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(Source: DVRPC Regional ITS Architecture)
Automatic Vehicle Location: This technology is used by various agencies, including transit and emergency management agencies, to constantly monitor the location of their vehicles. Transit agencies utilize AVL as a management tool to track the progress of buses and to determine when remedial action is required if buses are not adhering to schedule. Emergency dispatchers rely upon AVL to help guide their selection of which vehicle to dispatch to a call. AVL technology relies upon GPS or triangulation as the mechanism for locating vehicles.
Cellular Phone Number for Incident Reporting: Several toll authorities have reserved cellular phone numbers, such as *11 for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, for use by motorists to report disabled vehicles or incidents while en-route. The numbers are usually toll-free and go directly to the agency’s operations center. Several highway departments have posted signs directing motorists to dial cellular 911 to report incidents.
Closed Circuit Television: CCTV is real-time video surveillance equipment, monitored and manipulated by operations personnel. For highways, CCTV’s are installed at locations where accident rates and/or congestion levels are known to be high. The cameras dispatch real-time video images to the traffic operation centers so that in emergency situations a quicker response can be provided. Transit agencies deploy CCTV cameras to observe transit passengers for transit management (crowding levels), fare collection, and security purposes.
Closed Loop Traffic Signal System: For this system, traffic signals are interconnected along specified corridors to provide for ease in traffic flow. The signals may be monitored by detectors and adjusted according to current traffic conditions, or preprogrammed with a number of signal timing plans that vary by time of day and day of week.
Commercial Vehicle Electronic Administration Processes: This process allows commercial vehicle operators to obtain necessary permits via computer and supports the exchange of safety and credentials data among multiple jurisdictions and between agencies within a single jurisdiction.
Dynamic Message Sign: The purpose of the DMS’s is to provide real-time en-route travel advisories to travelers. For highways, the DMS signs are either centered over travel lanes or placed alongside the roadway. Messages on permanent DMS signs typically originate from a traffic control center. For transit systems, DMS’s take the form of dynamic message boards located in waiting areas and/or platforms to provide information on train arrivals, departures, and platform locations.
Emergency Call Boxes: Emergency call boxes permit travelers who do not have cellular phones a mechanism to report accidents and other emergency situations. They are used by both highway and transit travelers. Call boxes are typically located along the side of an expressway at mile or half mile intervals. Transit agencies place them in waiting areas and on platforms to improve the security of passengers.
E-Z Pass: E-Z Pass is an electronic toll collection system developed by a consortium of toll agencies located in the northeast United States. When a vehicle passes through an E-Z Pass designated toll lane, an electronic tag, in the form of a small box mounted on a vehicle windshield, is detected by an antenna and the appropriate toll is deducted from the customer's prepaid E-Z Pass account. Because of the alliance, E-Z Pass will eventually be employed on all toll bridges and roads in the region.
Highway Advisory Radio: HAR provides travelers with real-time roadway information, including weather information, agency hotline numbers, incident information, and roadway construction advisories, directly over their car radio. The FCC reserves certain AM and FM frequencies specific to whatever jurisdiction in which they are located for public agencies to broadcast these special travel advisories.
Kiosks: A number of organizations have plans to install travel information kiosks at tourist centers, government buildings, and highway service areas.
Travelers will be able to obtain current traffic and transit information, information about places to visit, route planning information, and hotel reservations. Generally kiosks will be more interactive and offer more choices than the static traveler information services currently available.
Management Center: Management centers are the focal point and communications hub of an agency’s operation. Almost all transit, highway and bridge agencies in the region have their own control centers. These facilities monitor and control an agency’s highway or transit network and are responsible for incident management. While the equipment in each operating center varies by agency, the typical control center consists of any number of computer workstations, radio scanners, TV monitors, audio text recording booths to record HAR messages, and fax machines for broadcasting information to other agencies. Depending on agency needs, a highway control center can include capabilities to operate computerized traffic signal systems, Dynamic message signs and highway advisory radios, monitor CCTV’s, manage emergency service patrols, and coordinate incident management response teams. Composition of transit operation centers vary based upon whether rail or bus operations are involved.
Ramp Metering: Ramp metering is designed to control the rate of traffic entering a freeway. The objective is to maintain a predetermined level of service on the freeway by adjusting the on-ramp traffic volume with a traffic control signal. Typical waiting times at ramp metering signals are between 5 to 6 seconds per vehicle.
Road Weather Information System: RWIS are typically installed at locations that experience a higher-than-average number of accidents attributable to fog, snow or icy conditions. Sensor information can be used to more effectively deploy road maintenance resources, issue weather-specific warnings to drivers and general advisories to motorists. Weather sensors are connected to remote processing units located in the field which measure, collect, and pre-process environmental data and then transmit the information to an operations center where staff can act on the information.
Signal Priority: This technology allows transit vehicles to send direct control requests to signalized intersections. These messages result in preemption of the current signal control plan and grants right-of-way to the requesting transit and emergency vehicles.
Service Patrols: The Service Patrol program is designed to improve the efficiency of the highway system through the quick resolution of minor incidents, including disabled vehicles, vehicles out of gas, and minor accidents that impact traffic flow. Service Patrol vans patrol along highways and provide assistance to disabled vehicles. Service Patrol operators are equipped to perform minor repairs such as changing a flat tire or providing gasoline. When major repairs are needed, Service Patrol operators can assist the motorist in contacting a towing company to remove the disabled vehicle. Service Patrol’s also reduce the risk of secondary accidents by deploying appropriate warning devices.
Traveler Cards: This technology provides the capability for the traveler to use a common fare instrument for all surface transportation services (i.e., multiple transit agencies, parking facilities, toll roads), to pay without stopping, and have the payment media automatically identified as invalid or its eligibility verified. In addition, smart cards have the capability to provide expansion into other uses as payment for retail purchases, telephone services and for off-line billing for fares paid to agencies.
Traveler Information Website: This type of website is used to access traveler information prior to starting a trip. Currently, most of the existing travel websites in the region offer only construction or special event information. Eventually, real- time, route-specific travel reports will be found on the websites. SmartRoute, under contract to PennDOT, provides real-time travel information on selected highways and transit facilities in the region.
Weigh-In-Motion Station: Weight measuring equipment, including fixed sensors embedded in the pavement, can ascertain the weight of a commercial vehicle at highway speeds to ensure the vehicle is operating within legal weight limits. Ultimately, WIM stations will be utilized to assess motor vehicle taxes on commercial carriers.
Site last updated: September 6, 2006