Install the system

Themes: Vehicle adaptation; Fixed infrastructure; Linkages and communications

Good practice for installation of ITS systems

Most ITS systems include devices which are installed in the vehicles, at roadside locations (e.g. in bus stops), or at public transport locations (e.g. at bus stations). This requires careful planning and advance preparation for works. The most important aspects are:

  • Nominate a project manager for all installations. Engage external experience if the skills are not available in-house – attempting to save on this cost is a false economy
  • Nominate a systems integrator if multiple devices/systems will be installed in the vehicles or at any other location. This ensures co-ordination and successful interface across (sub-)systems
  • Develop a comprehensive architecture, network and wiring plan for buses, bus stations, etc. Make it mandatory for all contractors to respect this plan and train their staff accordingly
  • Plan in sufficient time for all installation works, especially those in public areas where approvals or wayleaves will be required.
  • Avail of advance opportunities to install communications (e.g. fipe optic cables), wiring and power supplies – e.g. when ordering vehicles, when building pT stations

Moving from system procurement to installation requires both project and contract management. It is likely that any ITS system integrator will employ a range of specialist sub-contractors and their interface, both with existing equipment / infrastructure and with the ongoing transport operations, require careful management. Such issues should be covered in the supply contract, and appropriate redress mechanisms written into this in case of any problems arising.

Installation lessons from the Case Studies

Most ITS system implementations will involve some form of vehicle adaptation, even if this is only the secure location and power connection of the relevant equipment. Clearly this requires a degree of care if the vehicle’s systems, or its functionality, are not to be compromised.

However some ITS systems require a direct interface with the vehicle’s own technical systems, and its Controller Area Network bus (CAN-bus) in particular. The impact of this will need to be cleared with the vehicle supplier, and the relevant communications protocols be adopted.

The fixed infrastructure involved in some ITS systems, in particular in-road or roadside detectors, may well involve road works for which prior authorisation will be required and temporary traffic disruption accepted. The relevant costs should be included in any project evaluation.

Linkages and communications between ITS (sub-)systems may take advantage of generic systems (such as GSM / GPRS), but high levels of data transfer will often require a dedicated communications infrastructure. Creating cable linkages between stations / terminals and control centres may involve extensive disruption of the general highway, and hence it is normal for dedicated transport infrastructure investments (such as BRT or LRT) to include ducting for such cabling in their construction. Where such prior provision has not been made, then again the relevant costs of external disruption should be included in any project evaluation.