Traffic Management Centers: Challenges, Best Practices, and Future Plans
Traffic management centers (TMCs) monitor and manage the traffic flow and the transportation network, as well as provide traveler information through the deployment of various technologies and proactive management strategies. A TMC also functions as the technical and institutional hub that facilitates interagency coordination and integrates a wide range of traffic management strategies to achieve the collective goal of providing safer, more efficient and sustainable transportation infrastructure to meet the mobility needs.
The success of a TMC directly influences the efficiency of the transportation network, the economic competitiveness of a region in moving people and goods, and the quality of life for the communities. The goal of this research is to provide an updated and comprehensive scan of current practices in TMC operations. This benchmarking process will help in establishing a general standard in TMC performance, and provide the opportunity for information exchange and sharing, and eventually contribute to the efficient management of the transportation network and effective implementation of technologies.
As computer and information technologies have evolved tremendously since the past decade, many technologies have emerged and changed the ways of traffic management and information provision. During the same period, our cities have experienced rapidly growing travel demand and increasing concerns in congestion, safety, and sustainability. This research will update the knowledge in TMC practices in terms of the latest technologies, tools and strategies in addressing the new challenges faced by urban traffic management agencies. In addition, the TMC Pooled Fund Study sponsored by the FHWA has provided a series of guidelines and handbooks in system planning, operational strategies, system design, and maintenance with regard to TMC operations. This study provides a means to assessing how and to what extent these guidelines and handbooks help in improving the practices.