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Telemetrics Helps Make Ohio Roads Safer
Case Studies/Whitepapers

by Michael Keller

Videographer Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Traffic Engineering

For more than 30 years, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been recording traffic flow and patterns on city streets, county roads and state highways throughout the state. The data is collected for later analysis, using two vehicles that are equipped with cameras, monitors and digital time-lapse recording devices.

FROM FILM TO VIDEOTAPE

Michael Keller and Arthur Garrett are videographers with the Ohio Department of Transportation's Office of Traffic Engineering

The very first system used 16mm film and a cherry picker boom and bucket to raise the camera. This was later replaced by a television camera and videotape. In 1999 we moved to a digital format. At that time we also significantly changed the configuration of the system by permanently installing the cameras on vehicle roofs in outdoor housings. These are attached to a platform mounted on a 45-foot telescoping mast.

Our two vehicles are in use at least 30 hours per week, 48 weeks a year. Every 10 years we purchase new vehicles and have new video recording equipment, monitors, cameras and masts re-installed. Continuing problems with our system forced us to look at new equipment and new vendors. Specifically, we did not have adequate camera, lens or pan/tilt control, and there was too much vibration and camera motion in the recorded images.

Our research for replacement equipment led to Telemetrics and we contacted them for help. We needed a system that provided high performance and that could withstand the rigors of the application. However, it could not be too heavy or bulky. We were also anxious to try a new custom lens that Canon assured us would solve our vibration problems, but this lens simply would not work on our existing system. Telemetrics, working with our staff, came up with a design that included the company’s heavy duty pan/tilt PT-HD3 unit, along with the HD-HOU heavy duty environmental camera housing.

We control the cameras using the Telemetrics CP-R-2A rack serial control panel, which gives us variable speed pan/tilt and zoom/focus control on both cameras, as well as control of the housing wiper function.

The system also includes the Telemetrics STS-12 control transfer switch, which acts as a transparent communication path between the control panel and the receiver. This switch allows us to view images from either of our two vehicles when they are used together for monitoring differing views of the same location or intersection. Telemetrics also engineered a special circuit board for our cameras to ensure compatibility.

Due to budget restrictions, and also based on previous experience, we elected to proceed with the installation on only one vehicle. This was performed by Custom Mobile Products of North Olmsted, Ohio. The system was installed in less than two weeks and has been headache-free ever since. The second system was installed about a year later and has been equally trouble-free.

I can’t say enough about the quality and performance of the Telemetrics camera robotics. This system has performed flawlessly in both vehicles for the past two years and this is critical, as these are the only two systems in the state and we can’t afford any down time. Our schedules are planned at least a week in advance and a site visit requires the schedule coordination of several people and different departments. I’m confident in saying a site visit will never have to be cancelled because of our equipment.

Michael Keller is a videographer with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Traffic Engineering. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone. He may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For additional information contact Telemetrics at 201-848-9818.