Kapsch TrafficCom recently installed a roadside sensor systems that uses 5.9 GHz Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) throughout Manhattan and along the Long Island Expressway for traffic management and other public-safety applications, said Justin McNew, the company’s chief technology officer.

McNew said the company partnered with the ITS World Congress, New York State and New York City’s Department of Transportation to test the technology. The deployment includes the installation of several pieces of sensing hardware on the roadside, as well as in-vehicle sensing units. He said the system uses what the company calls multiband configurable networking unit roadside equipment and 5.9 GHz DSRC WAVE tolling point sensors.

More than 40 total units are installed on city streets and highways. Although the system currently is in a beta-test phase, McNew said the fully operational system offers applications such in-vehicle signing, tolling and congestion tracking, emergency responder signal pre-emption, navigation and commercial applications, including traveler information. It also can track vehicle speed and location, as well as weather conditions.

The wireless interface and software applications transmit data from roadside sensors to command and control, as well as to emergency and consumer vehicles that receive data. “We can use such gathered information for traffic management applications and send that data wirelessly so it can be tracked on the backend,” McNew said. “From the public-safety perspective, that information is critical.”

In addition, the system collects information about traffic patterns, traffic location, traffic-signal priority and emergency-vehicle warnings—vehicle-to-vehicle applications that allow emergency vehicles to get priority traffic signals over the general driving public. Such location data are sent to a centralized server based on traffic data. From a remote location or using vehicle-to-vehicle communications, a user can change a light from red to green for first-responder vehicles, McNew said. Vehicles also can transmit alarms to other vehicles.

“For example, an ambulance can send other vehicles a message that it is trying to pass in order to get to an incident in a timely manner, so other vehicles can get out of the way,” McNew said.

Budget numbers for the project were not available. However, McNew said the system’s deployment costs at one intersection are less than the cost incurred by a single car accident.

“From a business perspective, that’s how we think about it, as far as cost justification,” he said.