During the last ten years, the highway management community has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a concept known as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to improve the safety, security and efficiency of the nation’s highway system. ITS technologies are intended to enable us to avoid crashes and to eliminate travel delays that can be avoided by the efficient use of information and technology, such as real-time travel information and efficient traffic management.
This money has gone into building networks of hard sensors and cellular phone tracking projects along the nation’s interstates and major highways, and investment in the creation of traffic management centers throughout the country. Significant progress is being made, but transportation officials are still looking for methods that will provide visibility into unanticipated traffic events without the expense of placing fixed instrumentation on every mile of highway.
Through the use of patent pending technology, iCone Products, LLC is putting the iCone® traffic beacon on the streets in North America, creating new levels of efficiency in traffic management and new markets for real-time traffic information.
The iCone is a device that beams real-time traffic information over the Internet to a central web site for use by government officials, emergency response personnel, trucking fleets, the public and information re-sellers, including media outlets and GPS services like Garmin.
The product is comprised of a highway construction barrel with a computer chip, circuit board, GPS device, radar sensor and networking capability inside. The device is the only one of its kind, has been crash test approved by the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”), and currently is under evaluation by seven state Departments of Transportation (“DOTs”). The iCone completed its third generation of field testing with the New York State DOT in the fall of 2008.
The iCone traffic beacon features:
- Simple operation – drop it on the roadside and flip a switch to activate
- Autonomous – power budgeting and board design result in weeks of operation without recharging
- Universal coverage – special satellite modems provide network communications on every road in North America
- High accuracy positioning – GPS identifies the exact lane that is closed
- Traffic speed detection – average speeds are transmitted to measure congestion
- Durable construction – water-proof, shock resistant, one moving part (the switch)
- Full support lease arrangement – simple lease model covers all costs of communications, servers and web-based information delivery
- Data processing – traffic reporting and monitoring
The FHWA recently passed new Work Zone Safety & Mobility Rules that must be implemented by State DOTs. The new rules require State DOTs and local transportation agencies to implement a real-time information program for the enhanced management of work zone impacts on traffic and safety. The iCone has been demonstrated at major Intelligent Transportation Systems conferences, and company executives have been invited to help draw up state DOT compliance programs with the FHWA Work Zone Safety rules, using the iCone as their primary compliance mechanism. The latest FHWA commentary on the work zone safety rules and the impact of the President’s economic recovery package on expected levels of highway construction can be found at this link:
iCone Products LLC’s management team includes two executives who are engineers trained in the aerospace industry who have been applying aerospace engineering practices to the trucking industry for the last 10 years. In addition, the company has hired another engineer with over 20 years experience with the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York Thruway Authority who was responsible for the design and implementation of the Thruway’s intelligent transportation monitoring system.