Customer Profile: Traffic Control

CALTRANS state-of-the-art Transportation Management Center features:

  • UNIX-based computer environment; integrated with a Closed Circuit TV network
  • Highly optimized fast zoom/pan capabilities, along with layering and decluttering
  • Selected icons control CCTV and access supplemental real-time data displays

The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), through its New Technology and Research Program and in coordination with program partners, has enabled the development and implementation of a state of the art Transportation Management Center (TMC) in District 12 – Orange County headquarters. In addition to meeting stringent functional requirements, the TMC’s unique attributes include provisions for an Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS) Testbed with high-capacity communication links to university laboratories intended for real-world testing and evaluation of near-term technologies.

The ATMS Testbed system is based upon real-time, computer-assisted management, communication and control strategies with the capability to expand its application to all transportation modes, including transit systems and commercial vehicles. The overall goals of the system are to improve safety, productivity, and energy efficiency, as well as to reduce traffic congestion, improve intermodal connections, and decrease air pollution.

National Engineering Technology Corporation (NET), a multinational engineering consulting organization offering services in Intermodal Transportation Management Systems (ITMS), including communications design, software development, computer design and system integration, is a key player in delivery of the ATMS. NET developed a new computing environment consisting of UNIX-based workstations and servers, front end communications processors, a TCP/IP Ether net based network, a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) network, and SL-GMS software as a dynamic, interactive, graphic user interface.

TMC operators monitor the system’s network for non-recurring and recurring congestion. Non-recurring congestion is caused by accidents and other stoppages. Recurring congestion is typically due to normal morning and evening rush hour traffic. The ATMS software uses internal algorithms that analyze traffic information and look for changes in the traffic flow to determine if an incident has occurred.

The operators’ displays are the result of a large exercise in integration, simplified via the SL-GMSDraw Dynamic Graphic Editor. SL-GMS objects were integrated with existing traffic management applications, including windows created with the UIM/X Motif tool, as well as Thomas Brothers maps. The basemaps were imported into SL-GMS, with the dynamic objects placed on top. The integrated display is seamless to the operator, who can monitor traffic conditions and issue commands through the dynamic SL-GMS objects.

The freeway map displays the traffic data which changes in color on the map as the volume changes. When the application software determines that an incident has occurred, a flashing object is created at that location on the screen map. The operator clicks on the flashing icon and the ATMS brings up windows to guide him through a dialog in which he is asked to confirm that the incident exists. As part of one of the confirmation procedures, the system operator must visually verify the identified incident at the freeway location.

The contents of this publication reflect the views of the author who is responsible for the facts and accuracy of data presented herein and do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the State of California. These contents do not constitute a standard, specification or regulation.