Effective Road Network Operations (RNO) require that the network monitoring and traffic control systems are fully functional. This is accomplished most effectively by monitoring the system components. There are two aspects to this:
Traffic Control Centre (TCC) software will monitor the incoming data, images and other media from the field devices that are used for routine traffic management and incident detection, verification, notification and dispatch.
Within the TCC, the software automatically monitors the status of its key processors, servers, video displays, communications and all the other assorted equipment – and the software itself – to ensure a high level of operational efficiency. Equally important, these form the core of data and information used for performance management. (See Planning Procedures)
Monitoring system performance is essential in evaluating its success in achieving its objectives. Typically, the TCC software will have modules that automatically monitor the various components to detect and report failures or other anomalies that need to be brought to the operators’ attention. Depending on the device type, in legacy systems this is generally achieved through: periodic polling of the devices to sense expected responses, monitoring of data streams for continuity – and other diagnostic techniques.
As device sophistication improves the trend is to incorporate more self-diagnostics, pushing data on equipment status and performance to the central system. The results of the monitoring are used for instant failure reporting, as well as providing system performance measures over time.
From a traffic operations perspective, system monitoring and automatic fault reporting is essential. It enables the TCC operators and managers, along with the maintenance team, to keep the system healthy to perform its tasks in managing traffic and providing situational awareness to the travelling public. System monitoring helps to ensure that managers can be confident that the investment in ITS is being nurtured and protected through proper operation, or that problems are identified and can be addressed promptly.
In the USA, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise operates a unique tolling and revenue monitoring system. The SunWatch Centre monitors all equipment in the system, alerts operators to malfunctions and failures, and takes action to mitigate the problem.
Given the nature of its operations, the SunWatch Centre is not widely advertised, but some information is available from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s website at http://ibtta.org/awards/sunwatch-operations-center