Network consortium in Silicon Valley shares one transportation goal: 'No more tangles!'

Network consortium in Silicon Valley shares one transportation goal: 'No more tangles!'

By Claire E. House

GCN Staff

A new network will let a 10-government California consortium go with the flow.

Through the Silicon Valley Intelligent Transportation Systems (SVITS) project, the group is building a fiber WAN that will help it manage traffic along a 15-mile State Route 17 and Interstate 880 freeway corridor. The peer-to-peer network will let the project partners exchange crucial traffic data without altering any of their existing traffic management systems.

The project is one of seven state and local ITS projects that the U.S. Transportation Department is evaluating over the next two years to study the benefits of ITS. A major SVITS goal is to maximize traffic flow through local arteries in the event of a traffic problem on the freeway.

'The federal government found our project to be unique because they hadn't found many examples of arterial-freeway integration,' said SVITS program manager Yves Zsutty, an associate engineer for San Jose Streets and Traffic.

When freeway overflow traffic spills onto the arteries, the local agencies will be able to use a variety of technologies to get drivers back on the freeway as soon as possible. For example, they'll be able to monitor traffic flow with cameras, and request signal timing changes of other agencies' systems. The partners are comfortable with the operation because they all set up the approval process, Zsutty said.

'I can't just go in and do it. I can send a request and get a response saying 'Yes, you can do that,' ' he said.

Partners will be able to inform drivers where the freeway clears with text message signs.

Contractor DKS Associates of Oakland, Calif., is building the network; the hardware is all in place'more than 35 miles of fiber support data and color video transmission. Agreements specify each agency's maintenance responsibility as fiber crosses jurisdictional boundaries.

All for one

The main interface, called the Corridorwide Display, is from IBI Group Software of Toronto. It runs on the client-server data exchange network under Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The vendors of each partner's traffic management system are tying the systems into the data exchange network via an IBI-developed protocol.

Four partners'the cities of Campbell, Milpitas and San Jose, and Santa Clara County'will link via fiber lines through NX3100FO-S2 100-Mbps Fast Ethernet converters from Nbase-Xyplex of Chatsworth, Calif.

San Jose will connect to the city of Santa Clara and the California Transportation Department (CalTrans) over 56-Kbps frame relay lines through the 9101 frame relay device from Verilink Corp. of Madison, Ala. The California Highway Patrol will connect through the CalTrans network, and the city of Los Gatos and the Valley Transportation Authority plan to connect in the future.

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