STC In The News

Tucson Upgrades Control of High Water Flashing Beacons with STC 2-way Text Messaging

Remote Controlled High Water Warning Beacon - Solar Traffic ControlsTEMPE, AZ - 07/04/2013 - Rain is infrequent in the Southwest yet one realizes when it does rain, it can flood washes and streets. Many state agencies throughout the Southwest abide by this fact and limit the number of bridges built across washes in their jurisdictions.

There are many locations where arterial roads cross washes which often flood. Flooding typically takes place during short rainy periods in the winter but especially in the summer during the monsoon season. Flooded washes are barricaded to restrict traffic from entering the area.

In many cases, agencies install warning flashers in advance of the wash and activate them as needed to warn motorists of flooded conditions. Such has been the case with Tucson, Arizona.

Many years ago Tucson installed solar-powered warning beacons at some of their key unbridged wash crossings. Tucson has four crossings set up with advance flashing beacons for a total of eight beacons. The initial systems used a local radio receiver at each beacon station. When upstream conditions indicated flood level run-off was coming down the wash, city personnel were deployed with a handheld transmitter to activate the beacons from one side of the wash while they put up barricades and tape to block drivers.

One of the problems with this approach was the handheld radio would get lost between rainy seasons so a new one would have be purchased.

Eventually STC was able to outfit the city with a pager active system which allowed the city to use their cell phones as the 'remote' to activate the systems. This worked for a few years until pager service became obsolete.

SMS Text Messaging Module - Solar Traffic ControlsLast year STC demonstrated a two-way text messaging card option to the city. Again, the users' cell phone acted as the remote as long as they knew the number to call and the pass code to append to have the message accepted. The unit was able to send back a confirmation message to the user that the message had been received and acted upon.

STC took the base unit one step further and added a Low Battery alarm function and an open door alarm function as well. After some issues with RF equipment and carrier selection, the city was able to finally deploy the equipment and proclaim it operational this spring. Whenever the door is opened at the unit or if the flashing beacon hits the Low Battery threshold voltage, the unit will text out to the primary user an alarm text message.

Monthly cost is only a few dollars per unit and includes up to 30 messages per month (sent/received total). The unit includes RF cabling and a penta-band cellular antenna kit.

Celebrating our 12th year designing and manufacturing solar-powered traffic control systems. For more information on STC's products and services, please stay here on our website or send an email to or call 480.449.0222.


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