Barge Selected to Implement Fort Bend County’s Wireless Traffic Signal Communication System

26 / April / 2021

Barge was recently selected by Fort Bend County, TX to design and implement a traffic signal system wireless communication infrastructure. Our Transportation and Facilities Business Units and our Information Management practice area will be involved.

The project scope includes the completion of a preliminary engineering report. This report will evaluate the County’s current traffic signal system as well as assess the implications of incorporating a wireless communications infrastructure into this existing system. This data will verify the best way to move forward with expansion and will determine any equipment required to do so. Up to 20 high site locations for towers, which will transmit information to the County’s Traffic Management Center (TMC), will also be evaluated and determined.

While these systems are often implemented using fiber optic cable, Fort Bend County has selected a comprehensive wireless application. When completed, the communication system will lead to more efficient management of traffic flow, greater safety for pedestrians and drivers, and a more effective use of resources in terms of monitoring and maintenance, thus reducing costs for the County. Additionally, information transmitted through this system will be collected in a database, which will provide data for future city-wide planning efforts.

In addition to designing the new wireless infrastructures, new traffic surveillance cameras (CCTV) will be installed throughout the county. Furthermore, over 80 traffic signals will be upgraded with new Econolite Cobalt ATC traffic signal controllers. These will be integrated with the County’s current traffic signal software, Centracs, through the wireless system. The system will be able to transmit the video from the new CCTVs as well as the current video data from the video detection cameras located at the intersections. Housing all this data in one location will help the County manage emergent situations, routine maintenance tasks, and special traffic rerouting needs in an efficient, timely manner.

This is a locally let project using the Local Government Project Procedures (LGPP) and is funded through H-GAC Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). Given this type funding, additional tasks will be required such as a Categorical Exclusion (CE) environmental document and a system engineering analysis report (SEAR).