1

Dave Bullock, Managing Director, ITS Line of Business, Miovision

Cities are at the forefront of the next wave of the Internet of Things.  Combining digital technologies with existing physical infrastructure to gather useful data – this is the promise of the future city; streamlining communication, optimizing efficiency and improving the lives of citizens. At the heart of the smart city are wireless networks, connecting physical infrastructure and technology via the cloud.

Traffic signals are no exception to the IoT revolution. A connected traffic network provides a whole host of benefits for cities, citizens and transportation professionals. Traffic engineers can access data to make more informed operational decisions, maintain the signal network remotely, and ensure traffic and goods are moving. Remote access provides the flexibility to access signal data anytime and anywhere. But extending access to signal data outside the walls of a traffic management center (TMC) can cause city officials to have security concerns, some real, some perceived. Will my data be secure? What about hackers? What if the cloud is down?  But a wireless network doesn’t need to be scary. If the CIA can trust the cloud, so can you.

Want to read our security whitepaper?
Get deeper insights into wireless security.

 

Here are the common security concerns we hear from traffic professionals and city office. If your solution can address these issues, you can rest assured that your wireless traffic network and the underlying data will be secure.

Concern #1: Will I have less control over my data?

A good solution will allow you to maintain full control of your data via the cloud. You’ll be able to manage and monitor who gets access and when. All access should be managed by secure authentication. If you can’t manage and control access securely, then we’d suggest finding another solution.

Concern #2: Will my data be secure?

Your data should be secured through encryption and a Virtual Private Network. For example, Miovision enables read-only access to monitoring tools, and prohibits the ability to push new timing plans from outside the city’s VPN. We recommend utilizing a vendor with a strong cloud partner, like Amazon Web Services. We consider them to be the gold standard, which is why we use them for our Spectrum solution.

Concern #3: Isn’t it more secure to have my data stored on city-owned infrastructure?

Regarding cloud computing, some cities are concerned with the fact that the solution and data live outside their walls, and not on city-owned IT infrastructure. To ease those concerns, cloud-based providers like Miovision and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have sizable security teams focused on monitoring and regularly patching systems. It’s safe to say security monitoring from cloud specialists is superior to a few security personnel on a city’s IT team. These security measures for cloud-based computing have earned the trust of government organizations like the CIA and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Concern #4: What if the network is down? What if a disaster hits?

To avoid downtime, a vendor should provide a rigorous overview of their security response process as well as real-time network status. You can find our network status here. Furthermore a reputable cloud partner should provide a very detailed security response process. This should entail their process for secure backups and disaster recovery.

Concern #5: What about hackers?

A good solution will use the highest level of encryption similar to those used for banking and government. A good standard is OpenVPN connection that uses AES-128, configured with CBC mode. Endpoint authentication is via OpenVPN pre-shared key authentication mode. This level of encryption will keep your traffic network on lockdown.

Hopefully this eases some of your concerns about wireless network security. The cloud is the new normal for businesses, governments and cities. With robust security, your city will be more effective, efficient and secure.

Dave Bullock is a serial entrepreneur who has built successful companies in the mobile, gaming, and telecommunications industries.  He joined Miovision in 2015 and spearheads Miovision’s Intelligent Transportation efforts.

Learn More About Connecting Traffic Signals

If your security concerns are at ease, you can learn more about our solution; Spectrum. It’s the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to connect and understand your traffic signals.

Connected Traffic Signals: Do You Care? You Should.

Spectrum_ConnectedSignal_Intersection

Dave Bullock, Managing Director, ITS Line of Business, Miovision

Miovision has been conducting an annual peer survey on the state of traffic signals across North America for several years now. Most recently, traffic signal connectivity was the #1 five-year goal of respondents. While 48% of intersections were reported to be connected,  respondents had a desired connectivity level of 81%.

Want to see the full results of the study?
Check out our infographic that summarizes the key findings.

 

It’s clear that cities care about traffic signal connectivity. But why? What are the forces driving this need, and what are the benefits?

Why You Should Care

Your city is demanding smart traffic signals, and your operating budget is demanding cost saving and efficiencies. Urban populations are growing, infrastructure is aging, and you are being asked to do more with less. To keep up with the demands of modern urban populations, cities need to integrate new solutions into old ways of doing things.

Traffic signals can’t deliver the valuable data they collect if they aren’t connected to the Internet as part of a network. Signal connectivity enables cities to acquire the data needed to make better operational decisions, maintain the signal network remotely, and ensure traffic and goods are moving.

Here are four ways remote connectivity helps cities, citizens and traffic engineers:

Reason #1: Minimizes Downtime

According to the 2012 National Traffic Signal Report Card, delays at traffic signals contribute to an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all traffic delay, or 295 million vehicle-hours of delay annually. Connected traffic signals help reduce traffic congestion and delays by communicating problems when they arise, so issues can be dealt with before they escalate.

Reason #2: Reduces Maintenance Costs

Connected traffic signals simplify signal retiming and automate monitoring of equipment failure so maintenance resources can work smarter. USDOT ITS for Traffic Signal Control notes that communications networks allow almost instantaneous notification of traffic signal equipment failure, without which some failures may go unnoticed for months.

Reason #3: Provides Traffic Insights

What gets measured, gets done. Real-time traffic system data allows for evaluation of traffic flow and performance, enabling immediate signal timing adjustments, long-term planning strategies and communication of route planning information to the traveling public.

Reason #4: Improves the Citizen Experience

Perhaps the biggest driving force is the fact that connectivity improves the citizen experience. Citizens like nothing better than a smooth drive with proper, uninterrupted and predictable flow from their starting point to their destination. According the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, the average urban commuter spent an extra 42 hours of travel time on roads than if the travel was done in low-volume conditions and used 19 extra gallons of fuel, which amounted to an average cost of $960 per commuter.

The benefits of connected traffic lights provides motorists with recognizable improvements in travel time, lower vehicle operating costs, and reduced vehicle emissions. This translates into less stress for citizens (an actual measure in the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard).

Dave Bullock is a serial entrepreneur who has built successful companies in the mobile, gaming, and telecommunications industries.  He joined Miovision in 2015 and spearheads Miovision’s Intelligent Transportation efforts.

Learn More About Connecting Traffic Signals

If these benefits sound like big enough reasons to explore traffic signal connectivity, learn more about Miovision’s Spectrum. It’s the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to connect and understand your traffic signals.