THE ADVANCED TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CENTER
Michael J. Kelly Dennis J. Folds Georgia Institute of Technology
The half dozen or so men and women are seated at their low, futuristic- appearing consoles in the dimly illuminated control room. Heavy blinds on the windows are closed to block out the first rays of emerging daylight. The bright colors of the situation displays on the myriad of computer monitors are reflected in the faces of the computer operators. Images crawl slowly across dozens of closed-circuit television monitors. A huge projection television in the front of the room displays a familiar-appearing spiderweb of lines. Right now this web is mostly green, but if you watch closely, you can see line segments, one-by-one and minute-by-minute, changing to yellow. Two people are talking on their telephones about component failures and maintenance needs; another is keying data into the computer; a fourth is intently consulting a color-coded weather radar display; the rest are sitting back watching--relaxed but alert. It is the start of morning rush hour in the advanced traffic management center.
The intelligent transportation systems (ITS) era is introducing high technology to traffic management. Advanced traffic management systems (ATMSs) incorporate large numbers of highly capable traffic flow and roadway condition sensors to provide the basis for enhanced ATMS operator situation awareness. They incorporate data fusion and information-processing equipment to predigest the large volumes of newly available data into usable information. Some advanced systems may employ automation of routine decisions and actions to help control the operators' workload and