Two winners of the USA’s National Operations Centre of Excellence (NOCoE) Awards for Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) have released details of the projects that beat off competition from 42 other agencies to take top honours.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) won the TSMO Award in the Agency Improvement category for modernising and centralising many of its traffic signals in smaller towns and rural areas across the state. The award recognises NCDOT’s effort since 2018 to upgrade about 500 ‘closed-loop’ traffic signal locations to a central server, mostly in towns such as Clayton and Garner outside Raleigh and in several suburbs around Charlotte. Several hundred more closed-loop signals will be centralised in the coming years. The upgrade does not affect signal systems in the state’s larger cities, which already coordinate and centrally monitor their traffic signal networks.
Under the project, the signal systems on state-maintained roads have been connected to a centralised signal system over a private, secure network. The system can immediately notify the department’s Traffic Operations Centre (TOC) of any problems. Previously, the NCDOT had to primarily rely on the public to notify the agency of a malfunctioning traffic signal. In addition, staff from a central office can now make signal timing adjustments for unexpected traffic conditions, such as crash or other incident that is diverting drivers through a town. The upgrade will provide NCDOT with much more traffic data to assist the annual retiming program, which is a data-driven process that allows the department to optimise hundreds traffic signals each year.
NCDOT’s state signal systems engineer, Matthew Carlisle, said, “Connecting these signals and systems to a statewide centralised server allows us to remotely monitor them from anywhere and streamlines our ability to ensure proper and optimal operation.”
This is the second year in a row that NCDOT has been recognized by the NOCoE, as the agency was the overall winner of the 2018 TSMO Awards for its response to Hurricane Florence. The department’s statewide TOC was lauded for using information and other tools to maximize roadway efficiency and safety during a major crisis.
Houston TranStar claimed this year’s NOCoE Award in the Best TSMO Project category for the development of an innovative, real-time flood warning tool that educates motorists about roadway flood risks during heavy rainfall. A collaborative effort between TranStar, the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the Roadway Flood Warning tool synthesizes rainfall and stream elevation data with traffic information in real-time to identify where roadway flooding is highly likely to occur and displays that data on TranStar’s traffic map and mobile application. Seen by more than three million unique visitors during Hurricane Harvey, TranStar’s website and real-time traffic map influences travel patterns of a large portion of the region’s driving population.
TranStar’s executive director, Dinah Massie, said, “Our project enhances traveller safety in the Greater Houston region by giving motorists reliable information to avoid roadways that are highly likely to be flooded.”
The full list of TSMO award winners were announced. To read more, click HERE