Piloting new technology in San Jose’s TIZ

Piloting new technology in San Jose’s TIZ

With the ever-changing innovations in technology, it takes a lot of perseverance to bring your vision to fruition. That’s exactly what the team at RSM has, as they’ve recently landed their first pilot project with the City of San Jose. RSM’s demonstration project at Tasman Drive and Zanker Road is located in the Transportation Innovation Zone (the “TIZ”) in North San Jose, and will be used to collect data for maximizing intersection efficiency, tracking pedestrian movements, and simulating traffic optimization. This 18-month demonstration will allow RSM to test its intersection management software using real-time traffic data, and provide the City of San Jose with the most granular information on vehicle movements available today. RSM’s flagship software, Simon, was designed to negotiate signal priority in real-time according to live traffic scenarios. Using computational intelligence, this technology is fast and accurate and improves upon current traffic signal phase and timing that relies on induction loops in the roadway.

Quick Background:
RSM is a software company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with offices in San Francisco and Helsinki. The company has developed Simon in collaboration with Aalto University in Finland. As a platform, Simon collects traffic data and was designed to facilitate the next generation of adaptive signal management.

Tasman & Zanker – How it works:
RSM teamed up with Bear Electrical Solutions to install 4 radars on the traffic signal poles at Tasman & Zanker, as well as 2 infrared pedestrian sensors on the northern side of the intersection. The radars (Smartmicro™) collect data at 50x / second and send information to the cloud for processing and analytics. The pedestrian sensors look down at the crosswalk and detect if pedestrians are present using infrared heat cameras (Flir).

From this data, RSM will be able to:

  • Provide the City with helpful data (wasted green times, traffic flow analytics, and other intersection efficiency metrics)
  • Offer preliminary information on the movement of pedestrians and volume of pedestrians in the crosswalk (Beta)
  • Help the City achieve its “Vision Zero” objectives – a goal of achieving zero traffic related fatalities
  • Demonstrate priority for public transportation and logistics vehicles
  • Assist with developing new traffic management and transportation plans
  • Help the public and private sector conceptualizing new ways of traffic management


Q&A with Kathryn Mullins, Director of Strategic Partnerships at RSM:

ProspectSV: What stage are you at right now?
Kathryn: We’re currently deploying “data-only” or analytics-based installations. Within the next 6 months, we will be simulating what the intersection would look like if Simon were managing traffic. We can also model potential opportunities to improve efficiency and traffic flow, and provide these metrics to the City.

ProspectSV: How is RSM’s technology going to work best with the City?
Kathryn: RSM approaches cities with a focus on improving infrastructure. We see cities as critical partners in the development of intersections that are truly ‘intelligent’ and facilitating the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles. We hope to have an ongoing partnership with the City of San Jose, and demonstrate many aspects of Simon’s capacity here in the Bay Area.

ProspectSV: What’s the best element of the technology?
Kathryn: As a traffic management and analytics platform, Simon is incredibly robust. It has the capacity to negotiate priority for public transportation, cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicle platoons, and can do so for an entire corridor or transportation zone. The system sees each of these modes as ‘actors’ on the road, and priority is determined using fuzzy logic.

ProspectSV: How did the sensors get installed at the intersection?
Kathryn: The six sensors (4 radars and 2 pedestrian sensors) are attached to the 4 traffic signal poles at each corner of the intersection. Power and communications equipment sit inside a NEMA enclosure also attached to the pole. There’s an LTE router that sends traffic data to the cloud for further processing. Our partner, Bear Electrical Solutions, did a great job getting our equipment installed and powered up.

ProspectSV: Great! So now that you’ve started the pilot, what’s the next step?
Kathryn: We’re looking to install sensors at additional intersections in the TIZ, and to provide valuable data for the Innovation Zone to partners in the public and private sector. The San Jose pilot project is a backbone for developing analytics and generating data on multiple modes. We’re excited to implement at intersections with a broad range of variables and install under various conditions.


Nice job RSM! We’re proud that you’re utilizing the TIZ as a testing area and can’t wait to hear how the program develops. Congratulate RSM by sending them a tweet @RSMmobility – thanks!

More about RSM: info@rsm.ie, www.rsm.ie
More about Bear Electrical Solutions: www.bear-electrical.com
Project design partner – Fehr & Peers: www.fehrandpeers.com

Photo: RSM CEO, Martin Mantalvanos and CTO, Kari Koskinen onsite at the intersection during installation.

Interview by Hilary Davidson.

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