In response to the challenge of adding electronic functions and devices to transit vehicles, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), acting as a lead agency in ITS America, created the Advanced Public Transportation System Vehicle Area Network (VAN) Cabling Standard Subcommittee. They recommended solutions which would provide advantages to transit authorities through VAN integration.
VAN Integration Objectives
- Minimize electronic hardware costs
- Provide interchangeability of on-board electronic equipment
- Create standards which minimize the negative impact of proprietary systems
- Provide flexibility for expansion as technology advances while minimizing hardware and software upgrade costs
The VAN Subcommittee was successful in meeting these objectives. Their efforts have resulted in the SAE J2496 Transit Area Network Cabling Standard. This is comprised of a series of access boxes and cables, which are simple, effective and modular.
The Network Cabling Standard provides the power required by on-board devices as well as access to a pathway and communication protocol for the exchange of information available to all devices on the network. In addition, it supports on-board use of many devices allowing these devices to function independently or together, creating unlimited possibilities in managing transit vehicle fleets.
The Network Cabling Standard has been incorporated by many transit authorities through upgrades and new vehicle specifications and is currently in use. As we progress further into the 21st century, ITS America’s efforts to better manage transit resources becomes ever more clear. The SAE Transit Area Network Cabling Standard is an important part of that effort.
The Network provides access to an “Electronic Highway” on which information travels and becomes available to all devices on the network. The network also makes available, at access points, the power needed by onboard devices. The network is cost effective, easy to install and compact.
The Vehicle Area Network Cabling Standard also specifies the “Electronic Language” or communication protocol that is to be used. This is necessary so that all devices on the Network are able to communicate with one another. The communication protocol that has been chosen is outlined in SAE J1708 “Serial Data Communications between Microcomputer Systems in Heavy Duty Vehicle Applications.” This specification was selected because of the successful use over time by parts of the transit industry’s vehicle logic unit which coordinates and records device functions. A RF radio unit can be incorporated to send real time data to a central location. The network cabling supports on-board use of devices and functions such as:
- Vehicle Control Head
- Vehicle Signage
- Door Status Units
- Unit Inventory
- Fare Collection
- Route Adherence Unit
- Vehicle Turntable
- Smart Card Unit
- ITS Technologies
- Vehicle Logic Unit
- Vehicle Location Units
- Automatic Annunciators
- Trip/Event Recorders
- Passenger Counters
- Mobile Data Terminals
- Vehicle Identification
- Silent Alarms
- Vehicle Status Point Monitors
The Network allows these devices and functions to operate independently or together. This creates unlimited possibilities in managing transit vehicles. If you are interested in learning more about our J2496 products, please contact your local sales agent.
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Mark Harper, VP of Operations
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