About Reading Borough Council
Reading has a vibrant economy with a forecast of sustained growth. The Borough Council has well-established partnerships with the city's business community and is constantly working to shape the future of the town and its infrastructure. A fully integrated transport network is considered essential, and the council is currently involved in an ongoing program for the development of Integrated Transport Systems (ITS) in the city.
About Alvarion partner, Metranet
Metranet is a wireless network operator specializing in the support of mission critical systems for local authorities. Such systems include wireless CCTV and UTMC (urban traffic management control). Metranet is looking to help local authorities not only reduce their communications spend but also increase their flexibility and capability in answering a wider range of communications issues.
In recent years, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have become increasingly important to local authorities and agencies such as the police and other blue-light services in order to optimize performance and enable flexible traffic management. Bandwidth-intensive digital CCTV systems play a central role, and wireless IP technologies, particularly WiMAX, offer the opportunity to significantly reduce costs. Reading Borough sought to introduce a WiMAX-based UTMC program as part of the ongoing development of ITS in the area, in order to demonstrate:
- A more reliable solution to the constant loss of connectivity with the incumbent's aging copper wire infrastructure
- A more cost-effective solution to the expensive upgrade to digital of the incumbent's analog infrastructure
- How the open system approach to UTMC can support and promote transportation policies and objectives
Wireless broadband using AlvarionWiMAX devices, using a spectrum due to be released by the Ministry of Defense during 2009, was selected to connect cameras, traffic light sites and traffic sensors (known as SCOOT - a traffic control system which intelligently, continuously and automatically coordinates the operation of traffic signals according to levels of congestion and traffic flows). Use of a licensed frequency was essential for a mission-critical application like CCTV, in order to eliminate the danger of interference that can occur in license-exempt spectrums, and this was the first time that a licensed spectrum for a wireless network was used to communicate with traffic control assets in the UK.
|Alvarion's WiMAX network is being used by Reading Borough Council for urban traffic management control|
WiMAX technology was selected because it is a fast and cost-effective solution to build a network, and relatively inexpensive to operate, since costs are in proportion to the size of the customer base and associated capacity needs. Metranet selected Alvarion's award-winning WiMAX platform, BreezeMAX®, because of its proven ability to provide data, VoIP and video services, thereby ensuring the potential for expansion of services in the future.
The UTMC project consolidates all traffic information captured by CCTV cameras, ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), Bus Lane Enforcement and the SCOOT traffic signals system the SCOOT system and traffic signals in a central control room, and enables the real-time sharing of this information on the web or to PDAs and give live travel information. Consequently, it allows travellers to make informed decisions on when, where and how to travel, and serves as an important aid to the council and other services in the management of traffic flow. The project demonstrates the use of WiMAX as a more reliable and cost-effective solution for:
- CCTV camera backhaul for traffic control - streaming of live video from main roads and junctions in the borough
- ANPR, Bus Lane Enforcement since it offers the throughput necessary for high resolution high FPS (frames per second) cameras
- Connectivity of traffic lights for traffic light management and for the SCOOT traffic control system on roads and even in car parks (using sensors in the road that count vehicles entering and exiting car parks)
The UTMC is now planning to extend the project using already-installed Alvarion Wi2 Wi-Fi devices to provide Wi-Fi for pedestrians and to/from buses (CCTV from buses for security, for payment transactions, and to provide live travel information on TV screens to passengers).