Distributed Acoustic Sensing

fiber2

Distributed Acoustic Sensing

van in cottonwood

UDOT has one of the most robust, DOT-owned fiber optic networks in the nation. Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), or “fiber sensing”, uses fiber optic cable buried alongside the road to monitor roadways in real time by detecting acoustic events in the vicinity of the fiber, like crashes. This UDOT fiber sensing project will be one of the first in the nation. It aims to provide critical safety and maintenance information.

OVERVIEW

UDOT uses a variety of sensors to monitor roadway conditions throughout the state, including crashes, congestion, and extreme weather events. Those sensors, however, are often spread far apart, reducing our ability to learn about these incidents. Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) could provide the answer to filling in these gaps. Incidents, like crashes, cause vibrations in the ground. UDOT’s fiber optic cables, buried near the roads, would sense these vibrations, causing a small disturbance in the light wave traveling through the fiber. Devices placed at the end of these long fiber corridors could sense these disturbances and warn UDOT traffic operators of the potential incident.

BENEFITS OF THE TECHNOLOGY

Quick responses to incidents – sending emergency responders to a crash site, or mitigating congestion – requires quick knowledge. UDOT anticipates that a Distributed Acoustic Sensing system will help provide information quickly in areas where other sensors may not exist, allowing for more efficient responses. In the event of a crash, getting an emergency responder to the scene just a few minutes earlier could mean the difference between life or death for a victim.  UDOT is striving for full situational awareness along our highways to improve safety.

QUICK FACTS

“UDOT’S 2700-MILE FIBER OPTIC NETWORK SPANS THE ENTIRE STATE, CONNECTING URBAN AND RURAL AREAS AND PROVIDING BORDER-TO-BORDER COVERAGE.”

WHERE THE TECHNOLOGY IS DEPLOYED

UDOT’s fiber optic network includes 2,700 miles of fiber in both urban and rural areas. The first deployment of Distributed Acoustic Sensing will be in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons, near Salt Lake City. Because the roads in these canyons are mountainous and curved, it is challenging to efficiently detect and respond to incidents. The fiber that was recently placed alongside the roadways will be employed in this project.