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Distributed acoustic sensing for traffic monitoring

on February 18, 2019

CarToday transport networks are the essential element of any major city. A huge amount of vehicles causes reduction of road space, often accidents and traffic jams. Unfortunately, our present traffic systems cannot manage with the increased flows, for example, only the past two decades has seen an 84% increase in the number of cars. This became the main reason for the development of a new approach to traffic monitoring.

The possible solution is the use of the distributed acoustic sensing or DAS by fiber optic cable networks. Herewith, it should be mentioned that fiber optic networks suggest two main advantages over other potential smart transport technologies:

  • the diffusion of fiber optic cables, to be precise, they cover almost all parts of cities and road infrastructures.
  • no need for their installation because fiber cables are already in place. That is why it is not necessary to dig up the streets, install new cameras, or fit point sensors.
  • no need for vast spending programmes to deploy new technology.

The principle of work is based on the ability of all traffic to generate acoustic or seismic data. In addition, some specific activities, for example, incidents create certain acoustic signatures and these acoustic vibrations pass through fiber optic cables. Thus, distributed acoustic sensing allows interpreting the acoustic information to recognize, determine and track these signatures for traffic flows and public transport infrastructure monitoring in real time.

The DAS systems enable to analyze traffic speed and density, detect a traffic jam and identify disruptions like broken-down vehicles. The most important thing is that the DAS technology opens the opportunity for city authorities to make dynamic adjustments to transport infrastructure that will be necessary to keep cities moving now and in the future.

For example, in the case of an accident or intense level of traffic, the DAS system is able to adapt quickly traffic controls and redirect road traffic to balance overall vehicle flows and avoid a traffic jam. Nevertheless, the whole potential of the DAS technology is not explored yet but at the present time, it is tested in Canada.

The novel distributed acoustic sensing combine monitoring of the public tram system, public road networks, and even autonomous vehicles to create a complete picture of the transport network situation in the city. Then, the obtained information is transmitted into an app for citizens where they can see the road traffic to optimize their own journeys. Finally, it is planned that fiber optic sensing solutions will soon make intelligent transport systems cheaper, with less disruption than alternative approaches. das_1

Optromix is a DAS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed acoustic sensing systems suitable for monitoring of transport traffic systems. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DAS system, please contact us at

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