Remote traffic monitoring at the edge of the world
Before the earth was round, Dungeness on the south Kent coast of the UK would have been close enough to the point where you walked off the edge of the world. Today it is protected as a heritage site. A rustic collection of derelict wooden fishing boats, a couple of nuclear power stations and scattered relics of past industry scattered along the shoreline. A myriad of plants and wildlife make the area a popular destination with photographers, birders and sight seers.
Monitoring traffic at remote locations can be a headache, with regular visits required to check the tubes/batteries and download data. Clive Wilderspin – survey manager contracting to Traffic Watch, contacted us recently to explore solutions for a client in Dungeness. With a number of RoadPod® VT 5900 series counters, Clive was keen to see how they worked with remote access. The goal, to eliminate regular trips to the site through remote checkups.
We tagged along with Clive and Vickie at the installation to document the process.
With the seasonal fluctuation in visitation to Dungeoness, the end client required a year of traffic data on vehicle speed, volume and classification. Due to strict regulations, any traffic monitoring equipment had to be easily removable with zero impact on the landscape. This removed any option of a permanent system which would require a cabinet to be dug into the side of the road.
Housing the RoadPod VT 5900 in a cabinet, clamped to a power pole, provided a semi-permanent solution. This not only complies with strict local regulations, but the cabinet features a solar panel, additional battery, modem and 3G antenna, enabling continuous power and remote connectivity.
Coupled with the extended memory of the 5900 series, this solution could monitor traffic at a low volume site ad infinitum.
The FieldPod® remote access system provides Traffic Watch with a live connection to the site. In the past, managing this site would have been a time-consuming task, requiring weekly 4 hour round trips to inspect for issues. With remote access via the mobile network, site visits are only necessary if issues arise.
To preserve battery during times when access is not required, the counter is remotely accessible according to a pre-established schedule. In this instance, to allow regular monitoring, the site can be accessed between 8AM and 4PM, Monday to Friday.
Due to the nature of this survey, Traffic Watch wanted to ensure maximum reliability of all peripherals. This was a good opportunity to test D-tube. As the name implies, D-tubes have a flat base in order to prevent tube rolling on the road intended to increase lifespan. The downside is a higher cost, a more difficult installation, and potential issues if a tube manages to twist. As this site has a low volume of traffic, with minimal heavy vehicles, it presented a good test case.
Counter: RoadPod VT 5900
Fixings: Nylon clamps secured with hammer fixings (pilot holes drilled)
Enclosure: MetroCount standard cabinet with remote access module, additional battery, solar panel and 3G modem
This system is ideal for monitoring isolated locations. In most cases, the cabinet is buried in the ground and concreted for permanent applications. MetroCount provides alternative housing options for short-term tube studies that require remote access (without a large battery and solar power).
For a customised solution, get in touch with us.