NSW traffic network gets NBN fibre upgrade

traffic technology

The New South Wales traffic network has received a $15 million National Broadband Network (NBN) optical fibre upgrade, leveraging NBN Co’s ‘Smart Places’ solution to connect infrastructure.

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Executive Director of Intelligent Transport Systems, John Paul Ahern, said the project will work to address current and future technology needs, as part of the Future Transport Strategy.

“It sounds like a very simple solution – new fibre connecting things like traffic lights, smart motorways and CCTV cameras – but the thought and strategy behind it is quite sophisticated,” he said.

“Previously, we’ve been limited in our ability to unlock the benefits of fibre as the locations we want to connect aren’t premises; We’re talking about things like gantries and traffic lights that can be a considerable distance from the nearest home or workplace.

“Our team have collaborated with NBN Co on their Smart Places solution, which utilises full fibre to connect critical infrastructure, to ensure that we can meet our current and future needs for linking these assets.

“These needs will exponentially increase in the coming years as we see a rise in communication between connected automated traffic systems and vehicles, so we needed a solution that would serve us for decades to come.

“Transport for NSW is currently working with telecommunications retailers and providers to install the largest rollout of the nbn Smart Places product in Australia to date, prioritising locations where there is a need to replace copper-based technologies.”

TfNSW has commenced work with telecommunications providers, Vocus and TPG, to supply and install the nbn Smart Places fibre and services. The project is the first of a multi-year strategy to gradually upgrade networks and ensure they are up to standard as legacy technology is phased out, including 3G.

Ahern said the new fibre will be connected to 1,300 traffic light controllers and close to 700 roadside CCTV cameras across Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle as well as regional hubs including Albury, Ballina, Wagga, Orange, Taree and Tamworth.

“This is a behind-the-scenes upgrade to the system that drivers probably won’t notice but will certainly benefit from,” he said.

“Improvements to the speed and reliability of connections to these critical assets will reduce faults and downtime while boosting the efficiency of our intelligent transport system.

“The other exciting benefit is that this fibre opens up options for where we can expand smart traffic systems and motorway capabilities: we are no longer reliant on where the NBN already exists, we can use the fibre to bridge that gap.”