Information is provided here on a number of methods that are widely used in network monitoring at all levels of operation.
The responsibilities of patrol officers are to:
To carry out this task the patrol officer monitors the assigned network segment, reports and responds to minor incidents where appropriate. Patrols are developed only if an Operations Centre is capable of undertaking actions proposed by the patrol reports.
Patrol operating procedures, schedules and routes will depend on the department’s objectives and operating strategy, and they must be adjusted to meet actual needs (scope and frequency of problems) and resources available.
Patrols may be conducted in various patterns:
Patrol officers must carry, in their vehicle, a procedures manual, automatic response sheets, a logbook, a communications device (radio, telephone), and possibly response equipment.
Patrol officer training must include an introduction to specific reporting procedures and the submission of reports in a standardised format (For example: I am arriving on the site / I am leaving the site, traffic is reduced to one vehicle approximately every five seconds, the traffic jam is at least 600 m long and growing). (See Mobile Service Patrols)
Aerial observation missions provide the opportunity to complement raw data with an analysis and potential solutions together with real-time observations of driver behaviour and the effectiveness of response actions. Nevertheless aerial observations are expensive and are viable only for exceptional events and heavily trafficked areas that routinely experience a high frequency of disruptive incidents.
The duty desk essentially involves:
The specific resources for the duty desk include:
This task requires an intense effort in terms of organisation and communication both internally and externally but it also contributes to improving the department’s efficiency as much from the perspective of users as of partners.
Calls may be recorded in a format that includes:
The decisions made and actions taken must also be noted, including the date and time.
A log must be kept in real time and the information logged must be complete. The usefulness of a log is directly dependent on the experience and qualifications of the officer who writes it. In major events, a person must be assigned exclusively to this task.
Each participant in the operation of the road system must keep a log of their assigned tasks: after-hours duty officers, patrol officers, winter maintenance services, operating control centres, etc. The log may be kept in a notebook or electronically on a computer.
Since records may be used in legal proceedings, the log must be impossible to falsify (non-removable numbered pages or secure electronic copy).
Maintaining comprehensive logs (record everything in real time, as events unfold, with no possibility of changing entries after they are made) ensures:
To do this, the network operations department needs the ability to provide well-informed solutions based on expert analysis of traffic volumes, traffic distribution and the evolution of traffic trends. It must collate and validate data for future operational planning and for the provision of valuable traffic statistics.
The data required for traffic studies differs according to the problem to be addressed, for example:
Interpretation of counts often requires consideration of other factors such as weather data, incidents, accidents, major events. It is therefore necessary to relate the collated traffic data to records and observations summarising the day’s events.
Conducting traffic count studies requires high-performance counting equipment, and computers to process the date including:
The complexity of data management, count evaluation and simulation tools, requires basic training in traffic engineering and in statistics to ensure credible, relevant results.
The programme proceeds as follows:
The programme requires:
There is always the risk of an unexpected event (such as adverse weather, major disruptions on a neighbouring arterial) occurring at the last minute, making established forecasts totally irrelevant. Furthermore, some preventive operating measures may prove inadequate. However, regular attention to near-term and future traffic forecasts will reduce the likelihood and frequency of an emergency response being needed.