System Integration = Seamless Mobility

Fehr & Peers helped the cities of Oakland and Alameda integrate transportation on the Park Street corridors on two levels: First, a modal integration of cars, bikes, pedestrians, buses, trains and boats. Second, an integration of completely separate control systems.

We designed a fiber optic system and a Local Area Network (LAN) to provide communication between a railroad controller, drawbridge control system, three traffic signals and multiple extinguishable message signs. The network crosses the Park Street Bridge, which spans the Oakland Estuary and links Alameda and Oakland. The bridge itself is 125 years old, and carries 40,000 travelers a day.

Our design provided solutions to four key project goals:


Automate the railroad preemption.

Historically, the railroad preemption system relied on a phone call between train engineer and bridge operator. This system was neither reliable nor quick. The new system relayed the train crossing to the railroad controller, the traffic signal controller, and the bridge operator – automatically and simultaneously.


Build in redundancy.

The bridge has two identical control towers, one on each side of the canal, but only one tower had controls for the signal preemption warning system – we designed a second, redundant system.


Activate a pre-signal for the train AND the bridge.

Pre-signals are meant to keep traffic off the railroad tracks in advance of a train crossing. We designed the pre-signal to activate in the event of a rail OR bridge crossing.


Add dynamic signage for driver information.

Sight limitations prevent would-be bridge crossers from seeing the downstream railroad crossing; these drivers become frustrated at not knowing why they are stopped. Our design included electronic informational and regulatory signs that would be activated to inform drivers of each specific situation (bridge or rail crossing).

The system involved multiple brands of traffic signal controllers, multiple means of data communication (copper, multimode and singlemode fiber), five stakeholders, and required communication with analog electronics in a bridge over a century old. In other words, systems integration was key. Fehr & Peers led the Concept of Operations and design, and is currently assisting the City of Oakland with implementation; the project is set to be delivered by the end of 2018.

For more information about our approach for this project, and how we could help you implement ITS…