Until a decade ago urban and motorway traffic control systems were considered separately – both from a technical and institutional perspective. As traffic demand increases the need for a seamless transition between systems becomes more important. The need for integration is particularly acute in situations where there are heavily trafficked motorways, expressways and parallel arterial road routes. The demand for reliable real-time driver information systems continues to grow. Increasingly the control of traffic on urban streets can no longer be treated separately from highway traffic control.
The Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) concept is one of the most significant developments in integrating ITS functions and resources between different organisations. Motorway and all-purpose arterial roads operations are closely coordinated from a single Traffic Control Centre (TCC) – or a highly integrated (linked) set of two or more TCCs. The objective is to achieve an overall balance of traffic between routes that serve a common set of destinations. This involves balancing demand through signal control and pro-active use of driver information, coupled with traffic diversions in some cases.
Integrated Corridor Management is designed to operate the motorways and the arterial road network and to optimise the use of both. It applies especially to a corridor with similar travel routes, that are broadly in parallel, serving similar destinations. Ideally, a single TCC would manage traffic on both motorways and the arterial roads, so that operators can shift resources – and demand – from one roadway to the other as conditions require.
An alternative to a single TCC, is to integrate several local TCCs by sharing data, images, information and decision making. Their managers will need Traffic Management Plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that address balancing traffic along the corridor and managing traffic when an incident occurs. (See TCC Administration and Traffic Management Plans) Closely integrated operations are particularly beneficial in managing planned special events where the road traffic uses both the all-purpose arterial roads and motorways.
Public transport (transit) management is often an important element of network control – where for instance one or more bus and/or multimodal rapid transit stations are located within the managed corridor. In general though, purely transport operations (such as vehicle dispatch) are managed from a separate public transport operations centre. (See Operations & Fleet Management)
Freight customs clearance demonstrates the use of ITS in selected corridors. This could be a road freight or heavy goods corridor or a trans-continental or country-to-country corridor such as Mexico to Canada (via the USA) or Nicaragua to Panama (via Costa Rica). (See Freight Enforcement)