Cloud-connected VMS units helping to cut automotive crime in Virginia


Internet-connected variable message signs (VMS) from cloud-based traffic management equipment developer All Traffic Solutions (ATS) are helping police forces to combat motor vehicle thefts across the state of Virginia.

ATS’ cloud-based technology is helping extend the Virginia State Police’s long-standing statewide ‘Help Eliminate Auto Theft’ (HEAT) vehicle theft prevention program and reduce automotive crime throughout the Commonwealth. The Virginia State Police has just acquired four of the company’s InstAlert cloud-enabled VMS trailer units, which will be supported by ATS’ TraffiCloud remote management software system. Together, the signs and TraffiCloud will support public safety messages and, in particular, promote more widely how citizens can help eliminate car theft and protect their vehicles. The HEAT program educates the public about theft of vehicles and vehicle parts; crimes that cost the state and its citizens millions of dollars a year.

Members of the public can report crimes anonymously and be rewarded if their information leads to the arrest of persons involved in automobile theft, the theft of auto parts, chop-shop activity and/or carjacking. HEAT also trains and supports local and state law enforcement officers to prevent automotive theft. Since its inception in1992, the program has helped reduce car crime by 48%. The HEAT program is a cooperative effort of the State Police and Virginia’s law enforcement community. Through HEAT, law enforcement agencies across the state will be able to request the use of one of the four InstAlert message trailers in a layered approach to auto-theft prevention. The message signs will display crime prevention messages, such as ‘9pm Routine: Lock Your Doors’, and ‘Take Your Keys or Take Your Chances’.

ATS is a leader in portable, cloud-supported devices for traffic safety, smart parking, and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications. The company’s innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions and connected devices are helping agencies and communities solve their most complex parking, traffic and transportation challenges. Over 5,000 organizations use the company’s patented TraffiCloud and ParkingCloud platforms to remotely manage their sensor networks and centralize data in real-time. The web-enabled InstAlert full-matrix VMS trailers features include high mobility and ease of deployment, together with TraffiCloud’s remote management capabilities through any internet-connected device. The VMS can schedule up to 50 different messages or modes for up to 13 different time periods in a 24-hour day.

“Pairing InstAlert with TraffiCloud offers many benefits in terms of adaptability, cost-efficiency and operational effectiveness”, explained ATS CEO, Andy Souders. “Accurate real-time information can have a transformative influence on crime prevention and public safety. Being able to transplant that capability from place to place means that the policing effort can be targeted where it’s most needed. Remote management also saves time and is a far safer solution because officials don’t have to visit each sign every time a message needs to be changed. Using TraffiCloud’s Message Suite software, the HEAT program will be able to monitor each trailer in real-time and ensure that the right messages about auto theft control prevention are provided to the public.”

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About Author


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.