ITS Georgia is a state chapter of ITS America, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Gwinnett County was recently awarded the ITS GA 2016 Innovation for Outside the Box Award for the implementation of the Glance School Zone Flashing Beacon System.
The Outside the Box Award is presented for distinctively creative and unique approach or solution to an ITS challenge. The Gwinnett County Public School system, the largest school system in Georgia, was an extensive project that included the installation of 270 new “smart” flashing beacons throughout the Glance School Zone. The Flashing Beacon System gave their agency a simple-to-use secure interface to remotely view and control the school beacons in their communities. It is an outstanding example of how ITS can substantially improve efficiency and increase safety.
The flashing beacons use a cloud and web-based software system that is accessible from a computer, tablet or smartphone. The system contains integrated battery backup for all field devices, which, in the event of a power failure, will initiate communication with the central system as well as generates alarms for maintenance technicians.
Over-the-air software update capability means software in the field can be updated remotely and can also be updated in the future to support connected vehicles and other future technologies. The beacon schedules can be easily adjusted for weather events, school closings, holidays, or even emergencies.
The power of progress
Tom Sever of the Gwinnett County DOT commented, “The beacons from the Temple/Applied Information team have modernized the county’s school zone flashing beacon system. The result has been a 90% reduction in the number of calls related to the operation of school zone beacons due to improved communication with each beacon.” This project has truly demonstrated the power of cellular connected field hardware and cloud software and how ITS can be an effective solution that benefits both the agency and the community.