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Open Access Publications from the University of California

California Transportation Management Centers Part 1. Assessment Of Existing Capabilities


Transportation Management Centers (TMCs) are focal points for monitoring and operating traffic management systems. As new technologies are developed through research in Intelligent-Vehicle- Highway Systems (IVHS), these TMCs will assume increasingly more importance as command and control centers for transportation operations. This study is aimed at developing visions for how the TMC of the future will exploit the capabilities of IVHS. Part 1 of this study, reported herein, is an assessment of existing TMC capabilities in the State of California. Part 2, to be reported later, will develop the future visions, considering present capabilities, ongoing research and transportation needs. The Part 1 report includes a brief overview of TMC development efforts, and results of in-depth interviews with personnel at all seven Caltrans TMCs, as well as interviews with three city TMCs (Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose). The interviews assessed: existing TMC functions, coordination among TMCs, coordination with other agencies, facilities, software and databases, and communication media. Detailed survey results are provided in Appendix B, on a site by site basis. Major study conclusions include: (1) California has made great strides in developing its TMCs, especially through the close coordination of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Caltrans. These efforts have laid the groundwork for major advances in traffic management. (2) Despite California's accomplishments, the TMCs have not yet fulfilled their potential for being the nerve centers for the vast array of trafpic management functions. Effort is needed to determine the best way to integrate a greater scope of advanced IVHS functions into TMC operations. (3) Effort is needed to develop California's TMCs into a distributed network of closely coordinated agencies, to ensure that their combined talents can be applied in the most effective manner.

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