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ATEC helps Northampton reduce urban traffic congestion and running costs through wireless solutions
ATEC introduces innovative integration and wireless technology solutions to improve urban traffic management systems and deliver a substantial return on investment.
By: ATEC Security
ATEC had been a supplier for several years to Northamptonshire County Council, working with their highway and transport provider KierWSP (formerly MGWSP), with previous responsibility for refreshing several dozen traffic monitoring cameras in Northampton and Kettering, and installing a monitoring wall in the urban traffic control (UTC) room.
Main junctions and crucial roads were monitored at peak times (7.30 till 18.00) to avert bottlenecks and provide early information to the public and support services to maintain traffic flow. The service was delivered using BT RS1000D leased lines transmission.
Historically, the system came at both a CAPEX and OPEX cost, as each CCTV installation point cost in the region of £20,000 with an associated annual running cost of around £1,500.
ATEC’s value creation philosophy
As is the case working with all of its partners, ATEC looks to create value through people, processes and technology. ATEC saw a technology return on investment (ROI) opportunity in the Northamptonshire UTC system. A proposed wireless alternative to the legacy system was likely to replace the need of more than 70 communication lines, which suggested the potential to translate into significant savings.
ATEC was commissioned to design a wireless network, the specification of which was subsequently incorporated into tender documentation. ATEC won the bid for installation based on its detailed technical proposal and cost-effective project management schedule. Though early days, it is anticipated that ATEC’s specifications will meet the unique equipment challenges of a UTC environment, with wireless access points specifically designed to meet the ruggedised requirements of deployment and use. The new wireless WAN also incorporates more than 110 traffic light junctions and crossings, which saves considerable annual costs and allows all of Northamptonshire’
By migrating to a wireless network, the UTC system gained many benefits. By having a wide area network (WAN), the system is more resilient and now provides greater management ease of use, information clarity and IL2 security assurance. The system is now IP camera and HD ready. For system operators there is the potential to enjoy a significant increase in image quality as, over a private network, bandwidth is unconstrained and can be opened to its maximum. Looking to potential developments, the system is future-proofed for advances in camera technology as higher definition units come to market.
The move to a wireless IP cloud-based system gave the Northamptonshire authorities a new flexibility. When the cost of the KierWSP control room location came up for review and was deemed too expensive, it was a relatively simple matter, with a cloud-based system, to relocate to a new location.
In the busy and volatile world of highways, road layouts get changed, maintenance is scheduled and cameras are moved. To plan and implement logistics and hardware changes in a fluid environment can be costly, time consuming and potentially disruptive. Typically, the addition of a new camera location cost £20,000 and took two months. The implementation of a wireless MESH network has meant that Northamptonshire can introduce changes in half the time at half the cost, with minimised ongoing maintenance costs, as the core infrastructure is already in place to accommodate changes. The authority can also install temporary works affordably.
Control; automation, early warnings and assured uptime
When new monitoring software becomes operational the UTC system operators will enjoy greater control. The monitoring solution is a highly available, scalable solution that provides operators with intuitive, at-a-glance, aggregated information. ATEC, or the system’s IT administrator, is informed immediately via email, text message or other means in the event of delays, malfunctions or failures. The result of automation is that many faults can be fixed remotely before there is any adverse impact, which is especially useful when tight service level agreements (SLAs) are in place. Systematic network monitoring reduces outages and improves services, and provides a long-term overview of the health and usage of the network.
A highly significant return on UTC investment
Improvements to the Northamptonshire UTC system can be measured in operations effectiveness that results in enhanced monitoring and faster response times to maintain traffic flow on critical roads at peak times, when the consequence of congestion can have serious impact on civic wellbeing and regional commerce. Northamptonshire were already doing a lot to improve traffic flows in towns but, with the implementation of this new system, they were able to monitor, adjust and improve flows even further and keep traffic on the move. However, the most tangible benefit of ATEC’s new IP network is the significant ROI that enables Northamptonshire to achieve more at less cost.
The payback to Northamptonshire compared with legacy systems is more than £100,000 in five years and nearly £500,000 over fifteen years. These figures exclude the additional costs that would otherwise have been incurred to modify the system during maintenance, plus the system is future-proofed to scale cost-effectively.
The ATEC Difference
ATEC solutions are designed to create value by increasing the productivity and effectiveness of system users. ATEC also invests heavily in in-house programming and middleware to ensure that disparate systems work together so that information can be controlled centrally, which saves on potential operational costs. Plus, ATEC helps clients meet a significant challenge in today’s world of complex technology by keeping up to date with manufacturers’
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