Posted by Mary-Joe Perry, MassDOT Chief Information Officer
MassDOT is participating in three initiatives across Massachusetts that utilize broadband communications to support transportation, safety, and security. These innovative projects are creating jobs and enhancing economic development while supporting expansion of fiber optic-based broadband communications. The three initiatives include the Massachusetts Emergency Transportation Fiber Optic Network (METFON), I-91 ITS Fiber Project, and the I-90 ITS Broadband upgrade.
I am pleased to say that MassDOT has been awarded more than $7 million in Homeland Security funding under the Public Safety Interoperable Communications Grant Program and under the grant will be the lead agency in launching the Massachusetts Emergency Transportation Fiber Optic Network (METFON).
METFON is a consortium of state transportation and public safety agencies and authorities that will pool their fiber and other communication assets to form a high-speed secure statewide fiber optic communications network. This project will allow every major transportation and public safety control center in the Metro Boston area to be linked together to share real time data, video, and information regarding an escalating incident. It will also provide infrastructure to link public safety control centers along the I-90 Corridor and in Western Massachusetts to the network. This vital network will link essential elements of the existing public safety and transportation infrastructure. The result will be shared communication and faster response times and a safer, more effective transportation system. A great MassDOT team effort made possible the awarding of the grant and the resulting METFON effort, including Lorenzo Parra, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Security, Tony Wade, Fiber-optic Engineer, and many others.
I-91 ITS Fiber Project
The I-91 ITS fiber project currently under construction is building a fiber-optic cable “backbone” along 62 miles of I-91 and I-291. The project includes an Advanced Traffic Management System with 17 variable message signs, 34 closed circuit television cameras, vital IT infrastructure, and capacity for future economic development needs. Cameras and VMS will be viewable at the MassDOT Traffic Operations Center in Northampton and linked directly to the Highway Operations Center in Boston. The improved I-91 ITS system will focus on incident management, traffic operations, traveler information and homeland security. Two conduits are dedicated to MassDOT use, with four available for future economic development and expansion of broadband availability in western Massachusetts.
I-90 ITS Broadband Upgrade
This project creates and expands upon a shared Wide Area Network along the I-90 corridor to transport voice, video, and data, significantly upgrading the capacity of existing fiber optic cable along I-90. The new wide area network will complement the ongoing I-91 ITS project and provide greater communications capacity, integrating activities among participating state agencies and the City of Boston among others.
With these exciting initiatives, MassDOT is once again achieving its goals of customer service and safety.