Northamptonshire County Council
The Starting Point
For many years ATEC has been a trusted supplier to Northhamtonshire with responsibility for refreshing several dozen traffic monitoring cameras in Northampton and Kettering, and installing a monitoring wall in the urban traffic control (UTC) control room.
Main junctions and crucial roads were monitored at peak times (7 till 7) to avert bottlenecks and provide early information to the public and support services to maintain traffic flow. The service was delivered using BT broadband transmission.
Historically, the system came at both a CAPEX and OPEX cost, as each CCTV installation point cost in the region of £20,000 with an associated annual running cost of £1,500.
ATEC was commissioned to design a wireless network, the specification of which was subsequently put out to tender. ATEC won the bid for installation based on its detailed technical proposal and cost-effective project management schedule.
The new wireless WAN incorporates more than 70 traffic light junctions, which saves considerable annual costs and allows all of Northampton’s UTC devices to be controlled and monitored from the one location.
By having a wide area network (WAN), the system is more resilient, with higher levels of redundancy, and now provides greater management ease of use, information clarity and IL2 security assurance.
System operators also enjoy a significant increase in image quality as, over a private network, bandwidth is unconstrained and can be opened to its maximum. The monitoring solution is a highly available, scalable solution that provides operators with intuitive, at-a-glance, aggregated information. ATEC, or the system’s IT administrator, is informed immediately via email, text message or other means in the event of delays, malfunctions or failures.
The UTC system enjoys greater control than previously as the result of the introduction of monitoring software. The result of automation is that any faults can be fixed remotely before there is any adverse impact, which is especially useful when tight service level agreements (SLAs) are in place.
The move to a wireless IP cloud-based system gave the Northampton authorities a new flexibility. When the cost of the control room location came up for review and was deemed too expensive, it was a relatively simple matter, with a cloud-based system, to relocate the control room to an alternative location.
Return on Investment
In the busy and volatile world of highways, road layouts get changed, maintenance is scheduled and cameras are moved.
To plan and implement logistics and hardware changes in a fluid environment can be costly, time consuming and potentially disruptive. Typically, the addition of a new camera location cost £20,000 and took two months.
The implementation of a wireless MESH network has meant that Northamptonshire can introduce changes in half the time at half the cost, with minimised ongoing maintenance costs.
The authority can also install temporary works affordably.
However, the most tangible benefit of ATEC’s new IP network is the significant ROI that enables Northamptonshire to achieve more at less cost.
The payback to Northamptonshire compared with legacy systems is more than £100,000 in five years and nearly £500,000 over fifteen years.
These figures exclude the additional costs that would otherwise have been incurred to modify the system during maintenance, plus the system is future-proofed to scale cost-effectively.