December 22nd, 2011
SMART ROADSOptimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.
UDOT’s smart roads “see” traffic.
Fiber optic cable is made up of fine strands of glass bundled together and wrapped with a reflective jacket. Hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable, buried along freeways and major surface streets, sends information to a sophisticated computerized system at the speed of light. The system lets UDOT monitor and manage traffic flow and communicate in real time.
UDOT leaders have charged managers at the Traffic Operations Center with creating a world class Advanced Traffic Management System. Reaching that goal depends on expanding the fiber optic system.
Fiber Optic Network Manager Lynne Yocom is up to the task. She has successfully expanded UDOT’s fiber optic network during 2011 to include the following connections:
- Utah State University connection
- SR-30, I-15 to Logan
- I-15, Perry to Idaho border
- I-80, 5600 West to Wendover
- SR-36, Tooele to I-80
- SR-248, Park City to US-40
- Heber City interconnect
- Vernal City interconnect
- US-191, Moab to I-70
- I-70, Cove Fort to Richfield
- Cedar City interconnect
Yocom has partnered with local telecommunications companies to expand fiber optic connectivity through trading access to UDOT right of way for use of excess fiber optic cable capacity.
UDOT’s CommuterLink website is the public face of the system, and road users depend on the website to steer clear of traffic delay by getting up to the minute information about weather, road construction and crashes. And, smart phone users can have convenient access to the same information by using UDOT’s new smart phone app, UDOT Traffic.
New fiber optic connections are helping employees in Region Four use work time more efficiently. Region Four serves rural and urban roads in the southern one third of the state and covers more area and has more road miles than the other three regions combined. Building and maintaining those roads takes a lot of travel and time. Video conferencing equipment is helping staff make fewer trips and improve productivity.
“We are extremely progressive with what we are doing compared with other states,” says Yocom. She gives credit to UDOT’s Director John Njord and Deputy Director Carlos Braceras for being very forward thinking when it comes to using available technology. UDOT will continue to press forward to acquire new fiber optic connections to improve ATMS capabilities.