Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Smart Traffic Centers

Richmond.com profiles the Smart Traffic Center that watches over the downtown areas of I-95 and I-64, using cameras to pinpoint the site of accidents etc and send crews there to clear them.
Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads have such centers as well. The fellow who runs this center says even when all they can do is give drivers an idea of how long the backup is, that's better than no information at all. Here's what the center does:

'The Smart Traffic Center is an exercise in efficiency. It uses mounted traffic cameras to pan and zoom in or out on accidents and disturbances. These images are then displayed on four 50-inch plasma screens and half a dozen computer monitors throughout the center, giving the traffic team remote controlled, full video coverage from south of the James River to Bryan Park.

Don't underestimate the help that pinpointing the exact location of an accident can give. When passersby call in wrecks to 911, they can often be vague in detail or even mistaken, Alexander said. That's where the Smart Traffic operators come in: they seek out the accident and supply emergency services with accurate, never-fail locations and details that can save precious minutes and 911 resources. All incidents are also tracked, color-coded and prioritized on software uniquely designed for VDOT.'


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