A Traffic Control Centre’s functions vary according to which agency operates it. The functional “separations” between motorway and urban network control are not rigid distinctions; and, ideally, the two would merge to enable fully integrated Management and Operations. Some countries, states or regions have moved in this direction, but it can involve considerable effort and expense.
The organisational and operational responsibilities of TCCs for different types of network varies:
There are no clear technology differences between these three groups and they often overlap in function, but the institutional differences are more distinct. Advanced ITS applications provide the means for regional and local TCCs to work together, coordinate activities and share information when the need arises. (See Integrated Operations)
In many countries a growing number of local agencies have, or plan to develop, local fully functional TCCs, which are organised and operated to support the responsibilities of local agencies. On a daily basis this allows each TCC to effectively carry out its core mission.
The various services provided by a TCC can be grouped according to high-level functions, such as those shown in the diagram and described below:
The TCC needs decision support information on the network including a database of road network characteristics, information about incidents and other events (roadworks, accidents), traffic flow and journey times, and weather conditions.
This requires the TCC to adopt systems for:
1. the network description and location referencing (See Basic Info-structure)
2. obtaining information about:
3. continuous monitoring of:
The TCC needs to develop traffic management response plans that support its control strategies and the choice of information to be provided during incidents that affect traffic on the network. When incidents occur the TCC will implement these plans and analyse and update those plans on the basis of experience.
(See Integrated Strategies)
These are the means by which a TCC provides information to media organisations, road users and the travelling public . They may include providing VMS at key locations on the road network, providing an internet site for public information – and use of social media and an interactive telephone service.
Specifically the TCC core services will be:
These are activities that enable the TCC to provide information and take action that will improve the ability of other organisations (operating partners) to perform their duties in managing the traffic and operations on their networks. The TCC needs to establish links with the traffic controllers for site that generate traffic or are major destinations. Examples might be a ferry port or airport, shipping container terminal, mineral extraction sites, major sports or entertainment centres, retail parks and shopping malls
Management services relate to the day-to-day operation of the Traffic Control Centre and any additional operations that are required, specifically:
For a TCC that covers toll road operations the ITS traffic systems and the electronic tolling systems are usually completely separate. They are not permitted to integrate, at least electronically, to protect the integrity of toll revenues. Toll-road TCCs generally manage incidents in the same way as their non-tolling counterparts. The fact that they operate facilities whose users are paying in real-time increases the pressure to clear incidents quickly. In some locations, such as Santiago, Chile, various toll roads use the same transponders to identify all vehicles passing through the toll gantries.
(See Toll Collection)