Cradlepoint and San Antonio Join Forces to Improve City’s Traffic Management Systems
By Joyce Deuley
San Antonio is home to roughly 1.8 million people within the city and the surrounding region, and has a serious problem with traffic congestion throughout. Traffic congestion is just one of the issues expected to increase as the San Antonio metro area continues to grow about 2.2% each year (since 2011). As of March, the city was ranked with the 6th fastest growth rate compared to similar sized metros—bringing the region’s total population to 2, 384, 075 at end of 2015 (SA Express News).
As a life-long resident, I can’t tell you how pleased I am about San Antonio’s latest endeavor to combat these issues in another project with Cradlepoint, a cloud-based solutions provider, for an improved traffic management system. San Antonio’s reputation as one of the Nation’s fastest growing cities and Tech hubs continues to ramp up, so finding ways to improve our road systems will only become more important going forward.
Cradlepoint’s role in this project is to enable long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity across San Antonio roadways in order for the city to collect and access traffic data in real-time. LTE is a 4G wireless broadband network standard developed by telecommunications industry trade group, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for high-speed wireless communication. By deploying LTE connectivity across our major roadways, the city will be able to pinpoint traffic hotspots and re-route drivers as delays occur.
Because San Antonio is a major metropolitan area that covers a large swath of South Central Texas, this was a huge undertaking. In the IoT Evolution article (above), Marc Jacobson, manager for the Traffic Management Center for the City of San Antonio, shed some light on the matter:
“As the commutes for our motorists began to slow, we knew we had to implement a new solution that would address our network communication issues. However, this could be a huge, intimidating undertaking for staff of just 16 individuals. Cradlepoint took the uncertainty out of the equation,” said Marc Jacobson, manager, Traffic Management Center, City of San Antonio…Cradlepoint has changed our mindset to the point that we are beginning to come up with new ways to utilize cloud-managed LTE to make our jobs easier, and to make the ride better for everyday commuters.”
As a well-weathered solutions provider, Cradlepoint has helped numerous cities bring their smart city projects to life, and has some unique perspectives on how to address the specific challenges large cities have when deploying these solutions. For instance, Cradlepoint CMO, Ian Pennel, touched on this when he said, “As cities grow, their infrastructure will need to adapt to the growing needs of the general public. Cradlepoint is dedicated to providing solutions that integrate the best of cloud, SDN, and 4G LTE to not only address the network issues of today, but also to easily scale networks to efficiently meet future demands.”
Ultimately, what that means for San Antonio, Pennel shared, is that the ” Traffic Management Center can initiate Smart City initiatives, begin to ease traffic congestion, and create a better commuting environment for residents, tourists, and future San Antonians.”
This project is just another example of how San Antonio is beginning to adopt a more intelligent, “smart city” mentality on resolving community issues and improving its quality of life for residents. In September, for instance, San Antonio announced in the San Antonio Business Journal, that it plans on investing roughly $8 million dollars in smart cities projects (pending City Council approval), including solar benches, improved city services via mobile applications, public information computer kiosks, improved Wi-Fi connectivity in parks, and had applied for a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to roll out a real-time traffic data pattern tool. Not to mention in August of last year, Via announced a digital signage project with Verizon and Cradlepoint meant to enable San Antonio commuters with improved connectivity services (VIA & James Brehm & Associates).
While the definitions for what truly defines a “smart city” remain general, and dependent upon the organization/entity that is involved, the overarching goal is to improve services, access to resources and education in order to create a better quality of life for residents. It is exciting to see San Antonio putting those initiatives into place, only further solidifying that this city is a great place to not just live, but to thrive.
One of the main focuses of the Smart Texas Alliance over the next year is to bring more of these projects to light, and create a platform for San Antonio and the surrounding area—as well as other cities in Texas—to not only learn more, but become more involved with Internet of Things (IoT) going forward. Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming IoT events and education opportunities in 2017.
Any questions or ideas on how you can get more involved in future events or projects, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.