How Securing Atlanta for the Big Game Became an Access Management Initiative

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Traffic Cabinet locks from ASSA ABLOY enable the City of Atlanta to remotely monitor and manage who can access traffic cabinets.

In the fall of 2018, Renew Atlanta was updating traffic cabinets at 10 intersections along the North Avenue Smart Corridor as part of an access control test pilot. This pilot would quickly evolve into a more comprehensive solution that dramatically increased the security of the cabinets while also giving the city much more control over both its systems and personnel.

Toward the end of the pilot in November 2018, 11 weeks before the biggest football game of the year, the Department of Homeland Security tasked the City of Atlanta with heightening control of the city by securing traffic cabinets within a 1-mile radius of Mercedes Benz Stadium. The goal was to control access and traffic flow for fans and players, as well as the President of the United States who was also in attendance. With less than three months to the event, the city along with ASSA ABLOY, Genetec, and 360 Network Solutions designed and implemented an integrated, long-term security and access management solution for the City of Atlanta and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

The Game Plan
assa abloy traffic cabinet lockLess than three months before the Big Game, the Department of Homeland Security asked the City of Atlanta to seal and secure full corridors within a 1-mile radius of the Mercedes Benz Stadium. This included shutting down a major six-lane road six days prior to the game for a full week of events. Like almost all traffic cabinets in the country, each lock was accessible using a standard  #2 key. This created a significant security vulnerability that often leads to sealing or welding cabinets shut to ensure cabinets remain locked down for the duration needed. Luckily, the recently completed pilot project Renew Atlanta gave city officials a leg up on how to properly secure the downtown streets and still maintain controlled access to the cabinets leading up to and after the Big Game..

The City received approval from GDOT to move forward with the project in late December, with the hardware and software ordered shortly after. With just four weeks until the Big Game, the network had to be built, hardware needed to be installed, the software had to be integrated, and city officials and contractors needed to be trained on how to use the new system correctly for a major event.


The City: Atlanta & Arcadis
The City of Atlanta entered a purchase order for the hardware and software for 88 cabinets and 176 locks within a 1-mile radius of the stadium. Arcadis managed the project working with all of the partners for installation and conducted testing to ensure functionality that covered Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the entire event area of Downtown Atlanta.

The Hardware: ASSA ABLOY
traffic cabinet lockASSA ABLOY recommended and supplied Medeco XT Traffic Cabinet Locks and Intelligent Keys and HES Integrated Access Control Swing-Handle Cabinet Locks, that would safely secure cabinets. This combination of solutions provides both online access control that enables real-time monitoring and remote lock or unlock, as well as a fast, easy and affordable way to upgrade traffic cabinets without the need for wiring and other expensive infrastructure when real- time monitoring and control are not required.

The Software: Genetec
Genetec incorporated its Security Center Synergis™ IP access control system that would unify with video surveillance and any additional hardware the City used. With its open platform, Genetec incorporated the Axis A1601 Controller for each cabinet that would have online access control. The Axis A1601 Controller was the only network-based intelligent access control panel that met GDOT’s NEMATS-2 requirements.

The Integration: 360 Network Solutions
360 Network Solutions designed a full network with their network engineering team and product solutions specialist, which enabled quick access and ease of implementation for the CyberSecureITS solution. TheCyberSecureITS Solution provided seamless connectivity to the ASSA ABLOY hardware and Genetec software platform which allowed reliability for remote access and consistent uptime.

Results & Business Impact
On Game Day, the President arrived 45 minutes before kick-off, which meant shutting down every road and interstate around the area, including the traffic cabinets. More than 500,000 people – including 150,000 out-of-state visitors – flocked to downtown Atlanta for the 10-day event including concerts, activities and the Big Game. With the new access control system in place, the City of Atlanta was able to secure the city faster and better than they ever had the ability to before. In fact, the speed, reliability and accountability of the new system was a “first of its kind” for any other city in the U.S.

The Aftermath
The City of Atlanta’s first priority was to secure the critical infrastructure around the Mercedes Benz Stadium in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s protocols. However, the ability to remotely monitor and manage who can access traffic cabinets from the hundreds of city and state personnel, contractors and consultants quickly became one of the most useful aspects of the multi-layered solution.

traffic cabinet lockTraffic and transportation management is historically slow to adopt and implement innovation – with 90 percent of cities across the U.S. continuing to use antiquated equipment and #2 keys, which are easily lost and stolen. However, Georgia has always been progressive in this area, committing resources to update their infrastructure through projects like Renew Atlanta.

With this upgraded technology, the city knows exactly what is happening at each and every one of their traffic cabinets in real time. The smart lock and remote access system minimizes the number of keys in the field. For those who need access quickly and do not have an intelligent key, they can be granted remote access from a centralized management dashboard. This same system gives city and transportation officials an audit trail for every individual who has accessed the cabinet. If a cabinet is left open or vandalized, an alert is generated, and video surveillance of the cabinet can be reviewed.

Looking for guidance on the best way to secure traffic infrastructure? Let us know how we can help.