The Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) is building an innovative wireless broadband network along the rivers in Pittsburgh and is seeking partners to explore new applications for transportation, safety, security and environmental monitoring, according to James R. McCarville, Executive Director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.
The project, called Wireless Waterways, consists of both the Network System Infrastructure (NSI), which will be scalable and expandable, and an Interoperability Test Bed (ITB). The project has been under construction for nearly a year by the PPC’s contractor, CONXX, Inc., from Johnstown, PA.
The PPC will begin to conduct experiments within the Test Bed in June. It is working with Carnegie Mellon University, Consol Energy’s River Division, The Gateway Clipper, Pittsburgh Voyager, Carnegie Science Center and various other companies and Water and Sewer Authorities to begin to explore how this new network could add to the transportation and economic development of the region
The PPC has been working with towing companies and the USACE for more than a year to define improvements to transportation data gathering.
The Test Bed will explore the integration of disparate sensors, communications and information management systems to develop innovative and cost effective ways to better use waterway transportation, water quality monitoring, safety and security.
Nearly 70% of the inland river system is either in rural areas or, as in Pittsburgh, down in river valleys lacking good internet access. The PPC system will be designed for what is called the “industrial” internet, and will be able to transmit large volumes of data from sensors, cameras and other devices.