The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) in Idaho has been using camera lowering systems from (MG)2 the I-84 and I-184 freeway network in the Boise region for the past seven years. The ease of maintenance and resulting time and cost savings made shifting to the lowering system concept from a standard 50ft (15.24m) pole with homemade camera bracket an easy decision.

In partnership with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), ACHD now has approximately 20 lowering systems in place on the local freeway network, with plans to expand the number as funding permits.

Prepared for Ethernet/IP

Many systems today utilize Ethernet by way of encoders and decoders located in a polar ground-mounted traffic cabinet. What’s meant by an ‘all-Ethernet-based system’ – and what is specifically different with such a system – is the insertion of an IP-based security video camera. Running the Ethernet straight out of the camera eliminates the need for costly encoders/decoders. Most security video providers now have an IP dome type camera. After review and field testing, ACHD selected the Bosch Series 500 IP camera to be installed on all new ITS projects.

In anticipation of the eventual move toward a pure Ethernet deployment – where IP is run straight from the security video – from (MG)2 had already begun development of a complementary lowering device, and in particular, a contact connector, designed specifically for interfacing with the new Ethernet/IP security video cameras. The systems came prewired for IP/Ethernet connections using CAT 6 100 Base TX wire. Each connector included eight gold-plated contacts for the CAT 6 Cable, four additional gold-plated contacts for power or alarms, and a gold-plated ground contact. The IP connectors were made out of a molded synthetic rubber to ensure durability in extreme cold or extreme heat environments. The lowering device enabled quick and easy access to the security video cameras. Meanwhile, the MPEG-4 video from the camera is clear on the TMC’s video wall and the agency is not experiencing any latency in the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) control. ACHD is pleased with both of the technologies and foresees them becoming standard – not just in Idaho, but in other states and other countries. Overall, the shift to an all Ethernet/IP network has been a success in the Boise region, so much so that the Idaho Transportation Department has selected the Ethernet/IP cameras and from (MG)2 lowering systems to be used statewide on various freeway projects.