Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah (Madinah City’s full name) is located in the centre of the western part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is called ‘The Hijaaz’. It is the second of Islam’s cities, after Makkah Al-Mukarramah (Mecca) and home to the second of The Two Holy Mosques of Islam.
A few years back Madinah installed Vantage video detection systems to provide traffic flow control throughout the city’s critical corridors. Gulf Factory for Traffic Light Limited, the local dealer for the US company, Iteris, supplied and installed the systems and they continue to provide service and maintenance for the complete system.
Madinah attracts Muslims from all corners of the world. Today, visitors number several hundreds of thousands, who remain for just a few days or a few weeks, before journeying home. Madinah’s population is normally around 800,000 but swells to more than two million during the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage period.
The city lies approximately 625 metres above sea level. The climate of Madinah is generally dry, with temperatures ranging between 30-45°C in summer and between 10-25°C.
Usually it has busy traffic which worsens during certain months as visitors converge on the city. Therefore, the Municipality; Amanat Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah implemented the “Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Intelligent Transportation System” (ITS) to be performed in five stages. It included the:
• Upgrade of existing intersection traffic signal controller and cabinet hardware.
• Construction of the Traffic Management Centre.
• Implementation of the traffic management and surveillance system.
• Implementation of the Red Light and Speed Enforcement system.
• Implementation of a Traveller Information System.
A study was conducted prior to the start of the project to help in equipment selection. The city decided to utilise video detection for nearly all of the signalised intersections, and for the system detector stations for the following reasons:
• In-pavement detectors would increase annual maintenance cost owing to the various types of prevailing road surfaces within the city.
• It was not permitted to close the roads for loop installation or maintenance owing to heavily congested traffic flows during many periods of the year.
• Intersections were not equipped with enough conduits to allow the pulling of additional feeder cables required for data collection using inductive loops.
• Continuing improvements and re-surfacing of the road network necessitated the need for a flexible and above surface detection system that would not impact traffic flows.
• Data collection requirements demanded more than what conventional loops could deliver.
• A video image could always verify the actual incident being monitored and could be transmitted to the control centre for central viewing.
The selected traffic controller cabinet, the Carltrans model 336 built to the Nema standard, allowed for the direct installation and connection of all ancillary equipment. An additional requirement was that the required video detection system had to be simple to install and operate. The equipment needed to withstand massive temperature and be such that it could endure continuous operation with the minimum of maintenance.