Campbell Scientific's Journey to Municipal Transportation Solutions

by Alison Burton | Updated: 02/21/2019 | Comments: 0

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Municipalities are in need of transportation solutions to improve road safety and keep communities connected through the continuous movement of goods. Campbell Scientific recognizes this need for municipal transportation solutions, where roadside real estate is limited and microclimates are prevalent. Here's what we're doing about it. 

How It Started

Campbell Scientific’s foray into the transportation industry started with a specialization in road weather information systems (RWIS). Originally, these systems came in a "one-size-fits-all" design - they were invasive, required roadway construction to install sensors, and they took up a large chunk of roadside real estate to allow for the installation of a tower. Traditionally, they also only produced raw data to be interpreted by experts to help determine road maintenance activities. 

Traditional Road Weather Information System Installation

Due to the size, cost and installation requirements, traditional RWIS has largely been limited to provincial and federal government use along highway roads. This remains a very valuable application as highways keep our communities connected, but what about municipalities?

With the increase in awareness regarding the role road weather plays in maintaining quality streets - both in terms of safety and in terms of efficient use of resources from an environmental perspective, there has been more demand to create a road weather solution for urban areas. 

This development is what inspired Campbell Scientific to begin investigating other RWIS options to offer more flexibility in installation requirements, data interpretation, power supply and the amount of sensors used.

In city cores, where vehicle traffic is more dense and tall buildings trap more heat creating microclimates, a higher density of RWIS may be necessary to produce valuable data.

With high density, less parameters may need to be measured by each station. It may also be more useful for municipal, provincial and federal governments to receive actionable data that has already been passed through forecasting algorithms to help in preventative road maintenance. 

Where We Are Today

  • To help cut down on the space and the need to temporarily close down a road, Campbell Scientific began to include non-invasive monitoring equipment in our RWIS offerings. This eliminates the need for roadway construction, which is helpful in dense urban environments where stopping traffic flow can be a concern.
  • AC and solar power were made available to most stations, allowing flexibility in installation locations. 
  • The ability to mount sensors onto existing infrastructure such as signage or light posts also aids in installation flexibility as the footprint for this type of installation has a much smaller visual impact than a full RWIS tower. This allows for the collection of road weather data in dense city cores with minimal visual impact for citizens. 
  • To expand overall RWIS functionality, Campbell Scientific introduced the CCFC - a rugged outdoor filed camera. This adds an up-to-the-minute look at how roads are reacting to current weather conditions and can give a visual representation of the effects on traffic. 

Three levels of RWIS were defined to help all levels of government determine which RWIS solution would best fit their needs:

RWIS Solutions

Still, Campbell Scientific wanted to take things a step further.

That's where integration with intelligent transportation systems (ITS) came in. Campbell Scientific began to test various ITS additions to further advance transportation offerings.

  • Most notably, the addition of digital signage came into play. This includes everything from dynamic/variable messaging signs, to warning beacons and traffic classifiers. This is a game changer for warning traffic of current conditions such as ice, wind, or an adjusted speed limit to accommodate for conditions.  
    Dynamic Message Sign Variable Message Sign Beacon Warning
  • Seasonal Load Adjustment (SLA) was also added to Campbell Scientific's offerings. Utilizing a new or existing frost probe network, road maintenance authorities can accurately measure temperature and moisture levels under the road to determine when SLA needs to occur, allowing for optimal travel time for industry traffic.  
  • Forecasting services were also added under the Campbell Scientific Data Services umbrella. With sophisticated algorithms and accurate road weather data in place, road maintenance authorities are able to receive actionable data to determine the most timely and efficient maintenance activities.   

Now, Campbell Scientific is proud to offer a full suite of transportation solutions that can accommodate any municipal, provincial or federal government in keeping their communities connected. 

Transportation Solutions

Where We’re Headed

With upgraded Transportation offerings, Campbell Scientific still saw room for improvement in the overall offerings to municipalities. That's when the decision was made to join the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Innovation Network

Dynamic Message Sign Variable Message Sign Beacon Warning

FCM acts as the national voice for Canada's local government agencies and works on behalf of over 2000 municipalities. By joining the Innovation Network, Campbell Scientific hopes to develop a greater connection with local municipal leaders and grow a deeper understanding of what they require in terms of overall Municipal Solutions to keep local communities safe and connected. 

Investigating the transportation, integrated mobility, precipitation monitoring and air quality monitoring needs of local municipalities is the next step in Campbell Scientific catering more to municipal needs.

View our current Municipal Solutions offerings: 

Municipal Solutions

If you're looking for an environmental monitoring solution for your municipality, we'd love to connect! Leave a message below or contact us at (780) 454-2505.

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