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Traffic Engineering and Operations Office

TEO / Divisions / TSMO / TPM / Wide Area Network

Wide Area Network

Picture of a Florida Roadway
FDOT's Telecommunications Program Management is coordinating the deployment of an ITS wide area network (WAN), interconnecting the regional transportation management centers (RTMCs) across the state. RTMCs in Districts 2 and 5 are already interconnected, while RTMCs in Districts 4 and 6, and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise will be interconnected later this year. This ITS WAN provides an operational network allowing Florida's RTMCs to share traffic information, ITS roadside device control, and video images.

The ITS WAN will increase the operational effectiveness and efficiency of both the interconnected RTMCs and their operators, to maximize the potential benefits of ITS in Florida on a statewide basis. These benefits include enhancing mobility and safety, providing coordinated transportation services within and between FDOT Districts (including Florida's Turnpike Enterprise), and improving incident management. Other uses envisioned for the network include remote command and control of ITS devices, dissemination of traveler information, monitoring of security applications and emergency services, including hurricane evacuation, and facilitating access of archived data services.

A significant amount of planning occurred to bring this network to fruition. A concept of operations for center-to-center (C2C) communications was formulated based on stakeholder workshops held in each FDOT District and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. A literature search was conducted to review current research, national ITS standards efforts, and current best practices for similar C2C deployments in other states. The literature search, along with a review of the National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol/Traffic Management Data Dictionary documents, helped streamline the C2C requirements suitable for Florida. These C2C requirements also fulfilled one of the systems engineering steps and led to the development of functional communications requirements for the ITS WAN. The stakeholder workshops defined the need for information (data), video, and command/control sharing among the RTMCs.

The ITS WAN operations will be headquartered and managed from the Traffic Engineering Research Lab (TERL) in Tallahassee. A network manager will be stationed at the TERL to provide oversight and provisioning of the ITS WAN.

The TERL is also home to the SunGuide® software testing operations. An ITS lab, a small replication of an RTMC, has been built within a section of the TERL. This lab is used for ITS testing and research, and provides FDOT with the ability to thoroughly research and evaluate ITS devices and techniques prior to implementation. This arrangement also allows the ITS WAN to utilize the SunGuide® software's C2C communications capabilities and various communications technologies. These are fundamental components that provide data sharing between the RTMCs and are essential for testing the transfer of control from one RTMC to another in the event of an emergency.

The ITS WAN will provide connectivity throughout the state by utilizing the statewide microwave system (SMS). The SMS was recently upgraded to support video and data sharing between operational RTMCs. The SMS was upgraded from an analog, nonintegrated system to a digital DS-3 backbone to create a seamless and blended statewide network. The SMS upgrade was performed in three phases. The first phase involved construction of towers and shelters at various locations. The second phase involved changes to the microwave radios, rechannelization of the system, reconfiguration of the motorist aid call box system, and installation of a statewide network management system. The third, and final phase, involved a data network overlay to facilitate data and video transport across the state. This high-speed data network is capable of transmitting up to 33 Mbps between hub sites and up to 3 Mbps from remote sites to hub sites. The SMS can also support the transmission of multiple streams of Internet Protocol-based traffic information from remote field devices to RTMCs which are connected to the microwave system data network.

As FDOT moves forward with developing and constructing RTMCs, the ITS Program will continue to provide assistance with planning the interconnection of these RTMCs within the ITS WAN. The ITS WAN will take advantage of FDOT Districts' installed fiber optic facilities, where available, along with the SMS in other areas, to effectively complete interconnections. The ITS WAN will advance ITS in Florida by providing statewide interconnectivity for the RTMCs.

For additional information, please contact Randy Pierce at Randy.Pierce@dot.state.fl.us.