LA uses wireless traffic control to cut congestion

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works' decided to use wireless technology to control 1,000 traffic signals with the goal of reducing congestion and the exhaust emissions that go with it. Proxim Wireless Corp. and Systems Integrated (SI) took on the project, which recently earned the county a 2009 National Association of Counties Achievement Award-- in addition to benefiting from improved traffic flow

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works' decided to use wireless technology to control 1,000 traffic signals with the goal of reducing congestion and the exhaust emissions that go with it. Proxim Wireless Corp. and Systems Integrated (SI) took on the project, which recently earned the county a 2009 National Association of Counties Achievement Award-- in addition to benefiting from improved traffic flow. The honor is presented each year to recognize the creativity and imagination of counties across the nation.

The deployment was a key element of LA County's Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program, which is dedicated to reducing smog and traffic congestion with technology. Proxim's broadband wireless communication system was deployed to provide communications for the County's Kimley-Horn Integrated Traffic Systems (KITS) software. Combined, these systems have enabled County and City staff to monitor traffic signals, react in real time to traffic problems and, if necessary, adjust traffic signal timing to relieve congestion for commuters through more than 30 cities in LA County.

According to the county, the wireless radio installation also reduced both the setup and operating costs for signal communication, while helping to reduce traffic problems. Utilization of Proxim's wireless technology to connect the 1,000 traffic intersections is estimated to have already saved the County's ITS program $7 million in costs over traditional copper or fiber optic installations. Additionally, they estimate that the use of Proxim's wireless radios will save $708,000 annually vs. the cost of leased telephone lines.

"The ability to deploy a wireless communications network for monitoring the operation of 1,000 traffic signals is a huge enabler of productivity for LA County, and will go a long way towards the County's goal to reduce congestion and enable real-time traffic signal monitoring," said John Holbrook, gm of SI. "We've found that Proxim's broadband wireless technology not only provides the best performance for delivering bandwidth intensive applications like video, but it is also the most cost-effective solution on the market. As a result, we have used Proxim's equipment exclusively throughout this deployment."

To date, the project has equipped over 500 intersections with Proxim's Tsunami MP.11 point-to-multipoint radios and will provide communications to approximately 500 more intersections, according to the County. Overall, more than 1,200 of the radios will be deployed for 1,000 traffic- signalized intersections. Approximately 30 of the intersections will also be equipped with one or more video cameras to enable remote monitoring of traffic flow. The cameras will supply data from the intersection to enable remote adjustment of traffic signal timing as appropriate for flow optimization.

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