Joint City/State Traffic Center Opens In L.I.C.
Can Coordinate Responses To Events
A new Joint Traffic Management Center (JTMC), located in Long Island City, brings together in one room all of the agencies responsible for detecting and responding to roadway incidents within the five boroughs.
Through the use of cameras and speed detection equipment placed on city highways and streets, staff from state and city agencies will now be able to observe the same camera feeds around-the-clock, seamlessly share information on the exact nature of an unplanned occurrence and the appropriate coordinated response, and rapidly deploy resources in order to clear the incident as quickly as possible.
State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn was joined by New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, NYPD Chief of Transportation Michael Scagnelli and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) New York Division Administrator Jeffrey W. Kolb to mark the opening of the new facility.
"Effective communication is critical to efficient traffic management, and the JTMC is a giant step forward in improved communication that will immediately help reduce congestion and smooth traffic flow for the traveling public," said Glynn.
"The demands being made on our transportation network require that we use technology to better manage the capacity that we do have," added Sadik-Khan.
"Traffic Management Centers like this one are crucial to easing congestion, to keeping motorists safe and to the long-term health of the American roadway," said Kolb.
The new facility includes three large video walls and 24 smaller monitors that can cycle through video feeds from nearly 500 closedcircuit television cameras monitoring traffic flow on major roadways throughout the city.
Prior to the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies, highway incidents were detected when traffic backups became sizeable enough that public safety units would encounter them while on patrol.
The first generation of ITS technologies, implemented in 1998, placed cameras and other detectors on roads in order to monitor traffic and convey incident information to a central facility. Information flow and response times improved greatly as a result, but relevant agencies were still housed in separate offices.
Traffic monitoring was performed by NYSDOT and NYCDOT, with NYPD relying on verbal descriptions of incidents from those agencies. Physical separation limited the coordination of responses.
The JTMC has several means for notifying the public of highway incidents. Staff can activate any of the nearly 100 electronic variable message signs along the roadways and provide Highway Advisory Radio announcements to notify travelers of area delays.
NYSDOT and NYCDOT submit information weekly regarding lane closures associated with roadway construction, with more frequent updates as conditions require. The JTMC then enters the information into a geographical database that can be accessed by the public through websites such as www.trips123.com and www.travelinfony.com.
Working together, the three agencies map out logistics and develop public information plans in order to reduce traveler demand and balance the needs of all users of the roadway system.
Construction of the $16 million JTMC was primarily funded by the federal government, and NYCDOT is responsible for daily operations of the JTMC.
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