Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Secure your critical roadways infrastructure as you digitize and resolve congestion


As a Londoner, it was slightly bitter-sweet to see London highlighted in the opening line of the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard for 2022. Particularly as it is listed as the most congested city in the world. However, London isn’t alone, and congestion is clearly a global issue. Chicago and Paris are a close second and third on the list, with drivers in each city annually facing more than 130 lost hours in traffic due to congestion in 2022.

And what is the impact of that lost time? It could mean a parent being late to drop their children to school or missing an important meeting or appointment. These delays can have a huge impact on peoples’ lives, as well as impacting the air quality close to areas of congestion, which has a health impact as well.

At the same time, opportunities generated by new technologies like Vehicle to Everything (V2X), which enable communication between vehicles and roadside equipment, are becoming a reality.

These both are among the many challenges and opportunities facing Departments of Transport (DoTs), cities, counties, and highways agencies globally. These challenges are leading many to focus on accelerating their digitization projects to deliver solutions faster.

Gwinnett County, Georgia, one of the largest suburbs of Atlanta, is home to nearly a million residents. Ken Keena, ATMS/TCC Section Manager at Gwinnett County highlights the challenge and the opportunity, describing how ‘Digitizing and automating means instead of waiting an hour or two for someone to call and tell us a signal is flashing or malfunctioning; it automatically goes through the network and software, and an email notification is sent so technicians can quickly respond. In the past, there could be a long delay before a call came in because everybody assumed someone else has called’.

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Efficient and accessible transportation within the county is supported by intelligent transportation systems (ITS) network technology, supporting residents and interstate commerce.

Industry leaders are at different stages of the digitization journey to address these challenges and capture the opportunities, which can be illustrated as shown below:

Figure 1: The four stages of digitization

At every stage on the journey, we find that CISOs are laser-focused on ensuring their IT teams have the visibility of everything that is connected to the network as more systems are being connected at the roadside. They need certainty that processes are in place to make sure any access to connected assets (e.g., for maintenance by a vendor or other important operational use cases) is carefully controlled from a security lens.

Cisco, as a provider of market-leading ruggedized networking and cyber security products, helps to address these challenges with products including Cisco Cyber Vision. Cyber Vision provides visibility of everything connected to the network and is embedded on Cisco industrial routers and switches. And, we recently announced that Cisco Secure Equipment Access, which provides Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to connected assets for activities like troubleshooting and maintenance, is also available on Cisco industrial switches and routers. Our portfolio of industrial switches and routers provides the reliable, ruggedized hardware that our customers need to provide secure connectivity from roadside equipment to Automated Traffic Management Systems (ATMS). And, with Cyber Vision and Secure Equipment Access embedded in the hardware, customers have the confidence of highly secure industrial connectivity with simplicity.

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To learn more about how Cisco is helping organizations protect their connected roadways infrastructure from cyber threats, while ensuring that traffic system networks are resilient, reliable and secure, I encourage you to hear from experts Pete Kavanagh, Principal Solution Architect and Cassie McEnroe, Sales Leader for IoT Critical infrastructure in our latest webinar, How to reduce cyber risks as you digitize your roadways infrastructure. We would love to hear your feedback – please leave your comments below!

And for a deeper dive, check out the solution overview: Robust Cybersecurity to Safeguard Roadways Infrastructure.

Furthermore, stay tuned for more updates on how we are helping leaders at DoTs, cities, counties, and transportation agencies around the world gain the benefits of digitization while protecting their critical roadways infrastructure. Improving pedestrian safety, reducing congestion, and paving the way to supporting new transport innovation, with a resilient and scalable foundation for the intelligent transportation systems of the future.

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