Regional Traffic Management Center Traveler Information Website

Sarasota-Manatee Regional Traffic Management Center and Manatee County Government

IN THIS CASE STUDY YOU WILL LEARN:

1. How partners worked together across boundaries to build a real-time traveler information website for the region.

2. How working with a vendor, they were able to use vast amount data streams to provide RTMC functionality to the outside world.

3. The traveler information website is a cost effective tool with exceptional functionality that helps reduce congestion throughout the area.

BACKGROUND

In May 2005, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Manatee County, Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota and the City of Bradenton entered into an Interlocal Agreement for cooperation and coordination in the operation of a unified Advanced Traffic Management System. The agreement provides that each party would bear a proportional share of the ongoing operational costs of the Sarasota-Manatee Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC), with the basis for a proportional share being based on population numbers from the most recent census data available.

As a result, the RTMC was created in 2011. In November 2014, FDOT completed the deployment of a freeway management system along Interstate 75 that included center-to-center connectivity between the FDOT District 1 TMC and the Sarasota-Manatee RTMC. Therefore, the RTMC is also serving as FDOT’s satellite South West Interagency Facility for Transportation (SWIFT) SunGuide Center.

TSMO PLANNING, STRATEGIES AND EXECUTION

Thanks to a state-of-the art communication network provided by several hundred miles of single-mode fiber optic cable deployed throughout the Sarasota-Manatee geographic area, the RTMC is currently connected to the following:

  • 476 traffic signals
  • 251 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras
  • 319 vehicle video detection cameras
  • 64 microwave vehicle detection sensors
  • 111 Bluetooth travel-time measuring devices
  • 4 arterial dynamic message signs
  • 19 servers
  • 5 Cisco catalyst switches
  • More than 500 ethernet switches

The RTMC staff use these tools to successfully conduct Active Arterial Management by:

  • Monitoring the regional arterial roadway system conditions.
  • Implementing temporary signal timing changes in response to incident and congestion events.
  • Disseminating real-time travel-related information.
  • Managing the network-connected devices.

Incidents are detected using several sources and verified using the available devices connected to the RTMC. Consequently, pertinent information is promptly provided to the Signal Timing Engineer that has the ability through the use of to the ATMS central software, to remotely make temporary signal timing changes to reduce traffic congestion and help clear the way for law enforcement and fire rescue vehicles during emergencies.

COMMUNICATIONS PLANNING AND EXECUTION

In 2016, Manatee County entered into a Local Agency Program Agreement with FDOT to obtain funding for the implementation of a comprehensive website for aggregation and seamless dissemination of traveler information such as real-time travel time, congestion, traffic incidents, active construction zones and live video streams from the regional CCTV cameras. The budget allocated for this project was $300,000. Following a Request for Proposal process, Manatee County selected and entered into an agreement with Skyline Technology Solutions for the design and implementation of the RTMC Traveler Information website.

The project was successfully completed in September 2018, with the development and launch of the SMART TRAFFIC website (www.smarttrafficinfo.org). The website was designed and built to be an efficient travel resource that incorporates data collected from the Sarasota-Manatee Regional Intelligent Transportation System network and consolidates real-time travel information into a customizable, personalized user experience. As developed, the website empowers the motoring public with accurate and verified information regarding traffic information and road conditions.

OUTCOME, BENEFIT AND LEARNING

The SMART TRAFFIC website is the first of its kind in the state of Florida. The website is a free public service that offers Sarasota-Manatee Bi-County motorists, commuters, commercial vehicle operators, residents and visitors the latest traffic information as well as urgent alerts along the Sarasota-Manatee regional arterial roadway system.

The SMART TRAFFIC website was developed using responsive web design principles to be usable and adaptable across a wide range of common computing devices and screen sizes. It is able to recognize device, browser and connection speed of each access request and provide optimal video stream for each user.

The website features a slippy map with pan and zoom capabilities that displays real-time travel information and the location of the CCTV cameras connected to the RTMC. The website has been uniquely developed to support the live streaming of a single CCTV video stream to up to 5,000 users simultaneously. The website allows users to personalize the application to select and display cameras that are most relevant to them. To conserve resources, the website has been designed to limit to maximum of four concurrent video streams per user.

Another unique feature of the SMART TRAFFIC website is the use of list screens, called widgets, that can be removed, added or rearranged following each user preference and provide, among other uses, information on traffic incidents, roadwork, real-time travel time and camera feeds in a list format.

The “External Links” widget allows users to access other significant traveler information such as real-time traffic flow data retrieved from the existing TrafficCast BlueTOAD server installed in the RTMC data center, the Florida Highway Patrol, FDOT’s FL511 websites and the Sarasota-Manatee RTMC performance measures reports. Another unique aspect of this website is the availability of a tutorial video.

Sarasota-Manatee RTMC has created its very own Twitter account (@941_traffic) for the dissemination of real-time incident, congestion, roadwork and critical equipment malfunction information. The public can receive and monitor the tweets through their personal Twitter accounts or by accessing the SMART TRAFFIC website and view them in a list format in the related widget.

The SMART TRAFFIC website has demonstrated itself to be a cost-effective investment that has the means to provide travelers with information that will facilitate their decisions concerning route choice, departure time, trip delay or elimination. Providing real-time information to travelers allows them to reschedule or re-route trips away from traffic incidents, construction zones, road closures, thereby improving travel time reliability, safety and the quality of life.Smart Traffic Website: www.smarttrafficinfo.org.


Operations Area of Practice

  • Transportation Management Centers (TMC / TOC)

Organizational Capability Element

  • Traveler Information
  • Outreach & Marketing
  • Local government/MPO/RTPA cooperation

Content Type

  • Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Publishing Organization

  • NOCoE

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Issue Date
March 27th, 2019
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