Smart Work Zone Traffic Management: An Applied Research Project

Posted by on 14 Feb 2022 under Uncategorized

We are excited to share this research project “Smart Work Zone Traffic Management” conducted by Dr. Amjad Dehman. This project extended over two years starting in February 2020 and was hosted at Laboratory of Innovations in Transportation (LiTrans), Department of Civil Engineering, Ryerson University under the supervision of Dr. Bilal Farooq. The project was awarded the Mitacs Elevate program grant, which was funded by the Government of Canada and Lazaret Capital Inc. Several industrial partners assisted and supported this research project including Lazaret Capital (funding, project management), Stinson ITS (data access support, networking), Miovision (Traffic Surveillance System), and Safe Roads Engineering Inc. (technical support, supervision). The project included three main studies or themes as outlined below and supported by links guiding to corresponding presentations or papers.

Evaluating Work Zone Traffic Performance Using Traffic Surveillance Systems

Key Study Highlights:

• Traditional HCM-based calculations using traffic volume counts retrieved from traffic counter may provide misleading level-of-service results if the intersection suffers from congestion, blockage, and starvation problems.

• In these scenarios, a video-based evaluation of the level-of-service is vitally needed to inform the public and transport agencies of the correct traffic situation.

• Traffic agencies are advised to consider making video-based traffic surveillance at least highly recommended at key congested corridors/intersections where work zone activities may create long-term traffic challenges or where neighbouring intersections may create complex blockage/starvation problems.

• Travel time reliability, affected by work zone activities, was analyzed over a 1.25-km urban street.

Capacity Characteristics of Long-Term Work Zones on Signalized Intersection Approaches

Key Study Highlights:

•  Traffic capacities of five work zone configurations were introduced.

•  Stochasticity and reliability were integrated into work zone capacity models.

•  The impacts of degree-of-saturation (over- versus under-saturated conditions), light condition (daylight versus nighttime), late-merge, heavy vehicles, and adverse weather conditions were analyzed.

•  A broad set of guidelines and policies aiming to improve the day-to-day practice of WZ traffic management and planning was articulated.

Are Work Zone and Connected Automated Vehicles Ready for a Harmonious Coexistence?

Published in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies

Key Study Highlights:

•  The state-of-the-art and state-of-the-practice of deploying connected and automated vehicles at work zones were reviewed.

•  Mobility, safety, environment, technologies, infrastructure, and regulatory considerations were explored.

•  Research agenda is prepared and supported by an experts’ survey.




Wireless ISPs and Fixed Wireless Networks

Posted by on 14 Feb 2022 under Uncategorized

A useful technology that almost no one in traffic is using

Written by: Michael McGuire, Vice President & General Manager of Stinson ITS

My hope in this article is to shine light on a technology that I think provides a ton of value but which is very underutilized in this industry.  Let me start by saying I’m not an expert in this technology but I’ve been using it off and on for almost 10 years with good success.  The technology I’m referring to is low cost fixed wireless radios, typically operating in the 5GHz band.  I will be looking at how this technology works as well as how it’s being used, both by end users directly as well as by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) to provide connectivity as a service. Fixed wireless radios offer a unique connectivity option as it allows for unlimited bandwidth which LTE cannot provide.  In cases where high bandwidth is required (ex. video streaming 24/7) there are not very many options.

Over the past decade wireless networking has been revolutionized by companies like Ubiquiti Networks who have offered very high-performance radios for extremely affordable prices (some radios under $100).  The biggest surprise is that no one seems to know about these devices, especially in traffic.

There are certainly other low-cost radio providers but I will focus on Ubiquiti Networks in this article as they seem to be the leader in this space and I have the most experience with their devices (others include Cambium, Miktrotik, TPLink, & Netgear).  Ubiquiti has experienced a monumental rise in market share and valuation since going public in 2011, going from $17 per share to almost $300 in that time.  I started using their radios in 2013 and I just wish I had bought some stock back then.


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Stinson Owl-Lite and Stinson ITS acquired by traffic leaders the Work Zone Safety Group of companies (WZSG) to accelerate growth in North America

Posted by on 01 Feb 2022 under Uncategorized

Stinson Owl-Lite and Stinson ITS acquired by traffic leaders the Work Zone Safety Group of companies (WZSG) to accelerate growth in North America

Left to Right: Jesus Munoz (Managing Director at Ramudden Inc),  Morten Finslo (Chief Strategy and M&A Officer at Ramudden/WZSG), Peter Wehmeyer (President of Direct Traffic Management Inc.), James Delamere (President of Stinson Owl-Lite & Stinson ITS), Michael Costello (Chief Financial Officer at Stinson Owl-Lite)

Stinson Owl-Lite and Stinson ITS acquired by traffic industry leaders Ramudden Inc. and Work Zone Safety Group (WZSG) to accelerate growth in North America

Vaughan, ON February 1, 2022WZSG, the largest temporary traffic and safety solutions specialists in Europe, through its Canadian subsidiary Ramudden Inc. has acquired 100% of the shares in Canadian Traffic Safety leaders Stinson Equipment Limited (Stinson Owl-Lite) and Stinson ITS Inc. In a separate transaction WZSG has also added Direct Traffic Management and Dynamic Traffic Services to their Canadian portfolio.


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Stinson AIS Bluetooth & Wifi Traffic Monitors

Posted by on 21 Sep 2021 under Uncategorized

Written by: Michel Mondor, Stinson ITS’s Eastern Canada Account Manager

Travel time sensors have been an essential part of smart work areas for many years, but their use has often been very narrowly focused on displaying passenger information and not on the large amounts of data that sensors can collect.  Especially in the past year, when COVID-19 has had a direct effect on traffic flows in cities and on construction sites. Data from travel time systems can provide key insights.  By measuring traffic volume trends, traffic managers in the construction sector can instantly make smarter decisions when road closures and other activities should be allowed to reduce their impact on congestion.  With this data-driven approach, construction companies can justify prolonged road and lane closures when traffic volumes are low, speeding up their construction schedule.


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Traffic Sign Visibility: How a New Innovation is Making Roads Safer

Posted by on 25 Aug 2021 under Uncategorized

Written by:

Nick Schmidling

TAPCO | Senior Product Manager

 

Traffic signs have come a long way since the early 20th century, when stop signs were mostly yellow and federal regulations were minimal.

Not only do traffic signs look very different today, the technology and innovation built into them is making the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities increasingly feasible.

Perhaps no innovation makes this clearer than the LED-enhanced sign, a popular option that incorporates long-lasting LEDs into the sign face to increase sign visibility and compliance. TAPCO was the first to bring such a solution to the traffic safety industry 20 years ago and is now leading the way with continuous innovation.

Now, a new LED-enhanced sign innovation has emerged, giving transportation professionals another tool for improving traffic safety — and it’s already making a big impact.



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RadarSigns – Your undiscovered traffic sensor

Posted by on 21 Apr 2021 under Uncategorized

Written by: Ajay Kaushik

Cheaper cell modems, sim cards and data plans have ushered in a new era of connectivity in the traffic industry. Connectivity is now unlocking the potential of traditional and new-generation devices. Devices such as pedestrian cross overs, loop counters, school zone flashers, beacons and radar speed signs are beginning to add and enable connectivity to bring new value to road users and traffic departments.

In this blog we are going to focus on the value created by connecting radar speed signs to the cloud. Now, Radarsigns are not only effective in increasing road users’ awareness about their speeding thereby reducing overall speed on roads, but also collect valuable vehicle volume and speed data. They are often placed on roads where speeding complaints are made by local residents and businesses.


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Traffic Data Sensors, As-A-Service – A disruptive new approach

Posted by on 24 Mar 2021 under Uncategorized

Written by: Michael McGuire

 

Traffic Data Collection has become a prominent growth market over the last few years.  With the move to non-intrusive sensors and an increased appetite for big data analysis we’ve seen a number of innovations and new products emerge in this market.  Often one of the challenges with adoption of these systems is the price tag and complexity involved.  As one would expect, companies have recognized this and begun designing solutions to solve this problem.

One of the most innovative solutions we’ve seen comes from a Canadian company – Liveable Cities -which is a new division of LED Roadway Lighting.  Their new line of streetlight mounted sensors offers a very disruptive and compelling business model.  Liveable Cities offers a turnkey data collection solution that combines sensors with onboard LTE-M communications and robust cloud software that takes 5 minutes to install and starts working immediately.  Powering the sensors is easy as they plug into a NEMA socket on top of any streetlight and, better yet, they are sold using an As-A-Service model.  This means no capital costs, and no complicated fee structure.  Just one very low monthly fee for a sensor that can live on top of your streetlight forever.


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Traffic Signal Management:  A stagnant and dated industry, ripe for innovation 

Posted by on 17 Feb 2021 under Uncategorized

 Written by: Michael McGuire 

After 9 years in the traffic industry one trend has always stood out starkly to me is:  Innovation moves at an absolute snail’s pace here.  As a technology nerd this has always been an incredible frustration to me and I’m certainly trying my best to change things.  I focus on technology because that’s my specialty, but it goes well beyond that.  Even basic processes and practices seem to lag the private sector by nearly 20 years and it’s really bizarre to me.  However, I do see things changing, and it seems to be driven by automated vehicles and the efficiency potential of a “smart” city.   

 

In the last few years, we’ve seen major investment and interest in our industry from some of the largest corporations in the world.  Whether it be technology firms, telecoms, or automakers, influential companies are taking a sudden interest in traffic and transportation.  They must see the potential return on investment and they seem to be vying to get their piece of the smart city pie before the market is saturated.  As intersections and road infrastructure bisect every inch of a city, it is a logical target for them to focus their investment and technology 

 

In Toronto we got an early taste of this when Google tried to invest billions of dollars into developing a smart city pilot area near the downtown core.  While privacy and other concerns derailed the project it certainly put a spotlight on the industry, and the massive growth potential it holds.   

 
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Radars: a Cost Effective, Reliable Source for Traffic Data Collection

Posted by on 20 Jan 2021 under Uncategorized

Written by: Sheri Rowell

Introduction

Traffic data collection is an integral tool used by cities and towns to help make decisions related to public roadways, and it’s nothing new.  Data collection has been used on roadway systems since as early as the 1930’s and it’s continued to evolve with technology. Back in the 30’s the collection method was typically manual counts; however, in the 1940’s there was a transition into mechanical measurement which changed the approach to data integrity. Computerized pneumatic traffic counters revolutionized traffic data collection in the 1970’s. Now, forty years later, radars, video processing, and artificial intelligence are again revolutionizing traffic data collection, increasing reliability and cost-effectiveness.  Yet, we still find many traffic departments using costly, unreliable older generation technologies such as manual data collection, pneumatic tubes etc.

The purpose of this blog is to give a simplified understanding of the different types of traffic data, traffic data collection devices, and explain how radars are currently the most cost-effective solutions for accurate, reliable traffic data collection and analysis.  We will also review how different radars can be used as permanent and temporary traffic data collection devices on highways and other roads.

 
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Autonomous Intelligent Warning Systems: Go Beyond Signs

Posted by on 16 Dec 2020 under Uncategorized

Written by: Michel Mondor

 

Vision Zero has become a rallying call in the traffic industry which has been embraced by municipalities across Canada.  We see large budgets and efforts being poured into improving safety which is very encouraging.  The challenge we often hear related to vision zero is that specific technology solutions to improve safety are not very prominent or available in the industry and that only a few options exist.  Radar feedback signs are one of the key technologies adopted; these systems have been proven to slow cars down by making drivers aware when they are driving at speeds above the posted limits.  The City of Toronto has installed hundreds of these signs as their primary traffic calming solution in order to battle vision zero over the past years.  They’ve now also introduced Automated Speed Enforcement systems, but those are still very new.   
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