UTA (Utah Transit Authority) – Energizes its Transportation Grid
Meeting Evolving Transportation System Needs
Established in 1970, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has become a multi-modal transportation leader that is 100-percent accessible with 69 light rail vehicles, 30 commuter rail cars and more than 600 buses. UTA’s TRAX light rail system is currently averaging more than 58,300 riders a day along its 15-mile Salt Lake-Sandy line and the 4-mile University Line.
Providing the transportation system that gets us to work, takes children to school and shuttles us to entertainment wherever we wish to go may seem trivial, but can be a complex business. In the state of Utah, temperatures drop well below freezing in mountain winters and get extremely hot in the desert summers. Magnetic sensors in the street and traffic monitoring cameras can be mounted hundreds of feet from the traffic control system and often have no existing power cabling except at the control system box.
Powering Remote Traffic Surveillance Cameras with Power Over Ethernet (PoE)
Providing power to devices (cameras, ticket machines and street sensors) can get expensive. Previously, every device would require its own electrical connection, power adapter and cable. When considering cable runs of over 2000 feet, this can get expensive as well. The solution is to provide electricity via Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology that allows both power and data to be transmitted over the same Category 5 (a.k.a. Cat 5) cable that is used for data. However, the PoE standard is often too short for most traffic-related requirements.
The Utah Transit Authority needed to run both PoE power and Ethernet data over long distances. They leveraged Enable-IT’s solid state Ethernet extender technology to achieve their goals. The UTA can now power older remote ticketing systems, modern PoE cameras and street sensors 24x7x365 on its light rail and bus transportation station congestion control networks up to 2500 feet away.
Operating in the Extreme Winter Cold and Summer Heat
Outdoor temperatures in Utah greatly fluctuate throughout the year. The cameras, magnetic sensors, control systems and wires heat and cool throughout the day. Such dynamic conditions require solid state electronic components. The UTA tested several components and selected the Enable-IT 860 and 865 Ethernet extenders, which can support temperature ranges as extreme as from -30°C (-22°F) to +75°C (167°F) over long distances.
Going the Distance – Over Existing Infrastructure
The story doesn’t end at the traffic stop. Traffic networks are a connection of traffic stops throughout the city, county and state. Some stops are significant distances from each other. To leverage the power of a traffic network, these stops must all be connected. Ethernet only runs 328 feet, so connecting stops that are a mile apart, can become a major issue. Also, traffic networks are traditionally tied together with regular phone wire, not Category 5 Ethernet cable. Replacing countless miles of cable gets extremely expensive.
Fortunately the UTA tested Enable-IT’s 860 long distance Ethernet extender, capable of powering Ethernet up to 6000 feet over existing telephone cable as well as Category 5 Ethernet cable. This proved to be the solution needed to help tie everything together on the UTA’s existing infrastructure.