1. #1
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    Default Traffic Preemption Opticom Tomar

    Yes, I already searched but did not find enough information.
    Please give opinions on starting a program. Give me opinions on which brand to go with and whether to use visual or audible. I have heard a cost of $7000 per intersection, does this sound in line? Anything else I should be concerned with? Thanks for any info or opinions.

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    We were kind of hurried into purchasing them. Since then (it's been abt 2 years) we have been battling with the state DOT about how to install them in their traffic lights. Finally got the permits the other day. The bid was about 20k to install them in two traffic lights with the modifications by DOT, originally it was about 15k IIRC. I don't know what the equipment cost. I have been installing the emitters myself (I am the mechanic) which is time consuming but I always do my work as the manufacturer would have done it if it had been built with the unit installed. So I have been installing them IN the light bars rather than just on top of the rig somewhere. (I usually replace a white light with the Opticom because with a clear lens it is an awe-inspring warning device) It is usually quite tricky to get a park brake/transmission park signal off the vehicle. Every vehicle is different. As I do this I am also modifying the vehicles to shut down the white rotators and headlight flashers and white strobes as per NFPA and common sense so that no white lights are going when parked at scene to confuse traffic. Our system is 3M Opticom. Any questions just ask. In a few months it should be installed and then I will know more about the operation of it.

    Also rather than spending your own money as we did, try to get a developer to pay for it as part of the conditions for his project.

    Birken

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    Smile opticom

    Birken, right on about 3M opticoms. Being big city we already have the preempter systems installed. Our 3M units are built into the lightbars and are off with the park brake on. I believe we are at 840 flashes per minute.

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    We are currently retro-fitting all of our interesections with traffic pre-emption devices. I just scheduled 2 more installations in the last 2 weeks. Our cost is roughly $6100.00 per intersection if the signals have no pre-existing cabling. All of our apparatus and administrative vehicles are equipped with Tomar stand alone emitters with the newer apparatus having them integrated into the Tomar lightbars. Surrounding cities also use the same base system, and despite using 3M emitters and recievers, still work with our Tomar emitters on our rigs and theirs on our system. Running together on Box Alarms almost daily this system has been a great advantage. It is possible to have up to a 5 or 6 mile run down our area main drags and never get a red light, no matter the department our emitter being used. The rules we have to follow in order to get the system installed are simple: We request in writing to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) for permission to install the equipment at specific intersections. They reply in writing and give permission. We forward the permission to our contractor (CTS in the Houston area). They schedule the install and on their anticipated last day of install (2 day install normally) TXDOT has a rep come to the intersection to make sure the tie-in to their traffic control box is done to their standards. After that, they test all components and call the department to let us know we have another completed interesction.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    As you've noticed, yes it is expensive as hell but well worth it. The Tomar and Whelen/3M strobe emitters are both quality units, it boils down to personal preference. They both flash at 14fps and do the same thing.

    Visible light is fine, there is no need to make it more expensive and put infrared filters on everything. That just cuts down the range.

    Avoid the sound activated devices, they suck and will never work right.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    We've used the Opticom since the mid 70's. It's a great system as long as the dirvers don't just assume the thing's going to work and bust through a light. The system doesn't eliminate other driver's with their heads up their arses.
    Steve Gallagher
    IACOJ BOT
    ----------------------------
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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    My career department uses them also. The one thing that it doesn't do, is figure out which maniac Engineer/Operator to give the green light to when you have 2 or more apparatus all approaching the same intersection from different directions while running on a box. Just a thought.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    According to the docs I have it gives preference to the first one it "sees".

    I am curious, I have the Opticom 792H emitters and 752 detectors. They seem to have options for different "classes" and "IDs" of vehicles, etc. The detector manual also mentions different frequencies (flash rates) of the emitter but the emitter manual does not mention this. Are other departments using this scheme to limit who can turn their lights green or to record who went through? I fear there may be a political battle brewing with this because too many lawyers got involved.

    Also we have some very long high speed approaches to ours. Anybody hazard a guess as to the range these things actuall work out to in real life. How much does weather/atmospheric conditions play a factor, also.

    Birken

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    Birkens right. They accept the first signal they see and either change that direction to green, or hold it green, whichever the circumstance. It ignores other approaching signals.

    As for high speed approaches, we've got a sensor placed well ahead on a light pole set back from the intersection as well as the sensor on the light for the high speed approaches. According to our city electrician, the timings are adjusted a little longer as a safety margin in this case as well. It's worked well for us over the years.

    I'm not sure what the effective range is, but fog will definitely make it difficult to sense the emitter, so it often has to be closer. We don't have anyone else in the area that uses it, so we've never gotten into the flash rate issue.
    Steve Gallagher
    IACOJ BOT
    ----------------------------
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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    My docs says it holds the green for the first signal of equal priority. One city near here has buses that run a low priority signal so they get the green all the time too but a fire engine or cop will override that.

    Birken

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    You can have all kinds of more complicated schemes. The standard and most common is high and low priority. Emergency vehicles are high priority. Transit and other things that don't like sitting in traffic are low priority. You can have each vehicle get it's own distinct flash rate. The system knows what rate is what vehicle and it will act accordingly and log it. This lets someone sit at a computer and watch the firetrucks and buses drive around. It's not used much but it can do it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    BirkenVogt - The flash rates you're referring to are priority and audit. 14hz is high priority, 10 hz is low priority, and 12 hz is "audit" which logs the passing vehicle into the intersection controller memory, but does not pre-empt the light.

    3M's system can also assign specific ID's to vehicles, and the controllers have to programmed to match. This can be used to prevent wackers with MIRTs from hijacking the system. It is a pain, however, to program separate ID's for all your vehicles. It also poses a logistical nightmare if there are other services (such as out of town EMS units) with emitters who travel through your town, and would like to avail themselves of a somewhat safer and more expeditious passage.

    Ours have the IR filters, so we can run them on "Code-2" (no lights/siren) calls and not confuse folks ahead of us with a fast blinky white light on the front of the truck (God knows they're confused enough already...)

    Only problem we have is lack of sight distance - our roads are very hilly / winding, and we often can't trip the system until we're very close to the intersection. We have lots of trees lining the streets, so line-of-sight to the detector in spring / summer is sometimes a problem. The cost is also (sometimes) very high, especially if the traffic signal controller is older and can't accept the pre-emption equipment. Traffic signal controllers are big $$$ (liability, no doubt).
    R.A. Ricciuti
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

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