“The people at Rhythm have been first-class to work with. They were a tremendous help up front explaining the system and what was needed to get the system turned on. Once InSync was turned on they worked closely with staff on trouble-shooting. Today, even after three systems are turned on and operating, they are still there to help us with any issues as they arise. In addition, Rhythm monitored our system over the Thanksgiving holiday and offered us a 24/7 phone number for any questions.”
InSync was designed from the ground up with ease of use in mind, including deployment. To create a positive, seamless transition to adaptive traffic control, we provide the deploying agency and its installation team with the appropriate hardware options, on-site training, easy-to-read documentation and remote technical support.
InSync is 100% compatible with all major makes and models of traffic controllers, cabinets, detectors and communications protocols. This means there’s no need to remove or upgrade your existing hardware or software. Even if the intersections that will be enhanced with InSync include different types/models of controllers, cabinets, detectors or communications infrastructure, the installation process remains virtually the same.
Five “plug and play” options exist for connecting the InSync Processor and other system hardware with existing traffic control equipment. Most agencies take advantage of our custom Y-cables, which make for fast, easy, error-free installation.
The deploying agency will receive a list of action items with the minimum level of communications infrastructure and hardware that need to be in place before Rhythm Engineering personnel arrive on-site.
Some of the action items that need to be completed are:
• Provide traffic data such as traffic counts, phasing information, SYNCHRO files and cabinet and controller print-outs to enable our project engineers to build an in-house simulation of the InSync intersections.
• Install and verify communications between intersections and provide Rhythm Engineering with remote access to the network.
• Install camera mounting hardware and pull wire from the cabinet to specified camera locations.
When installation is ready to begin, a Rhythm Engineering technician will travel to the community to provide face-to-face training. This training includes classroom sessions on operating and maintaining InSync followed by hands-on installation training at multiple intersections.
Once InSync is fully installed, Rhythm Engineering will work with the installers to put the system into detector mode. At this point, the system functions like any other detection system and submits calls to the controller. InSync does not switch into adaptive mode until a project engineer arrives on site
As part of each InSync deployment, the deploying agency will receive printed and electronic copies of all system documentation. These user guides are written in an easy-to-read format with photos, screenshots and other graphics to help communicate instructions. InSync documentation includes:
• InSync Installation and Maintenance Guide
• InSync WebUI Guide
• CentralSync Software Guide
Rhythm Engineering personnel will be on site at least two times during the deployment process—once for installation training, and again for adaptive implementation—yet these skilled technicians and engineers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by contacting our support team. Phone calls and emails are answered quickly and personally by a Rhythm Engineering staff member in our Lenexa, KS headquarters.
InSync integrates effortlessly with existing traffic operations software such as central systems, advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) and other infrastructure used to manage networks of intersections.
While central systems deliver many benefits, they also have certain limitations. InSync empowers agencies to enjoy the benefits of a central system while adding InSync’s powerful, real-time adaptive traffic control capabilities. With InSync’s universal compatibility, integration with a central system is seamless and causes no disruptions. The two operate in parallel without interfering with each other.
At intersections outfitted with InSync, the local traffic controller operates in free mode. If desired, the traffic practitioner can use the central system to switch from InSync’s adaptive control to a traditional timing plan; InSync then functions in detector mode to pass calls directly to the controller. The operator can reengage InSync’s adaptive functionality just as easily.
InSync adds to the central system’s monitoring and reporting functionality with live camera views and traffic data that can be easily accessed, exported and archived in real-time. If the central system’s vehicle and system detection inputs are independently submitted for each phase, the central system can continue to monitor and report on intersection conditions and operations. Adding InSync improves centralized visibility and control rather than diminishing it.
Most of the adaptive systems that come packaged with central systems rely on timing plans. This requires the agency to create and maintain coordinated timing plans. InSync requires no such outlay of agency resources because it does not use timing plans.
The InSync model is based on a fully distributed intelligence network. For every intersection that is enhanced with InSync, an InSync Processor is installed in the traffic cabinet for that intersection. By contrast, central system-based adaptive solutions rely on intelligence residing on a central server. If that central server or communications between the central server and intersections fail, the system is rendered useless, potentially causing chaos on the roadways and in the offices of the traffic agency and IT department. InSync’s distributed design eliminates the loss of functionality caused by disruption to centralized intelligence.
InSync requires reliable Ethernet network communications between the intersections (interconnect). This enables real-time signal optimization and synchronization. Establishing communications is the agency’s responsibility and must be completed and verified prior to Rhythm Engineering’s on-site installation training.
Fiber-optic cable, Ethernet-over-copper and wireless radio all work well with InSync. In fact, InSync can use and integrate different cabling types on the same corridor. Ethernet repeaters are required when Ethernet cable runs from the cameras are greater than 320 ft. (100 m).
With InSync, switching from traditional traffic operations to adaptive traffic control is as simple as the flip of a switch – literally. The InSync Processor has a switch that lets you select between detector mode and adaptive mode. When it’s time for adaptive turn-on, we simply flip the switch on each processor.
However, at the Rhythm Engineering offices, the process leading up to adaptive implementation is more sophisticated and starts several weeks before that moment.
Adaptive implementation begins with one of the first meetings between the deploying agency and the Rhythm Engineering team. In our Goal Meeting, we ask a series of questions to better understand the community’s unique traffic conditions and identify the agency’s priorities and traffic engineering goals for the targeted intersections.
This meeting also collects the contact information of any additional stakeholders in the project and serves as an opportunity for both parties’ traffic professionals to ask questions and make their wishes known.
Using the input provided during the Goal Meeting, our project engineers begin building an InSync configuration customized to the specific intersections. A configuration is a set of parameters that calibrate InSync to the agency’s needs and preferences. These configuration settings tell InSync how best to use its adaptive capabilities to achieve specific goals.
Using traffic data and other information provided by the deploying agency, our engineers can simulate and test the InSync configuration before it’s put into action. This configuration happens in CentralSync, software that the deploying agency has full access to and use of as part of its InSync deployment.
The same project engineer who built the initial configuration will be on site, both at the deploying agency’s office and in the field, to ensure that making the switch to InSync adaptive traffic control is a positive experience for agency personnel and motorists.
Agency representatives will put the traffic controllers in free mode so the controllers can accept calls from InSync. At that point, it is time to implement or “turn on” adaptive operations. The system immediately begins detecting and adapting to real-time demand. Many agencies comment that they notice a dramatic improvement in traffic flow the moment InSync is turned on.
The engineer will stay on site for several days, driving the InSync intersections multiple times with agency representatives, fine-tuning the system if necessary and providing training on InSync user software.