deltaport vehicular access control system

Project Title»
DELTAPORT VEHICULAR
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM
Applicant»
PBX Engineering
Applicant’s Address»
PBX Engineering
Suite 300 – 131 Water Street,
Vancouver, BC, V6B 4M3
t 604 408 7222
f 604 408 7224
e ian.steele@pbxeng.com
contact: Ian Steele P. Eng.
ACEC Canada Awards 2017
Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
1. CHALLENGE: Throughput
The Deltaport container terminal is the largest container terminal in Western Canada and it is continually
expanding with increasing throughput needs each year. On an average day, approximately 2500 commercial
vehicles are processed at Deltaport and thus even slight delays in processing and surges in traffic volume can
increase truck turn times dramatically. Additionally, strict security requirements, regulated by Transport
Canada, require all vehicles to be screened prior to entry to the terminal. In addition, operational mandates of
the terminal require commercial vehicle arrivals to be confirmed against the terminal reservation system. The
screening process was performed manually, introducing sub-optimal throughput, and no mechanism existed to
automatically manage congestion or to turn unauthorized drivers away from the main gates prior to arrival,
causing additional processing delays.
Figure 1: Deltaport Container Terminal
With the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s (VFPA) operation center located at Canada Place in Vancouver,
limited supervision was available from Port Operations. Observational surveillance of the Deltaport causeway
in Delta, BC was limited to two low-resolution cameras which produced grainy images due to the limited
network connectivity at site.
2. SOLUTION: Vehicular Access Control System
A solution was needed that could improve efficiency, while maintaining security. The Deltaport Vehicular
Access Control System (VACS) was implemented to address these challenges. The Deltaport VACS is a
sophisticated security and access control system overlaid on an active transportation corridor, with significant
Intelligent Transportation System components. It serves as a means to effectively monitor, manage, and
control all vehicular traffic entering and exiting the 4km long Deltaport causeway.
PBX was responsible for the complete system design, from the planning and preliminary design phase, through
the construction and commissioning of the systems. To support construction, a highly detailed design package
consisting of more than 400 site plans, installation details, system block diagrams, communication risers, and
wiring diagrams was developed along with a 110 page technical specification and engineering cost estimate.
Due to the high traffic volumes, the construction staging was very complex and necessitated close coordination
with stakeholder groups. This project was part of a multi-jurisdictional environment and it was necessary to
coordinate closely with regional transportation agencies.
During the construction phase, the project team worked closely with the contractor to commission the systems
and was ultimately responsible for the integration of the various systems into Port Metro Vancouver’s
command and control software. The figure below depicts an aerial view of the Deltaport and Westshore
terminals along with the 4km (2.5 mile) Roberts Bank Way, the Deltaport causeway
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
Figure 2: Monitoring and Control of All Vehicular Traffic through the 4km Roberts Bank Way in Delta
Vehicles attempting to access Deltaport are directed by dynamic messaging into appropriate lanes, designated
by vehicle type for efficient processing. Lane assignments can be controlled remotely to optimize performance
based on real-time traffic volumes. Security credentials are presented and automatically analyzed.
Commercial vehicles enter reservation appointment codes to verify appropriate arrival times. Automated
gates open to permit authorized vehicles access, while unauthorized vehicles are directed to exit the facility.
The VACS utilizes an extensive array of technology. Important technical aspects of the project include static
and dynamic signage, CCTV surveillance, automated security credentialing, vehicular access control,
automation of commercial vehicle staging, integration with the container terminal reservation system, and full
command-control system integration. The technology is supported by extensive infrastructure, including
power and communication duct banks, equipment islands, traffic signal poles, and roadway lighting. To
support the remote operation of the system, a fibre optic network was installed between Deltaport and
Canada Place, requiring multi-jurisdictional coordination.
Driver Experience
Significant design effort was put towards simplifying the interactions various users would have with the system.
To be a success, the system would need to be efficient and intuitive for all users. Considerations were made
for all vehicle types using the Deltaport causeway, including lost travelers trying to access BC Ferries. If not
addressed promptly, these wayward vehicles could cause significant delays to the commercial operations.
As a commercial vehicle approaches the VACS system, they are directed to an inbound processing lane through
the use of dynamic message signs.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
Figure 3: Deltaport VACS Primary Gates
Prior to the lift gate, the driver interfaces with a screen on the card reader cabinet. The sun-light readable
screen provides direction to the driver to enter their terminal reservation code on the keypad, and then swipe
their Port Pass on the card reader. Once the reservation and pass are verified the gate opens and the signal
turns green. In the event their credentials are not verified, the driver communicates with a Port Operations
Coordinator through a high-fidelity intercom. The conversation is supported by an interview camera in the
cabinet which allows the Port Operator to verify pass details and driver’s licenses. Following the conversation,
the vehicle will be granted access, or requested to exit the facility by means of the denied lane route.
Figure 4: Deltaport VACS Lane 1 and 2
On average, a commercial vehicle is processed through the system in 25 seconds; a significant decrease from
the manual process.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
Behind the Scenes
In order to make the driver experience intuitive, a sophisticated array of devices and complex software logic
are operating behind the scenes. A unique combination of technologies were used to design the overall
system; borrowing technology from the Security, Transportation, Communication, and Industrial Control
markets.
System Controls
The ‘brains’ behind the system largely resides within the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), which collects
inputs from all the field devices and controls outputs. The PLC does everything from classifying vehicles based
on length, to detecting vehicle queues, to changing traffic signals and opening gates. The Deltaport VACS
system has over 700 input and output points allowing it to obtain data and control devices in six operational
lanes and two queue management points.
Figure 4: Programmable Logic Controllers
The software running in the PLC is a complex array of state machines which was developed by PBX to
determine the processing requirements for each type of vehicle. Extensive workshops were held with VFPA’s
Operations and Security Departments to formulate the system response to each unique situation. These
workshops needed to find a balance between the two department mandates, as Security’s preference is to
verify all vehicle credentials, while Operation’s preference is to allow the unimpeded movement of commercial
vehicles. The workshops, and ultimately the system, found a balance between Operations and Security to
manage this important freight corridor.
In addition to normal operating procedures, the system must also respond effectively to infrequent scenarios.
In the event of an emergency on the terminal, the security procedures can be eliminated to freely allow
emergency vehicles to enter and for evacuating vehicles to exit. Conversely, if Transport Canada increases the
Maritime Security level to MARSEC II, the system can react by requiring all entering and exiting vehicles to be
interviewed by Port staff regardless of their credential results.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
Driver Interface
The driver interface is performed through the card reader cabinet located between the yellow bollard and the
operator booth. In order to optimize the height of the equipment, PBX took measurements of all trucks
entering the terminal in an afternoon. Ergonomics were considered including height of equipment from grade
based on truck window height and available reach range of drivers. The result was a dual-height interface that
was optimized for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles.
Figure 5: Two different card reader heights to accommodate various vehicles and users
To correctly credential each vehicle, the VACS system interfaces with VFPA’s Port Pass database, as well as
exchanges information with the terminal reservation system. By keeping this business logic within pre-existing
databases, the Port can effectively manage the information that the VACS relies on to make decisions.
System Automation
In order to further optimize throughput, the system has multiple points of automation beyond the individual
vehicle processing. During the terminal’s shift change the system’s priority moves away from commercial
vehicles and over to passenger vehicles. The shift change windows are entered into the system in advance and
the system automatically dedicates an inbound lane to passenger vehicles. This dedicated lane has an average
of eight seconds processing time during the shift change window, efficiently processing these vehicles.
Delays within the terminal can cause vehicles to back up at the terminal’s main gates. Through the use of
vehicle detection sensors, the system can determine the length of the queue at the main gate and provide a
warning to VFPA’s Ops Center when a backup is occurring. If the queue reaches a maximum capacity the
system automatically restricts all commercial vehicles to a single VACS lane and stops processing trucks. This
allows a lane to be dedicated to passenger vehicles and ensures that the commercial vehicle congestion does
not impede access to the terminal for non-commercial vehicles. Once the queue subsides the system
automatically starts processing trucks again.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
Figure 6: ATMS Map of the Deltaport Entry, Exit, and Secondary Gates
Field Devices
To achieve the objectives of the project, an array of field devices were required, including; 70 CCTV cameras, 48
card access and intercom stations, 4 Dynamic Message Signs, 12 vehicle gates, as well as 3 operator control
booths, 6 control kiosk, and 19 control cabinets. The field devices are supported by extensive infrastructure.
A new BC Hydro service was also required to support the devices. As local power was limited, lengthy
coordination was required with BC Hydro to develop an extension of their high voltage line. This line was
limited to single phase power, which brought further design complications due to the distributed nature of the
system. The final design also included full power backup accomplished through a 100kW generator and
multiple uninterruptable power sources.
Network
In order to allow remote operation of the system from Canada Place, a high-bandwidth network connection
was required. Included in the project was a fibre-optic cable installation between Deltaport (Delta) and Canada
Place (Vancouver). The installation of this cable required multi-jurisdictional coordination, both during the
design and construction phases.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
The fibre-optic extension of VFPA’s network to Deltaport allowed for instantaneous system response and realtime high resolution video for situational awareness. The extension also positions VFPA for future projects in
the area, including the planned Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project.
Figure 7: Canada Place - Operator Interface
Construction Staging
As the system was being developed on an active freight corridor, the entire system was constructed without
disrupting terminal operations. Design aspects allowed for the minimizing of lane closures, and completion of
intrusive works in evening hours.
The deployment of the system included an extensive outreach campaign for terminal staff and commercial
drivers, informing them of the expectations of the system. In addition, VFPA, with support from PBX, were on
site for two weeks following the role-out of the system to educate users on their first interaction with the
system.
PBX’s Role
PBX was responsible for the complete electrical and systems design, as well as construction oversight. In
addition, PBX completed all software development and programming for the PLCs and command and control
software. All system commissioning and training was performed by PBX.
To detail this complex project, a design package of over 500 drawings and a 100 page specification was
developed. Internal resources were utilized across all our company’s industry sectors to complete this unique
design.
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Deltaport Vehicular Access Control System – Transportation
3. RESULTS: Balance of Security & Operations
The Deltaport VACS effectively supports strict security requirements, while optimizing operational throughput.
To the user, the system is intuitive and effective. Behind the scenes, the system consists of a unique array of
devices selected from the Security, Transportation, Communication, and Industrial Control markets. A complex
software program unifies all the equipment to make a cohesive system. The Vehicular Access Control System
has proven to yield the following improvements




Improved efficiency of this important commercial goods roadway, benefiting thousands of motorists
each day
Reduction in manual processing and on-site resources
Enhanced traffic management and incident response capabilities
Expanded Port operations centre capabilities
Other Benefits of the System
The automated and fully integrated Deltaport VACS significantly lowers truck turn times and thereby increase
throughput at the Port. Ease of processing lowers wait times and increases scheduling accuracy for commercial
operators of both vehicles and container ships moored at the terminal.
Through automated reservation confirmation, the terminal is notified in advance of a container arrival, as well
as ensuring that trucks are arriving within their designated timeframe. This increased scrutiny prior to arrival at
the terminal gates allows for increased efficiency.
Commercial vehicles waiting for processing were often backed-up for several miles obstructing local
thoroughfares. Now, with the efficient processing of commercial vehicles on the Deltaport Causeway, a
significantly positive impact is noted on the surrounding transportation corridors, having reduced traffic for
local commuters.
Prior to the implementation of the VACS, the screening process for each commercial vehicle was performed
manually, introducing sub-optimal throughput. Congestion on the Deltaport Causeway was common, resulting
in numerous idling vehicles waiting to be processed. The implementation of the Deltaport VACS system has
increased this operational throughput to reduce overall congestion on the roadway, thereby decreasing vehicle
emissions and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) release into the atmosphere substantially.
The Deltaport VACS system also includes a traffic management system both upstream and downstream from
the gates. This management system further reduces the effects of idling vehicles by releasing vehicles in
waves, allowing drivers to move forward and turn their engines off until the next wave. Delays within the
terminal can also cause vehicles to back up at the terminal’s main gates. If the queue reaches a maximum
capacity the system automatically restricts all commercial vehicles to a single VACS lane and stops processing
trucks. This allows a lane to be dedicated to passenger vehicles and ensures that the commercial vehicle
congestion does not impede access to the terminal for non-commercial vehicles. Once the queue subsides the
system automatically starts processing trucks again. This results in enhanced traffic management and incident
response capabilities, while also reducing the effects of idling vehicles.
Sustainability initiatives were taken into consideration by maximizing the utilization of existing infrastructure,
reducing costs and harmful disruptions in the area caused by construction activities. Instead of an additional
command centre at Deltaport the system is connected to the Port’s remote Command Centre, at Canada Place,
via a high speed fibre network.
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DELTAPORT VACS OPERATIONAL FLOW
DENIED VEHICLE
LANE
L18C
SH03
SH05
L08A
L08B
L08C
L08D
LANE 4 – INBOUND TO
WESTHORE VIA
OVERPASS
S
W
P
D
L07B
L07A
L06D
L06C
LANE 3 – OUTBOUND
L10A
L10B
L10C
L10D
L11A
L11B
LANE 5 – INBOUND TO
WESTSHORE VIA
OVERPASS
L14B
L14A
L13D
L13B
L13C
L13A
DELTAPORT VACS GATES
L12B
S
W
P
D
L18A
L18B
S
W
P
D
Z7-LG04
WESTSHORE TERMINAL
ENTRANCE
(VIA OVERPASS)
L12A
L06B
L06A
L05B
L05A
L09A
L18D
L09B
DENIED VEHICLE
LANE
U-TURN ROUTE
SH04
REJECTED/U-TURN
LANE
DMS
L01A
L03A
S
W
P
D
L17C
L17D
REJECTED/U-TURN
LANE 1 – INBOUND TO
DELTAPORT
DMS
L01B
L03B
SH01
L01C
L03C
SH02
L01D
L03D
DMS
L02A
L04A
DMS
L02B
L04B
L15A
LANE 2 – INBOUND
S
W
P
D
L15B
L15C
L16C
L16B
P
D
L16A
L17A
L17B
S
W
P
D
DELTAPORT TERMINAL
ENTRANCE
LANE 1 – INBOUND
N
L15D
N
LEGEND
CRC - Driver Interface Cabinet
OCB - Operator Control Booth
LG - Vehicle Lift Gate
SWPD - Stop/Wait/Proceed/Denied Sign
Lx - Vehicle Detector
SH - Lane Control Signal Head
DMS - Dynamic Message Sign
LANE 6 – OUTBOUND
LANE 3 – OUTBOUND
WESTSHORE VACS GATES
DELTAPORT VACS FLOW CHART
SYSTEM STATE MACHINE DIAGRAM
Deltaport VACS Software
An extensive amount of field devices
are utilized to feed in the information
required to autonomously make
decisions in the software, then
actuate devices to control the
movement of vehicles. The
‘Operational Flow’ diagram depicts
the high level layout of the processing
lanes, as well as key field devices
required for the system operation.
Significant design effort was put
towards simplifying the driver
experience. At the surface, the
driver’s interactions can be simplified
as shown in the ‘Flow Chart’ on the
left. Behind the scenes,
sophisticated software is running the
automation of the system. The
software responds differently to each
driver based on the vehicle
classification, the processing mode of
the lane, and the operating security
level of the terminal. The ‘State
Machine Diagram’ on the right is one
of seven state machines which
determines the processing of the
system. State information and
transition requirements have been
removed for confidentiality.
1
170404 SUBMITTED FOR ACEC CANADA AWARD
CONTENT REMOVED
FOR CONFIDENTIALITY
EM
RG
PBX
DELTAPORT VACS
ACEC-CANADA AWARD
OF EXCELLENCE
DELTAPORT VACS
NTS
14050
1
DELTAPORT VACS
VEHICULAR ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN
FOR COMMERCIAL FREIGHT CORRIDOR.
CHALLENGE: Throughput
Each day, thousands of commercial and passenger vehicles travel on the Deltaport causeway to reach the Deltaport
container terminal. Strict security and operational policies require vehicles to be individually verified to gain
access - a process undertaken manually, introducing sub-optimal throughput. Additionally, no mechanism existed to
automatically manage congestion or to turn unauthorized drivers away from the main gates prior to arrival, causing additional
processing delays.
SOLUTION: VACS
A solution was needed that could improve efficiency, while maintaining security. The Deltaport Vehicular Access
Control System (VACS) was implemented to address these challenges. The Deltaport VACS is a sophisticated
security and access control system overlaid on an active transportation corridor, with significant Intelligent
Transportation System components. It serves as a means to effectively monitor, manage, and control all vehicular
traffic entering and exiting the 4km long Deltaport causeway.
Vehicles attempting to access Deltaport are directed by dynamic messaging into appropriate lanes, designated by
vehicle type for efficient processing. Lane assignments can be controlled remotely to optimize performance based on
real-time traffic volumes. Security credentials are presented and automatically analyzed. Commercial vehicles enter
reservation appointment codes to verify appropriate arrival times. Automated gates open to permit authorized vehicles
access, while unauthorized vehicles are directed to exit the facility.
The VACS utilizes an extensive array of infrastructure and technology. Important technical aspects of the project
include traffic signals, static and dynamic signage, CCTV surveillance, automated security credentialing, vehicular
access control, automation of commercial vehicle staging, integration with the container terminal reservation system,
and full command-control system integration. To support the remote operation of the system, a fibre optic network
was installed between Deltaport and Canada Place, requiring multi-jurisdictional coordination.
PBX was responsible for the complete electrical and systems design, programming, construction oversight,
and testing of the VACS. Key project challenges included a complex, multi-disciplinary design and a demanding
construction staging environment – the entire system was constructed without disrupting terminal operations.
Unique innovations included the adaptation, application, and integration of sensors and systems from different
industries and complex integration that unifies operations in a cohesive command-control environment.
RESULTS: Balance of Security & Operations
The Deltaport VACS effectively supports strict security requirements, while optimizing operational throughput.
Benefits of the system include:
• Improved efficiency of this important commercial goods roadway, benefiting thousands of motorists each day
• Reduction in manual processing and on-site resources
• Enhanced traffic management and incident response capabilities
• Expanded Port operations centre capabilities
Lead Electrical / System / Software Consultant: PBX Engineering Ltd.
Civil Consultant: Parsons
Project Owner & Client: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Electrical Contractor: Houle Electric
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