The Canadian city of Winnipeg’s new Transportation Management Center (TMC) has officially opened and will begin to improve traffic flow, as well as provide real-time traffic information to drivers using the Waze smartphone application.
Winnipeg’s leading-edge facility will be monitoring all 650 signalized intersections across the city, and is capable of remotely responding in real time to signal malfunctions and unexpected traffic incidents to maintain and improve traffic flow. Drawing on the latest technology, the TMC will lead to smoother flowing traffic, as well as real-time traffic information for drivers so they can make better decisions on their commute. By using a two-way data exchange through the Waze Connected Citizens Program, the city gains free, real-time crowdsourced traffic information and drivers can share and receive anonymous traffic information from the TMC to assist them with deciding which routes to take or avoid.
As part of the implementation of the TMC, 70 traffic cameras have been installed at strategic locations around the city, acting as the TMC’s eyes on the street. With this visual information as well as anonymous data shared from drivers through the Waze app, TMC operators can respond in real time to unexpected situations, such as collisions, stalled vehicles, barricades, special events, and adverse weather. Traffic signal timing can be done quicker now that they can be adjusted remotely from the TMC and crews no longer need to physically attend to an intersection to make adjustments.
Unlike most major cities in North America that have freeways, Winnipeg depends primarily on a network of major roadways and nearly 650 signalized intersections. The TMC also enables the city to monitor the health of the traffic signal network for malfunctions, such as flashing lights, and make quicker fixes. Rather than relying on citizen reports, traffic signals will alert the TMC when they go into flashing mode and crews can be dispatched rapidly. Council approved a C$3.6m (US$2.7m) capital investment for the TMC, and has an annual operating budget of C$500,000 (US$382,400).
All 650 of Winnipeg’s signalized intersections were connected in eight months to a state-of-the-art central management system with cellular modems. The wireless connectivity allows two-way communication between all traffic signals and the centralized hub. Remote signal timing changes can now be made within minutes versus days, facilitating rapid response to unexpected incidents. An advanced traffic incident management system incorporates information feeds from the ‘311’ telephone reporting system, the signals management system, connected sensors, and Waze, to capture and share all traffic and road related incidents. A state-of-the-art audio/video system, combined with a data driven video wall, now provides situational awareness to TMC operators.
“I’m thrilled to officially open Winnipeg’s new Transportation Management Center,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “This is a cutting-edge, high tech tool that will help improve traffic flow and assist drivers on a daily basis. Winnipeg has been an epicenter of innovation, and by combining new technologies with connectivity through the Waze app, the new TMC is blazing a new trail for our city and modernizing how we manage traffic flow.”