Include sufficient safeguards to ensure the integrity of the fiber-optic communications infrastructure for ITS.
Silicon Valley Smart Corridor's experience with safeguards and monitoring of integrated freeway, arterial and incident management systems and impact on deployment delays.
Made Public Date


United States

Silicon Valley Smart Corridor: Final Evaluation Report


The Silicon Valley Smart Corridor (SVSC), centered in San Jose, California, was one of approximately 65 deployments occurring nationally under the direction and partial funding of the Fiscal Year 1999 National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Integration Program. These deployments are intended to promote major national goals for ITS, such as: increase transportation efficiency, promote safety, increase traffic flow, reduce emissions of air pollutants, improve traveler information, enhance alternative transportation modes, build on existing ITS projects, and promote tourism.

The Silicon Valley Smart Corridor project was initiated to use advanced technologies and real-time system management techniques to keep all transportation facilities within the region's critical State Highway Route 17 and Interstate 880 (SR 17/I-880) corridor operating at maximum efficiency, even when following a major disruptive incident. Based upon a partnership of several agencies, the system combines advanced freeway, arterial, and incident management techniques and resources to reduce delays.

Lessons Learned

ITS systems should have safeguards in place to monitor and protect the fiber-optic cabling and components after installation and to notify system personnel of damage. By including adequate safeguards in the implementation of the project, damage may be avoided and repairs can begin sooner to lessen the duration and impact of infrastructure damage.

The Smart Corridor project involved the complex integration of a number of previously unrelated systems. The most significant difficulty faced by the project partners involved the deployment and maintenance of the system's fiber-optic communications infrastructure. The most frequently cited problem was having a fiber-optic cable cut or damaged by construction crews. Breaks in the fiber infrastructure occurred numerous times during the deployment process and often resulted in delays to the deployment and system integration activities that utilized the fiber-optic communications infrastructure.

Limited familiarity among project partners of deploying and maintaining fiber-optic infrastructure further complicated the situation. For many of the stakeholder agencies, the Smart Corridor deployment was their first experience with fiber-optic infrastructure. Significant lessons were learned by the agencies during the deployment, including the following:

  • Inform construction crews and public of fiber-optic line placement, via line signage and markings, to reduce the likelihood of accidental damage. The original implementation did not include sufficient safeguards (signage, markings, system maps, etc.) needed to ensure the integrity of the system after installation. With no prior knowledge of the location of fiber-optic cabling, construction crews often unknowingly dug up the infrastructure. To remedy this miscommunication, the partner agencies implemented policies to better inform the public of the location of fiber-optic lines and included language into the scopes of work for later fiber-optic installation that better defined line signage and markings.
  • Utilize a robust monitoring system to identify fiber-optic breaks and notify system personnel. The initial fiber-optic infrastructure did not include a sufficiently robust monitoring system that could identify system breaks and notify system personnel when they occurred. Consequently, when the fiber-optic cabling was cut or broken, agency personnel were not immediately notified and had no knowledge about the damage. Occasionally this resulted in difficulties in identifying the parties responsible for the infrastructure damage due to the long time lag before the damage was discovered. To resolve this situation, a more robust monitoring system was implemented to lessen the potential duration and impact of infrastructure damage.

The recurring damage to the fiber-optic communications infrastructure caused significant delays in the testing and deployment of the system. Although steps had been taken to better maintain and ensure the integrity of the fiber optic network, including the addition of ten certified fiber-optic technicians, the damage has resulted in delays to the expected project completion date. Completion of the initial implementation was anticipated in August 2000; however, several project setbacks have delayed full deployment until 2003.

For the future, the stakeholder agencies have adopted policies and procedures to better ensure the integrity and availability of the fiber-optic infrastructure for use by other components of the system. The policies and procedures have resulted in greater system stability. Additionally, successful policies and procedures have been disseminated and shared among the partners, resulting in greater standardization across the various jurisdictions. Many of the project partners have reported that maintaining the integrity of the fiber-optic system is their highest priority as they have realized that system instability poses the greatest threat to the success of the deployment.

Silicon Valley Smart Corridor: Final Evaluation Report

Silicon Valley Smart Corridor: Final Evaluation Report
Publication Sort Date
Carter, Mark,
Prepared by SAIC for the USDOT FHWA

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Application Areas
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