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Traffic Management - Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

CoS Traffic Management Center 1Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) – Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. What is ITS and how does it help move traffic?
  2. How can the Public help?
  3. How can motoring public get traffic incident notifications?
  4. Why does Scottsdale use ITS?
  5. What is Unique about the Scottsdale ITS?
  6. What are the Benefits of ITS?
  7. What is the Future of ITS?
  8. How does Scottsdale ITS Support Other Agencies?
  9. Are Tours Available?
  10. Are Statistics available?
  11. What are some of the other TMC Projects?
  12. How do I contact the Traffic Management Center?
  13. What is the History of Scottsdale ITS?

What is ITS and how does it help move traffic?

Scottsdale uses a fully functional Traffic Management Center (TMC) to pro-actively move traffic via an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). ITS combines four separate systems to either prevent and/or repair congestion, improve driver information and actively manage special event and weather related traffic. The four systems are the TransSuite Advanced Traffic Management System (Traffic Signal ATMS), ICX Camera Cameleon together with a Mitsubitsi Video Wall, Skyline Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), and the DRES Media/Public Communication System.

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How can the Public help?
Although the most challenging intersections are continuously displayed on the video wall and desk top monitors in attempts to spot congestion as it happens, calls from the motoring public are always welcome. From a financial & practical perspective, we cannot have a camera at every intersection and so we still need motorists to call when they see unusual backups. We can often make “on the fly” adjustments or even take manual control of an intersection to clear long lines of cars.

TMC main desk: 480-312-4325.

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How can motoring public get traffic incident notifications?

Scottsdale Traffic Management sends incident notifications to local media who broadcast on local public radio.  We also offer direct notification to the public via Nixle.com.  Although the Nixle.com service is free, check with your individual cell/pda service provider regarding any fees.  To sign up, just visit Nixle.com & select City of Scottsdale under featured cities.  Notifications of incidents only include locations visible by the TMC and may or may not include clearance notifications.

Why does Scottsdale use ITS?

In 1995, as part of a citizen survey, Scottsdale residents identified traffic congestion as the number one priority for improvement. In about that same time period, The Phoenix Open was moved to the TPC Scottsdale Golf Course. With the massive crowds that attended the event came massive traffic jams during the week of the Open. The first years of the tournament required about 50 Police officers to manually operate the intersections in an attempt to minimize delay. In the years following, Scottsdale began the deployment of CCTV cameras at intersections that carried the most traffic volumes, and were the most critical to Scottsdale drivers. Eventually, the "on-street" Police officers were all replaced with one Police officer posted in Scottsdale's Traffic Management Center (TMC), and was responsible for automatic and manual control of congested signalized intersections around the golf tournament.

The success of the TMC during the special events proved the viability of the system and, so it was expanded. It now has over 50 CCTV cameras in as many intersections throughout Scottsdale, including over 25 fixed Dynamic Message Signs, or DMS, which gives drivers real-time traffic information at key locations throughout town. The TMC staff also has the ability to control specific intersections in the event of collisions and road closures. This control allows the staff to extend green lights in any direction, or implement 1 of 18 directionally based timing plans for those events that are longer than a half hour duration.

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What’s Unique about the Scottsdale ITS?
Cities of comparative size & population typically have 4 or 5 different timing plans for their traffic signals. Scottsdale was one of the first to create a set of uniformly & directionally based plans – 18 of them! Ten of the 18 are for normal daily use. The other 8 are emergency plans that can be quickly enabled for traffic collisions, stalled vehicles or heavy event traffic. These plans are already pre-installed at the intersections and ready to use. These plans, together with the generous views of traffic from over 50 available cameras are what provide unprecedented effectiveness to the Scottsdale TMC. And even above & beyond the timing plans, operators are able to manually take control of a signal, as needed, to get cars moving. Since geographically Scottsdale is like a long narrow tunnel, it’s imperative that traffic is actively and aggressively managed.

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What are the Benefits of ITS

• Reduce traffic incident delay – when collisions, spills or stalled vehicles occur, signal timing can be immediately adjusted to reduce the delay.
• Pro-active traffic management through work zones – reducing those frustrating construction zone delays.
• Roadway safety is enhanced by enabling immediate detection and reporting of incidents to Police Department, Emergency Services/Fire, other agencies, the media & public.
• Event Traffic Management – costs are dramatically reduced by centralized traffic management as opposed to many police officers at various locations.
• ITS enables Scottsdale to hold travel time on City streets steady, and where possible, even reduce travel time as traffic volume increases due to growth.
• Reduction or prevention of traffic congestion
• Environmental improvements
• Reduced fuel consumption

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What is the Future of ITS in Scottsdale? - as of 2009, the ITS reaches from the southern border of McKellips to Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd and up to Pima & Thompson Peak Parkway. The next expansion phase will bring ITS from Scottsdale/FLW to Scottsdale/Thompson Peak Parkway. Ultimately, the goal is to reach the northern border at Carefree.

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How does Scottsdale ITS Support Other Agencies?
Scottsdale ITS participates in regional associations such as Maricopa County Assocation of Governments (MAG), AzTech TMC Operations Group, AzTech ATIS, Arizona ITE and Arizona ITS. Technical support & standards are shared among these groups as well as to the public.

Are Tours Available? - Public or groups tours are available – please schedule with ITS Manager, Bruce Dressel at 480-312-2358.

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Are Statistics available? – Yes, Scottsdale ITS logs DMS postings, traffic signal timing changes, media alerts & AZ511 postings. All are available upon request. Direct requests to ITS Manager, Bruce Dressel , at 480-312-2358.

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What are some of the other TMC Projects?
In addition to the daily operations of the ITS, staff each have separate responsibilities and projects. Some of those include:

Traffic Signal Timing Plan Updates/Expansion of Signal Coordination
Design of City owned Fiber Optic Network - to be shared with Information Systems & Police/Fire.
OSP Design/Training – Electronic Mapping of the Fiber Optic Network
Installation of new “smart controllers” – the newest generation of traffic signal microcomputers which will be used to bring intelligence to the traffic signal itself
Expansion of ITS to North Scottsdale
Video On Web – enabling/empowering staff to operate the system from remote locations, including home
TI Conversion – Remove communication from expensive leased phone lines to cost effective radio links.
Provide technical assistance to Traffic Engineering (HAWKs, FLASHING YELLOWS).
Assist with design of new traffic signals and left turn additions
Daily “Bluestaking” or marking of existing fiber undergrounds.
Provide emergency response support to Police/Fire Support for collisions and other incidents
Provide Inter-agency support – participate in regional associations such as Maricopa County Assocation of Governments (MAG), AzTech TMC Operations Group, AzTech ATIS, Arizona ITE and Arizona ITS.
Touring, Teaching – through regional groups. Public or groups tours are available – please schedule with ITS Manager, Bruce Dressel at 480-312-2358.

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How do I contact the Traffic Management Center?

TMC main phones: 480-312-4325 or 480-312-7777
email: scottsdaletmc@scottsdaleaz.gov

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