Commerce · Efficiency · hub and spoke transport · intercity transit · Last Mile · Logistics · mobility network · optic fiber · Performance

Telecom and Energy Networks First and Last Miles

The last mile or last kilometer is a term widely used in the telecommunication, energy and transportation industries to deliver services to retail customers; specifically, it refers to the portion of the network chain that physically reaches the end-user’s premises. The word mile is a metaphor because the last mile of a network to the user is conversely the first mile from the user’s premises to the outside world when the user is sending data or initiating a transport service.

The Speed Bottleneck in networks occurs in the last/first mile; bandwidth effectively limits the data that can be delivered to the customer because networks have relatively few high capacity trunk channels branching out to feed many final mile clients. The final mile links, being the most numerous and thus most expensive part of the system, as well as having to interface with a wide variety of user equipment, are the most difficult to upgrade to new technology. Phone trunk lines that carry calls between switching centers are made of optical-fiber but the last mile is a technology which has remained unchanged for over a century since the original laying of copper phone cables.

The term last mile has expanded outside the communications industries to include other distribution networks that deliver goods to customers, such as the pipes that deliver water and natural gas and the final legs of mail and package deliveries. The problem of sending any given amount of information across a channel can therefore be viewed in terms of sending Information-Carrying Energy ICE. For this reason, the concept of a pipe or conduit is relevant for examining existing systems.

conduits that carry small amounts of a resource a short distance to physically separated endpoints

Cost and Efficiency the high-capacity conduits in these systems tend to also have in common the ability to efficiently transfer a resource over a long distance. Only a small fraction of the resource being transferred is wasted or misdirected. The same cannot be said of lower-capacity conduits; this has to do with efficiency of scale. Conduits that are located closer to the end-user, do not have as many users supporting them; resources supporting these smaller conduits come from the local area. Resources for these conduits can be optimized to achieve the best solutions, however, lower operating efficiencies and greater installation expenses can cause these smaller conduits to be the most expensive and difficult part of a distribution system.

economies of scale increases of a conduit’s capacity are less expensive as the capacity increases

The economics of information transfer an effective last-mile conduit must:

Deliver signal power, must have adequate signal power capacity;

Experience low occurrence of conversion to unusable energy forms;

Support wide transmission bandwidth;

Deliver high signal-to-noise ratio, low unwanted-signal power;

Provide nomadic connectivity.

In addition, a good solution to the last-mile problem must provide each user high availability, reliability, low latency and high per-user capacity. A conduit which is shared among multiple end-users should provide a correspondingly higher capacity in order to properly support each individual user for information transfer in each direction.

Optical fiber offers high information capacity and is the medium of choice for scalability given the increasing bandwidth requirements of modern applications. Unlike copper-based and wireless last-mile mediums, it has built-in future capacity through upgrades of end-point optics and electronics without having to change the existing fiber infrastructure. 

optical fiber is the future of local and regional commerce

Conservation · Efficiency · Geography · Performance · Resilience · Sustainable Communities · water quality · waterways

Assessing the Impact of a Development Project

points of reference for assessing the impact of a proposed development project

Water a buffer of native vegetation undisturbed within 100 feet of streams, wetlands or other aquatic resources. Rooftops, streets, parking lots and other impervious surfaces drain to bio-retention, infiltration or other highly effective storm water system. Project sewage is sent to a treatment plant and the pipes carrying the sewage do not overflow. The treatment plant has met pollution discharge limits for the last 3 years; If the project will be served by onsite sewage disposal, site soils should be rated for Septic Tank Absorption Fields in accordance with USDA Web Soil Survey.

coastal resiliencyTraffic Safety and Congestion getting through the nearest signalized intersections in one green cycle during rush hour conditions. Standing at each proposed new intersection location, verify visibility of approaching vehicles at the minimum, safe sight-distance formula: posted speed limit + 10 mph x 11 feet/mph. Example: 30 mph + 10 = 40 x 11 = 440 feet sight – distance. Trips generated by the project on neighborhood streets are below 2,000 vehicles per day.

Safe Streets and School Overcrowding for residential areas, can the additional students resulting from the project be accommodated without exceeding the capacity of affected schools. Sidewalks are adequate to allow students to safely walk or bike to school along the streets receiving traffic from the project.

Trees and Forests if the project must comply with tree canopy or forest conservation laws, are there requirements met onsite.

clustered homes maximize forest preservation

Broadway Main StreetBuffering and Screening of commercial and industrial projects from the view of adjacent residential homes. If the project obstructs natural views from existing homes, then the proposed landscaping must be sufficient to preserve views.

Property Values commercial or industrial structures be at least 300 feet from residential homes. If the project is commercial-industrial, can trucks reach the site without travelling on residential streets.

Air Quality if the project is a gas station, it must be at least 500 feet from homes, hospitals, schools, senior centers and day care facilities. The homes must be 500 feet from a highway with traffic volumes of 50,000 or more vehicles per day.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services the project must be within a four to eight-minute response time for fire and emergency medical services. In suburban-urban areas, water pressure must be sufficient to meet fire suppression needs.

Richmond Historic Canal WalkRecreation Areas for residential projects, a minimum of 10 acres of park or other recreation areas for every 1,000 residents is recommended. For suburban-urban residential projects, there should be a neighborhood park within a ¼ mile walking distance of the site.

Water Supply for projects served by wells, verify the likelihood that area wells fail or become contaminated. If the site is served by piped-public water, the project must not exceed the safe or sustainable yield.

Flooding all proposed structures must be outside the 100-year flood plain, with runoff managed to prevent an increase in floodwater elevations downstream of the site.

Historical-Archaeological Resources if a designated historic-archaeological resource is present on or near the site, the local historic society must ascertain that it is adequately protected. For buildings 50 years or older slated for demolition, the local historic society should be consulted about the need for protection.

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Traveling with Budget and Time Constraints

Travelers tend to visit three to four locations in a compressed period of time, typically 7 to 10 days, especially as a family or group, with the former likely to include small children and the elderly and the latter comprising multiple interests ranging from cultural to culinary, wellness and the environment. Similarly, business travelers need an efficient plan to meet their trip objectives.

Church Hill RichmondThe Logistics of Travel

Traveling in one direction and not having to retrace your steps for example to board you return flight.

Anchoring your stays in strategic locations along the trip route, conveniently located to local points of interest, minimizing the number of accommodation changes, hence fewer times packing and unpacking as well as lower accommodations and transport costs.

Taking in sites, meals and other planned events in a hub and spoke fashion, saving time and money, but also an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the places and the people you are visiting.

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