National Roads Authority
As the largest metropolitan areas in Ireland, Dublin City suffers from major traffic congestion. In an effort to alleviate the problem, construction of M50 began in 2006 a 50 km road that arcs around the suburbs of the capital city. The road skirts around the west of the metropolis through four Councils, and allow pass-through travellers to bypass the city itself, saving hours in travel time. M50 crosses several other high-traffic thoroughfares and includes 14 main intersections. Because the road is part of a tolling system, with one toll point at the moment, but with expansion to charging vehicles for the specific portion of road travelled, Communications and monitoring of the road is essential.
Though the Irish government owns its public roadways, including the M50, it often awards Concession Contracts to third parties for building, maintenance and running of its various roads. Egis was awarded the contract for M50 and, as soon as construction began, they started exploring their options. In order to ensure safety and smooth travels for their users, Egis knew they needed to have eyes on the road to monitor levels of traffic congestion and potential hazards or incidents. They also needed eyes on junctions to monitor safety. With an average of 18,500 vehicles travelling on M50 each day, this was no small feat. The road operators required an intelligent transport system (ITS) that would include a video surveillance system to monitor and manage the entirety of the 50 kilometres from their central control centre, built in the Dublin Docklands.
Since M50 was a new road, there was no ITS or security system in place, this allowed the opportunity to start from scratch and sketch an optimal solution from the ground up. NRA knew they needed a cutting-edge and technologically advanced solution. Bandwidth a Genetec Certified Integrator, and leader within the ITS and vehicle control systems industry, to take on this challenge.
“We wanted an IP video surveillance solution that could send video feed back to the control center. However, even more integral was finding a platform that would be extensible enough to allow video to integrate with the tolling and auditing systems to create a complete package,”
The team began its work by conducting a wide search for all potentially viable platforms from a large number of vendors. M50 needed a flexible video surveillance solution that was IP-based, and which would allow for gradual expansion of the system as needs and technology evolved. After casting the net wide and spending hours evaluating the advantages of a number of systems, NRA came to the conclusion that Genetec’s Omnicast would be the best fit for the M50 varied needs.
Once Omnicast was chosen, Bandwidth developed the structure of the system. Omnicast is the video surveillance system of the Security Center, Genetec’s unified security platform. The Security Center’s open architecture provides full flexibility for the end-user to configure and setup the system as per their needs.
The initial phase included designing and installing a fiber-optic network infrastructure along the length of the road, all tied back to the centrally located control centre. 70 Axis Q6044E and Bosch UPH Intelligent Day/Night pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras with 36x optical zoom were installed along the road to allow maximum video coverage and control with the fewest number of resources. The Day/Night cameras feature excellent sensitivity to provide high-resolution images during the day and in low light conditions. Built-in image stabilization improves video clarity when the cameras are installed on unstable mounts, such as polls that may shake or sway.
All video feeds were routed to the control centre for monitoring, managed by the Omnicast user and stored via NAS (network attached storage) equipment. This first phase helped to establish the robust network infrastructure and was useful for traffic monitoring and incident management, but was only a preliminary step.
After the initial network was in place, Bosch cameras were replaced gradually by the Axis PTZ camera.The project also incorporated Axis cameras at individual toll auditing booths in the toll intersections. The cameras use progressive scan technology to capture sharp images, even when there is a high level of motion. NRA for outdoor use, the Axis cameras are protected against water and dust to IP 66 standards.
The over 300% increase in video feeds made it more practical to add local NAS equipment and individual Omnicast systems at each toll plaza, with a networked connection to the control center. This allowed video feeds to be pulled to the central location piecemeal as needed.
The open architecture of the Security Centre and its Omnicast video surveillance system provided additional flexibility for M50 to select their preferred hardware or integrate third-party systems. The unified security platform is designed to gather, analyse and index data from systems such as video surveillance, access control, license plate recognition, intrusion detection, sophisticated maps and other systems for consolidated security management.
M 50 integrated Omnicast with the tolling system, creating a unified management and security platform never before seen on Dublin’s roads. Bandwidth used Genetec’s Professional Services Team to help develop a tailored plugin for Omnicast that would allow toll transactions to be associated with particular camera feeds and video clips. Toll transactions, including vehicle data, enter the system and are tagged to corresponding portions of video so that, should the need arise, administrators can later perform searches to pull up all required information at once.
Bandwidth also put Omnicast’s flexibility to work by integrating the traffic surveillance feeds with the M50traffic management platform. Operators can map cameras and pull up the video feeds from within their traffic management interface. This avoids the pesky and time-consuming need to switch between client interfaces. Operators are able to do their job more efficiently and are better prepared to handle road incidents or other time-sensitive situations. In the near future, plans to integrate Omnicast’s PTZ camera control into the traffic management platform to complete M50 solution.
“The implementation of the Genetec solution went quite smoothly. As a matter of fact, the flawless performance of the system is what has been taking us back to Genetec for other roads we are working on now. It’s a very mature platform,” said Mr. Gutiérrez.
Omnicast is a highly extensible platform, and allows NRA to plan for future expansion of their system. NRA is able to add additional cameras one-by-one to newly-discovered high-risk areas or blind spots on the M 50 . Remote access from NRA’s corporate offices, as well as for emergency response personnel is also provided. As M50evolves, NRA is also looking into utilizing Omnicast’s alarm management features in conjunction with video analytics to automate traffic incident alerts. Additionally, the use of the new Security Center Mobile application will allow M 50 to view video from their mobile devices, increasing response time no matter the location of the respondent.
M50has been in operation now for over a year. For a staff of road operators who had no prior experience with a system of this kind, they have found Omnicast’s interface to be exceedingly user-friendly and intuitive. Having the ability to store video and later quickly navigate the archives has allowed NRA to utilize the Omnicast system as a toll-operator quality control tool. It has also enabled NRA to analyze road incidents after-the-fact and pinpoint any potential improvements to their daily operations.
In a real-time capacity, Omnicast has also been vastly useful as a traffic management tool. Road operators are able to view the entire road at once, making incident diagnosis and response immediate. The system has also allowed for quick evaluation of the effects an incident might have on traffic conditions several kilometers back. Orchestration of emergency vehicle arrival, monitoring of response time and surveying to ensure all needs are addressed can all be accomplished from one single location in the control center.
Omnicast has also proven its worth by assisting toll operators to assess proper fee schedules for various vehicles. Because M50employs a closed tolling system, charging drivers for the specific portion of road travelled, there needs to be some way to keep track of a vehicle’s road entrance and exit. To accomplish this, M50uses RFID cards, which record each vehicle’s entrance, allowing a toll operator to swipe the card upon exit and determine the correct fee due. Unfortunately, there are occasional hiccups wherein the RFID cards do not read properly, or properly record an entrance. When this occurs, operators can easily pull up video feeds from the toll plaza a driver claims to have used for entrance and corroborate the story using a license plate number or other visual identification. This allows a foolproof way to assess the proper fee despite the card’s malfunction, and without requiring a lengthy fact-finding mission.
NRA has also employed Omnicast’s IP functionality to publish over 20 select camera feeds to Dublin City Council allow travellers the ability to monitor traffic conditions independently, before they leave home.
NRA has been so pleased with rollout of the Omnicast system that it’s already being implemented in other roads. In the future, they plan to combine all systems under one platform using Genetec’s FederationTM feature. This way, NRA will be able to monitor all cameras from all systems for all their various roads from their headquarters.
NRA is a benchmark among road operators; M50 is the first Intelligent Highway in all of Dublin. It has set a benchmark for other operators and authorities of the Irish Department of Transportation who have looked to M50 when setting road requirements, and as an example to which other operators may aspire.
“Using Omnicast for this install has helped confirm Bandwidth a knowledge leader for this type of system for transportation applications,” said Mr. O’Donnell Bandwidth MD. “I would definitely recommend this type of IP platform to other road operators, without question. The platform is extremely flexible, and we have been absolutely satisfied with the truly seamless installation of this technology.
National Roads Authority
|Dublin Port Tunnel Motorway Control Centre|
|Installation of CCTV cameras, Control centre, and interfaces to other organisations|
Description of Works carried out by your company
|Installation of CCTV cameras on various sites on M50 Motorway, 64 sites, Installation of control room Video interfaces and video wall.
Traffic management on Irelands busiest road.
Brief outline of Operation/Safety Interfaces present in project
|Working on Roads and pedestrian areas and provision of traffic and pedestrian management. Working at heights on a busy Motorway and provision of traffic management on the road|
|Client Contact & Position||Mr David Laoide Kemp||National Roads Authority|