Lake County Passage Warns of Congestion

Illinois: Lake County deploying extensive fiber-linked intelligent transportation system
Congressman Mark Kirk spoke to a group of Chicago-area mayors about federal assistance for
a local intelligent transportation system (ITS):

"The main piece Kirk promoted during the meeting was a new $5.8 million high-tech system
being constructed this year will coordinate 145 major traffic signals and inform drivers of any
delays in Lake County, according to a county summary of the project. 'It will make our traffic
management more efficient -- good news for many of us who have been stuck at a traffic light
without a car in sight from any direction -- relief is coming,' Kirk said. The project is being
funded by $3 million already approved by Congress, Kirk said. The balance of $2.8 million is
being paid for by Lake County, said Martin G. Buehler, Lake County director of transportation.

The project will include $1.1 million for fiber optic and communication equipment that will
be controlled by a traffic management center in Libertyville, according to a county summary
of the project. Two operators will monitor traffic from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through
Friday with more intense monitoring during morning and evening rush hour periods, the
report said. It is set to go on line in June 2005.

A phase two project will expand the project to the entire county at a cost of $13.5 million and
would be funded partially by federal funding and partially by the sales tax, the report said."

As noted in an earlier post today, the fiber backbone for an ITS can also serve as the backbone
for a municipal wireless broadband system. To do this, however, the ITS designers need to
consider this in their design so that there's some extra fiber in the cables and so that the
necessary fiber access points are provided for.

I called the Lake County Department of Transportation and the fellow responsible is Tony
Cochlass?spelling  The web site is

The project is called Lake County Passage.
Tony is supposed to get back to me.

A new project called Lake County Passage is being funded by federal and county money.  It
will create a web site that shows where traffic congestion is located in the county.  A new
network of fiber optics is being installed.  Picture using cell phones or a small PDA with
internet capability to track traffic at   It is not working for
dynamic traffic yet, but the web site has been established and it now tells where construction
projects are located.

Eventually this system will transmit information to units in the car which advise the driver to
“turn here” to avoid traffic congestion.  Rather than building more roads, like 53, the approach
is to “go computer” and provide information instead.

It is set up so that AT&T or Comcast can rent space in the tubing for their own fiber optics.  
Also it could also be used to have a distributed WiMax installation.  There is fiber optic piping
on Gilmer Road and Route 60 as well.  This means fiber optics within a mere few feet of both of
my homes.  It is all good news.

Traffic Message Channel

The Traffic Message Channel (TMC) is a specific application of the FM Radio Data System (RDS)
used for broadcasting real-time traffic and weather information. Data messages are received
silently and decoded by a TMC-equipped car radio or navigation system, and delivered to the
driver in a variety of ways. The most common of these is a TMC-enabled navigation system that
can offer dynamic route guidance - alerting the driver of a problem on the planned route and
calculating an alternative route to avoid the incident.

New delivery channels are emerging that could carry TMC services, including digital radio
(DAB), mobile Internet, paging and GSM/GPRS mobile phone networks.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Vehicle Infrastructure Integration program faces its
final testing this year, involves installing a 5.9-GHz short-range wireless link in the car that
can talk with other cars, as well as with control units at intersections and along the side of the
road. Pool all the information being beamed from cars — speed, location, whether the wipers
are on — and you have a map of traffic and weather conditions so that drivers can be directed
away from trouble spots.

However, according to Popular Mechanics, the short-term impact is low:

This is only the latest — albeit the smartest — in a long history of federal initiatives to win the
war on traffic. Next year, lawmakers will decide whether to wire up hundreds of thousands of
intersections and roads, but getting automakers to install standardized transmitters might
prove even trickier.

VII is Vehicle Infrastructure Integration

21,000 of the 43,000 deaths annually on America's highways are caused by roadway
departure and intersection related incidents. Building on work previously done in the
Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration initiative will work toward
deployment of advanced vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-infrastructure communications that
could keep vehicles from leaving the road and enhance their safe movement through

IVI stands for Intelligent Vehicle Initiative.
AASHTO is the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.  Its web
site is at:

A VII consortium has been established to determine the feasibility of widespread deployment
and to establish an implementation strategy. The consortium consists of the vehicle
manufacturers already involved in the IVI, AASHTO, ten State Departments of Transportation,
and the US DOT.