The White House Highlights Pittsburgh’s Wireless Waterway
The Conxx wireless network project on the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers was featured at a White House event when the Obama administration honored the Port of Pittsburgh Commission as one of 12 Transportation Champions of Change.
The PPC partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to develop a computerized virtual locking system to aid vessels entering a lock chamber in low-visibility conditions. Three years ago, the Commission, CMU and Conxx Smart Technologies started building that network system, called the Wireless Waterway, which improves safety, security and scheduling for towboats, terminals, trains and trucks.
Now beginning a third phase of implementation, the Wireless Waterway will link cameras, data sources and other facilities along the rivers into a data network that will be accessible by the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and the towing industry. Pittsburgh is the second busiest inland port and the 20th busiest port, of any kind, in the United States. Pittsburgh handles more tonnage than the ports of Philadelphia and St. Louis. The more than 32 million tons of cargo the Port of Pittsburgh ships and receives each year.
The Pittsburgh Port Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing the effort. Pittsburgh is a standalone project to serve as a national model that will allow for the integration of cameras, sensors and security management systems as well as the exchange of rich data between vessels and also between vessels and government agencies along the river.
Since 9/11, communication interoperability has been a concern of Homeland Security. This new wireless exchange of data delivers significant efficiencies for tug and towing providers on these rivers and more reliable and up to the minute decision making information for both private and public entities that manage the movement of vessels, people and goods along the interior waterway corridor.
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