If you’ve ever traversed the Twin Cities, you know Interstate Highway 35, the notoriously congested thoroughfare you usually have to travel to get anywhere in or around Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition to the traffic, couple that with often blizzard-like conditions, tornadoes or other Midwest weather wraths and travel can be treacherous at best.
Offering a big assist, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) spearheaded a system-wide camera deployment that has morphed into one of the country’s leading intelligent roadway traffic management solutions. And it all started with a security surveillance implementation deployed by systems integrator Pro-Tec Design of Minneapolis, who has responded consistently to the state’s Request for Proposals and won those bids through being the lowest qualified bidder—with extremely competitive bid specifications.
Pro-Tec Design has been working alongside the Minnesota DOT for many years, deploying cameras and a backbone Milestone video management system to help the state agency bring everything together in one super-state-of-the-art Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) located in Roseville, Minn.
Tom Hagen is the president and chief executive officer of Pro-Tec Design, established in 1982. In 2010 Pro-Tec Design received special accolades from Milestone Systems as its third largest partner for “Most Explosive Growth.” Hagen consistently works in front of technology in an effort to offer the best solutions and services to his customers.
Relationship of designing the best solutions
Hagen and team have worked closely with Terry Haukom, who is the Traffic Management System Design & Integration Supervisor for the Minnesota DOT. Haukom is also an innovator, and has worked for Minnesota DOT for some 23 years—22 of which he spent designing, installing and operating the video systems that now encompass the cityscape and surrounding areas with more than 600 cameras deployed and more to come. Today, he consults other cities on intelligent traffic management system design.
Go-to integrator for installations
Pro-Tec Design has been there since the beginning, even before the Minnesota DOT began to lay an infrastructure backbone of some 400 miles of single-mode, multi-directional fiber starting in 1990. “We installed a traffic camera management system for Minnesota DOT in 1982,” said Hagen. “It was in response to an RFP,” Hagen recalled, “and we won the contract for our areas of expertise,” he said. The heart of the current system is an analog-based CCTV infrastructure integrated into the multi-licensed video management software.
The cameras terminate into the RTMC, an impressive, 10,000-square-foot command and control center that receives live data and blends traditional traffic management with ramp metering, electronic signs and other critical system data to keep the roadways and its travelers safe and up to date with immediate and live status updates. Analog cameras are all PTZ and signals are converted to digital with Axis encoders. Video is stored only five days by design. Currently some IP cameras are being deployed in trials, but analog was chosen because of latency (lag) issues inherent with IP-based PTZ cameras.
Pro-Tec Design was also the successful bidder and installer for the RTMC building security and other parts of the facility, including updated video and installation of a high-end LCD screen, some twenty-four 65-inch monitors and three 70-inch monitors. The facility includes nine areas dedicated to dispatch and traffic management; a public traffic awareness command center; and an area for the Minnesota State Patrol.
“One of the important parts of this relationship is being the lowest qualified bidder,” said Jeff Feldstein, Pro-Tec Design’s business relationship manager. “In dealing with the state you must follow their guidelines and they have their project managers you have to work with. Crossing your t’s and dotting the i’s is extremely important in dealing with the state,” Feldstein said.