AMG Systems has been commissioned to help digitise the traffic monitoring system for newly-extended hard shoulder bus lanes on Belfast’s main motorways, to make it more efficient, secure and reliable. The upgrade hopes to enhance passenger journeys by improving the quality of real-time information sent to traffic management teams.
A new IP-based CCTV system was being installed as part of the extension project, so the underlying fibre network needed to be upgraded in order to handle the high-grade images being transmitted back to the city’s Traffic Information and Control Centre (TICC).
AMG, working with Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, brought the IP-driven CCTV project together across numerous government agencies and private construction contractors to create a cost-efficient, robust solution for Belfast’s M1 and M2 motorways.
The Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) awarded a tender to Graham Construction to work on the extension of hard shoulder bus lanes along the M1 and M2 motorways, intended to improve journey times and service reliability for bus passengers without affecting general traffic flows.
The scheme was designed by DfI consultants Aecom, who also carried out site supervision and project manager roles during construction. The work included the provision of new and upgraded Pan Tilt Zoom IP-based CCTV cameras for traffic monitoring purposes by the Traffic Information and Control Centre (TICC) in Belfast.
Graham used Hikvision PTZ IP video cameras, installed by Chubb, for traffic monitoring. But connecting them to the Pelco system in use at TICC was not as straightforward as it at first seemed, which is where AMG Systems and Juniper Networks came in.
Jo Hopkins of Highways Consulting, said: “On each of the two motorways, the existing fibre network had only two spare fibres, so all the images had to be combined onto the two, allowing for a resilient ring.
“Meaning that if one fibre broke, the other would be able to transmit all the images. The existing cameras on the network were analogue, but we took the opportunity to install digital cameras. This reduces the number of times the images are sampled and converted from analogue to digital and back again, which improves the quality of the image.”
Hopkins worked with Graham on the project, and said AMG was asked to provide a reliable, cost-effective means of connecting new cameras onto the existing fibre network, bringing the images back to the Traffic Control Centre in Belfast.
Hopkins added: “The task itself was straightforward, but the integration into an existing live system made the project more complex.”
Hopkins and AMG Systems Business Development Director Sara Fisher worked to address the network challenge, which included upgrading from analogue to IP cameras for the first time on the Belfast motorways.
The network design utilises nine AMG switches on the M1 fibres and 15 switches for the M2. At the TICC control room, there are a further four AMG switches which allow the IP cameras to connect to the existing Pelco monitoring equipment.
Fisher explains that the control room network connection was further complicated as the TICC’s existing system called for the use of multi-casting and VLANs, and an existing firewall also had to be factored in.
Hopkins said: “The most appropriate interface in this case was Layer 3 POE switches from our partner Juniper Networks.”
A DfI TICC representative added: “The joint network design by AMG and Juniper Networks has met the challenge presented to them in upgrading our hard shoulder bus lane cameras from purely analogue to IP and has provided a resilient network, intended specifically for the task. AMG’s post-sales service and advice has also proved extremely helpful.