Durham Region – Traffic Management Centre

Applied Electronics Expands Video Wall at Regional Municipality
of Durham’s Traffic Management Centre, Implementing
Breakthrough Content Mobility Solution for Greater Control

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Applied Electronics installed the first version of the Regional Municipality of Durham’s video wall in 2005. The original project included a 2 high x 4 wide array of 70 diagonal display enclosures. The display wall was expanded to a 2 high x 6 wide array of display enclosures to better suit growth in the Region.

As a means to mitigate operational costs and to move to a more efficient
solution, Applied Electronics was contracted again to conduct a technology refresh in 2008, which included a retrofit of newer LED-based display technology into the existing display structure. Additionally, audio and visual systems were integrated into a Boardroom and the adjacent War Room, which are intensively manned during emergency events such as major snowstorms, big athletic events, and other unusual situations.

The display wall was further expanded in 2014 to support additional camera feeds. This expansion included LCD monitors and Christie Phoenix nodes, which support IP-based camera solutions and offers further expansion flexibility to support the Region’s traffic operation objectives. This project included visual enhancements to the War Room.

Applied Electronics proudly maintains a strong relationship, which stands
over a decade old, with the Regional Municipality of Durham and the Traffic Engineering and Operations Division of the Region’s Works Department. Applied ELectronics has supported and serviced this site, providing hardware and preventative maintenance.

An Eye on the Traffic
The Regional Municipality of Durham’s Traffic Engineering and Operations Division monitors and manages traffic flow, detects and clears incidents, and provides travelers with real-time road, traffic and transit information. Traffic control signals are essential for the safe and efficient movement of traffic. They are used to designate right-of-way of conflicting movements. The Works Department currently operates and maintains over 470 traffic control signals. In addition, approximately 25 signals are added to the system annually. The Works Department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure a safe and efficient road network.

In 2005, Applied Electronics designed and integrated a large-scale video wall into the new traffic management centre in Whitby, Ontario. The 2x5 array of 70” (diagonal) screens enabled the centre’s operators to monitor traffic, detect, respond and facilitate the clearance of incidents and improve traffic flow. The system enabled multiple applications to be viewed and manipulated in real time and allowed for multiple preset layouts to be viewed. The large screen size and high resolution allowed for fewer cubes to create the overall wall size and the long lamp life provided low maintenance and a cost-effective solution.

The new Traffic Operations Centre consolidated both Engineering and Operations in one facility and housed the Region’s computerized signal control system. The Centre operated over 500 traffic control signals and numerous traffic cameras, and with its state-of-the-art communications and traffic monitoring technologies, it also supported Durham’s Emergency Management Office (DEMO). In the event of an emergency, the facility housed all operating services such as dispatch, road maintenance and repair, transit operations, in addition to traffic management.

Upgradinge for Expandability
In 2008, Applied Electronics expanded the Traffic Management Centre’s
display wall to a total of ten 70” (diagonal) rear screen projection cubes that were illuminated by ten Christie Digital RPMX-D120U rear screen tiling projectors and a Christie FRC-5100 display wall controller. The seamless display wall was 46 ft. wide x 8 ft. high.

Modernizing Traffic Monitoring & Control
To support the Region’s traffic operation objectives, Applied Electronics expanded the display wall yet again, in 2014, to support their new IPbased camera solution and additional camera feeds. Additionally, the Traffic Engineering and Operations Division wanted a visual display solutions that offers flexibility for further future expansion.

This expansion included LCD monitors for peripheral viewing of camera footage and Christie Phoenix nodes, which enables seamless access and control of audiovisual data from virtually anywhere, through a single, robust system. Christie Phoenix’s comprehensive tools allows thousands of users to simultaneously view, listen to and interact with any source of information found in a control room environment, regardless of their location. Powered by web-based management software, the Christie Phoenix system allows users in a challenging environment, such as those in a Traffic Management Centre, to make faster, more accurate life-critical decisions with confidence.

Located on each end of the large video wall are two columns of six LED screens showing live camera feeds. Additional ceiling-mounted monitors along the perimeter of the control room show traffic conditions at other locations in the region.

The War Room was enhanced with a 2x3 array video wall composed of LED screens for monitoring and strategic planning during emergency situations.

Operation and the Central Traffic Control System
The Works Department is responsible for a safe and efficient road network and uses the central traffic control system to provide maximum efficiency of the signal network. The Traffic Engineering and Operations Division constantly monitors the central traffic control system promptly addresses such issues as a traffic signal in flash, a signal timing problem, or lost communication between a traffic signal and the traffic control centre. The Region of Durham Works Department is constantly creating, upgrading, and maintaining the applications that support the traffic control software.

A Centralized Traffic Control System allows multiple traffic control signals to communicate with a central computer so that incidents, such as changes in traffic patterns or signal failures, can be quickly identified and managed. It provides the Region of Durham the ability to co-ordinate the timing of traffic control signals, and to reflect known and unexpected
fluctuations in traffic flow. As traffic volumes increase, so does congestion and delays resulting in driver frustration and disobedience of traffic laws.

The goal of co-ordinating traffic control signals is to get the greatest number of vehicles through the signal network with the fewest stops and delays in a safe and comfortable manner.

Both economical and environmental benefits can be achieved with a well-managed traffic control system. They range from real savings in fuel consumption, travel time, reduction in airborne pollutants and improved traffic flow. Municipalities can delay the need for costly road projects by enabling more cars to travel on existing roads more efficiently with smoother, less interrupted traffic flow. Emergency services and signal maintenance operations can respond unimpeded to problems resulting in a safer environment for the travelling public.

The Centralized Traffic Control System communicates to each traffic control signal via dedicated telephone lines and Regional owned cable. Predetermined signal timing plans are stored in the central computer. Timing plan changes are sent to each traffic control signal on a time-of-day basis, or in response to unexpected fluctuations and changes to traffic flow. Traffic volumes, vehicle speeds and delay measurements are monitored automatically via permanent count stations to ensure the effectiveness of the system.

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