Rhythm Engineering Blog

In|Sync’s Distributed Architecture

By Grant Niehus, Director of Operations

From the very start of In|Sync’s history, it was designed to be a robust and scalable, adaptive traffic control platform. We envisioned that the system would positively impact millions of drivers a day, bringing loved ones to their destination faster and safer.

But to accomplish that goal, we had come up with an architecture that could be deployed quickly and without limits. By designing a system that utilized a distributed architecture we could overcome two significant challenges that adaptive systems encountered at the time:

1. System degradation during communication breaks

2. Limits to the number of intersections that could be added

Traditional adaptive systems relied on a central server to send operational instructions on a per-cycle-basis or even worse once every 5-15 minutes. Not only was this way of doing things slow and inefficient — because the “adaptive” changes were always behind — but more importantly, if the communication from the central server to the intersection was broken, the intersection could no longer operate adaptively.

In|Sync took a different approach and placed the adaptive logic at the intersection level instead of at a Traffic Management Center (TMC). This allowed In|Sync and the adaptive system to continue to operate with 100% efficiency even when a communication outage occurred between the TMC and the field. Events such as internet service provider outages, fiber breaks and network routing issues are becoming every day occurrences and designing a system to mitigate these real possibilities has been something we have worked very hard on.

The other advantage to a distributed network design is that it puts the computational load on the individual equipment in the cabinet rather than on a single server in the TMC. This allows the system to scale to a theoretically unlimited amount of intersections. Each intersection uses its own local, real-time data to alter the signal state and does not rely on network access back to the TMC. From an intersection network of 100+ intersections to a corridor crossing multiple jurisdictions, In|Sync is a solution that can be deployed without limits.

Over the years, we have used our knowledge gained from our 2,500+ intersections deployed and put it into our newest software. I am pleased to share that our brand-new software platform, In|Traffic and InSync 1.6, continues the distributed architecture design that we believe is a pillar to In|Sync’s success and are excited to roll it out to all of our users.

Learn more about In|Sync here.

Rhythm EngineeringIn|Sync’s Distributed Architecture