To better accommodate motorists attending events at the CenturyLink Center and the TD Ameritrade Park, the City of Omaha and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) selected Olsson Associates to provide an automated parking count system and a separate dynamic message sign system to be deployed on traffic signal mast arms throughout the stadium area in downtown Omaha. The system provides real-time parking lot counts and automatically direct motorists to the most open lot via the dynamic message signs.
Olsson, as the design-build team leader, went above and beyond the city's preliminary design by providing an integrated system that used an open source, non-copyrighted software based upon commercially available hardware and software. The system also includes anti-tailgating loop detectors that provide accurate in-and-out vehicle counts, giving the system operator an up-to-the-second snapshot of all parking lot fills at any time.
Rather than propose an entirely wireless system, as requested by the RFP, Olsson designed a 96-count singlemode fiber optic ring around the project area, providing highly available, high-bandwidth communications with a great deal of future flexibility. This was made possible through using existing city traffic signal interconnect conduits. As a bonus, the city traffic department also gained 48 single-mode fibers for future use in signal integration and other inter-city communications.
The system's software runs in a virtualized environment, providing both performance benefits as well as superior disaster recovery options. Remote system access via Apple iPads is a unique system feature, providing accessibility of all system functions from a small device with long battery life and no boot sequence.
The value-added concepts designed into this project will reduce long-term operations and maintenance costs and reduce staffing needs by automating the system's wayfinding function.