Keep moving on

With just weeks to go until the FIFA World Cup the City of Cape Town knew it had to act quickly to implement a traffic management system capable of handling the massive increase in road users. Anna Mitchell explores the resulting control room installation.

When the City of Cape Town embarked on a project to complete its Traffic Management Centre (TMC) it was with some urgency due to the rapidly approaching Football World Cup. With the Centre constructed and handed over for occupation the authorities still had to implement a Freeway Management System (FMS), to which a control room and videowall was essential.

Initially a large format video front projection system was requested but as the procurement process began it soon became apparent that this solution was not satisfactory. It was Bona Electronics Solutions, a company within the Basix Group, that shied away from projection, instead suggesting TFT-LCD-based display modules.

The company successfully won the contract and argued that lighting conditions and operating costs should rule out projection. Instead it implemented 48 Eyevis display modules. Each module was 46” with a 16:9 aspect ratio and native WXGA resolution (1366x768 pixels) with a narrow bezel that meant the gap between the displays measured 7.3mm.

Eyecon software and two hardware components, a Netpix graphic controller and an ECS operating controller, handle management of the various inputs. Any PC connected directly to the Netpix, including the FMS CCTV solution, can be displayed on the videowall. Additional inputs can come from any PC on the City of Cape Town’s network that is loaded with remote view software.

Rick de Araujo, sales manager at Bona Electronics Solutions, sold the project to the City of Cape Town and South African road agency, Sanral. He explains that one of the main sources for display are the Pelco cameras, also supplied and installed by Bona, located along the N1 and N2 freeways.
“The purpose of the system is to facilitate the free-flow of traffic,” he begins. “Operators sit at workstations in front of the wall and they asses when there’s a backup of traffic and then display messages to redirect it.”

Bona drafted in the services of surveillance equipment supplier Sentronics for the Pelco IP CCTV solution. Shawn Michaels, national sales manager, explains: “The Endura System is complemented by a control room that is operated around the clock with Pelco workstations and keyboards as well as a videowall receiving information from the system allowing security professionals to act immediately if a situation presents itself.

“The installation of the Sarix HD cameras resulted in higher-quality video and improved colour reproduction making identification of vehicles, scenes and objects of interest very easy which was always a challenge in the past with conventional analogue systems.”

For all operators to be able to see the video wall comfortably the screens had to be elevated with a custom-built frame. A local engineering firm was drafted in to supply the stand constructed from steel tubing with a perforated steel modesty panel in front.

“These kind of installations often require us to provide custom built furniture. Building requirements dictate very specific solutions and, in this case, we had it designed to match the existing furniture of the operations room,” added de Araujo.

Severe traffic congestion is experienced on South African Urban Freeways, which has a negative effect on productivity, the running costs of vehicles and the environment. But the new traffic management system has improved safety on the roads and successfully reduced congestion, which was also key to the smooth running of the World Cup football matches held in Cape Town.

Eyevis TFT-LCD display modules, Eyecon software, Netpix graphic controller, ECS controller
Pelco IP CCTV cameras, workstations
Custom built steel elevation frame

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