Q-Free launches new device manager to improve traffic signal controller updates

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The North American division of Norwegian company Q-Free, supplier of tolling and intelligent transportation systems (ITS), has launched its new Intelight Device Manager to help transportation agencies speed up traffic signal controller firmware updates.

Q-Free unveiled its new Intelight Device Manager at last week’s International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) Forum and Expo in New Orleans. Free to all current and future operators of the company’s award-winning Intelight Max Time local controller software, the product aims to radically improve the time and cost associated with firmware updates by enabling them to be remotely scheduled and run in bulk, without the need for on-site traffic technicians or putting the intersection in ‘flash mode’. Traditionally, when traffic controller software updates are issued, which can take place once or twice per year, or even more frequently in some cases, trained traffic technicians must travel to each intersection and perform the update in the field.

This generally involves putting the intersection into ‘flash mode’, a potentially hazardous scenario for technicians and motorists alike. The process is generally handled by two technicians, for safety purposes, and can conservatively be completed in 15-20 minutes per intersection. Using the remote Device Manager, the potential cost savings for a mid-sized agency with 300 signalized intersections could be up to US$30,000 per upgrade before considering equipment fees or travel time to and from each location.

Q-Free is currently working to install 10,000 traffic controllers at signalized intersections throughout the state of Georgia, which remains the single largest procurement of signal systems software and hardware in the USA to date. It was during this project that the initial idea to develop the Intelight Device Manager came about from the partnership between Q-Free and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Of the planned intersections in Georgia, approximately 7,500 are complete and the remaining 2,500 will be finished next year. By the same conservative estimates, the Intelight Device Manager could save the state US$1m or more per year.

The web-based Intelight Device Manager allows operators to select and schedule groups of intersections to be remotely updated at a specific time with just a few clicks on a computer, tablet or smartphone, all without the need for a central traffic management system. At the designated time, the Intelight Device Manager will execute the update and controller safety checks will validate the new software; all without putting the signal into a state of flash. If anything looks suspect, the controller will revert to the earlier version of the software and send an alert to the Intelight Device Manager.

“This is a game changer and a huge win for our customers,” said Mike Clance, Q-Free’s eastern regional manager of urban sales and product manager for Intelight systems. “No other vendor of traffic signal control software can remotely schedule and administer batch updates across an entire state; let alone without putting the intersection signals into flash. The safety and cost-saving implications for the end user of this product are profound. We’re in the process of finalizing testing on the new Intelight Device Manager with several of our key partners, and we can’t wait to deliver this product to all of our existing and new customers, free of charge. We’re grateful to GDOT for being progressive and working with us on this project.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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