Successful Traffic Control Centre operations require effective administration. A basic requirement is easily accessible and well-organised reference documentation for control centre staff. A set of policies, plans, guides and instructions is needed to guide TCC managers and operators in their duties and collaboration with others (operating partners and other stakeholders).
A minimum set of documents, available in hard copy and/or on-line electronically, will be:
The establishment of a business plan is recommended to provide a roadmap for agencies to establish the TCC goals and objectives and to achieve them. A properly implemented TCC business plan will provide justification for sustained operations by means of on-going performance measurement and reporting of outcomes. The business plan also helps to identify the present and desired future state of the TCC’s operational effectiveness and key gaps that need to be addressed. The plan will include:
TCCs require significant and committed funding for their deployment, operation and maintenance. A lack of continuing funding will affect and limit the desired results. Adequate staffing and operations planning are also necessary. The majority of transport agencies run TCCs with public-sector staff but some outsource the TCC operations to private-sector companies – sometimes because it has been a challenge to staff and train personnel to effectively operate the TCC.
Key to successful road network operations is the inter-agency, multidisciplinary integration of the TCC with the operational activities of other organisations that have a part to play or who manage adjacent highway networks. This is referred to by some as the “4-Cs": Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, Consensus.
Managing routine traffic, traffic incidents and even transport emergencies is greatly enhanced by organisations collectively applying the 4-Cs. This is best done when centres like the TCC, Emergency Control Centre (ECC) and/or Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) are co-located – or at least have close two-way communication for data and information exchange and sharing of CCTV camera images. For example, information seen on camera can be actively provided to those responding to a traffic incident (police, fire, other emergency services, towing companies and maintenance) so responders can request the resources they need.
The vast majority of ITS technology is deployed in urban areas and alongside motorways, although some ITS devices are deployed in remote rural areas. Given the distances involved, this poses an economic challenge to the responsible organisation. Wireless communications overcome some of the challenges – but full coverage for surveillance and traveller information is still difficult. The increasing use of Floating (or Probe) Vehicle Data (FVD) provides TCCs with the ability to access data that can indicate rural incidents and trigger both response and information dissemination to travellers and responders. (See Probe Vehicle Monitoring)
ITS asset management includes not just hardware, but also software and key personnel, in order to support the long-term goals of the organisation and maintain its ITS capability. General guidelines include:
For information on Traffic Control Centre staffing See http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freewaymgmt/publications/frwy_mgmt_handbook/chapter14_04.htm
It is essential that managers provide comprehensive training in every aspect of traffic management and related topics to the staff who have a role in TCC operations.
Training comes in many forms, among them:
Field exercises are generally more appropriate for those who respond to incidents on the road or highway. In-house exercises can be designed for TCC operators – the challenge is the ability to simulate actual operations and procedures including the use of equipment and devices. Some centres have demonstration equipment that can be used for this purpose.
One-on-one training and small group on-job training is most likely to be recalled by those who experience it but it takes time to encounter a wide variety of situations. The more interactive the training can be, the more effective it will be in producing lasting success.
A useful report on “Impacts of Technology Enhancements on Transport Management Centre Operations,” produced by the Transport Management Centre Pooled Fund Study (TMC PFS) in the USA, provides guidance to TMC/TCC managers on how to better position themselves operationally in anticipation of future technology changes and advancements. (See http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop13008/index.htm)