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Regional Traffic Management Center improves travel

Feb 16

Twenty-one high-definition monitors line the wall inside the newly built Smart Communities and Innovation Building (SCIB) on the University of Alabama campus.

ALDOT’s West Central Region partnered with the University of Alabama in 2017 to create a Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) to monitor and manage traffic. The RTMC also actively manages traffic signals to fit varying conditions throughout the region.

The RTMC acts as the main information hub for local organizations whose goal is to watch for crashes, construction or anything that could potentially delay traffic. Operators staff the center 24/7, gathering data from cameras, wireless devices and other roadway monitoring tools to improve traffic flow. That data is then disseminated over, roadway signs and social media while operators coordinate with entities, such as 911 centers, local responders and Emergency Management Agencies.

The RTMC is designed to handle major events, such as football traffic and concerts, and equipped to manage weather operations with 244 cameras throughout the region. The RTMC also has 192 of those cameras within ALGO and controls 11 message boards.

A study by Florida International University found that RTMCs reduced fatalities by 10 percent, decreased crashes by 2.8 percent and improved travel time.

ALDOT has already upgraded 229 traffic signal controllers throughout the region with new equipment and timing schedules. This resulted in early benefits with improved travel times and intersection efficiency.

“The Regional Traffic Management Center is essentially the nervous system of our roadways,” said Wallace McAdory, West Central Region Engineer. “We can coordinate with emergency services and move traffic more efficiently. This wouldn’t be possible without the extraordinary level of cooperation and relationships we have made with local governments.”