The Importance of Traffic Cabinet Security

By Willie Outlaw, Electrical Design Engineer, MoboTrex

Traffic cabinet security, why is it important now more than ever?

We live in a security conscious society where we go to great lengths to protect our largest investments such as our homes and our cars.  Sadly, this vigilance has not found its way into the transportation community.  For many cities and DOT’s, traffic signal equipment is the largest investments they make.  Yet far too many rely on the #2 Corbin key as a means to secure their cabinets, which is a key that is widely available on the internet sites such as eBay.

What are some of the threats you should be aware of?

In 2012, Lonny Tebow (IMSA) wrote an article in the IMSA Journal titled, “Choose Who Has Control of the Traffic Signals”.  In that article, Lonny pointed out several actual security breaches that agencies experienced around the country.  So what are some of the threats?

1. Contractors – while most contractors are honest, there have been cases where contractors were stealing equipment out of DOT cabinets to use on other jobs.

2. Police – while I have the upmost respect for our men and woman in uniform, many believe that they can dub as traffic signal technicians as well.  Make no mistake, if given access into a traffic cabinet, many will attempt to “fix” problems.

3. Former Employees – I personally know of an agency that had brand new fiber optic cable cut by a disgruntled former employee that had kept a copy of the agency’s custom #2 key.

What are some of the attempts agencies have tried to secure their cabinets?

Some agencies are aware of the security threats and have taken some measures to combat the problem.  Some have had their #2 keys and locks modified, installed pad locks or removable door handles.  While these are all reasonable attempts at securing the cabinet, they are not fool proof.  A savvy individual could make short work of bypassing these security measures.

What are some of the consequences of not securing traffic cabinets?

Not properly securing traffic cabinets can have some serious consequences.   Equipment theft, security breach to your ITS network, compromised safety of pedestrian and motoring public, and increased legal liability for the maintaining agency are all possible consequences.

So what’s the solution?

MoboTrex has the solution, our Eagle Electronic Cabinet Lock.  It has a retrofit design and can work with customer’s existing #2 locks and keys.  The Electronic Cabinet Lock is compatible with NEMA, Caltrans, ITS, Flasher and BBS cabinets.  The Electronic Cabinet Lock can be ordered with new cabinets or ordered as a kit for existing installations.

The lock controller features network connectivity that supports POE, and includes a simple web browser tool for remote management.  The Electronic Cabinet Lock offers several options such as a keypad or RFID card reader or both. It features 4 digit access codes with a possibility for 10,000 combinations.  RFID supports 8,500 card readers in stand-alone mode (internal database) or 64,000 card readers in managed (external database) mode.  It can be ordered in a failed safe (solenoid unlocks in the event of a power failure) or in a failed secure (solenoid locks in the event of a power failure) option.

Gone are the days of making a trip onsite to let consultants or contractors into your cabinet.  With the Electronic Cabinet Lock you can unlock the door remotely from your TMC or assign temporary access codes/RFID cards to individuals outside your organization.  The internal web browser tool allows end users to impose a start/end time and date for access codes/RFID cards.

With our Electronic Cabinet Lock, not only will you have a peace of mind knowing your cabinets are secured, but you will have the ability to know who and when someone has accessed your cabinet.

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