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A NEW MISSION CONTROL


Montgomery Regional Traffic Management Center LOCATION

Montgomery, Alabama C L IENT

Alabama Department of Transportation SERVIC ES

TMC Staffing and Operations ITS System Integration Traffic Incident Management Advanced Traveler Information Systems Development Video Distribution Management System Development


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he Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has deployed Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) throughout the state for a number of years, with systems operational in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham, and others being planned for the Tuscaloosa and Huntsville areas. Although its central office in Montgomery had a growing network of traffic surveillance, vehicle detection and traveler information dissemination equipment, it lacked a control and monitoring facility. Moreover, it didn’t possess the operations staff specifically dedicated to utilizing the system to improve safety and mobility. In 2014, ALDOT made the decision to use consultant staff to operate its Regional Traffic Management Centers (RTMCs), beginning with the new RTMC being implemented in Montgomery. Having worked with the client on a number of projects, including the development of standard operating procedures for its statewide RTMCs, GS&P was selected by ALDOT to provide staffing operations for its new Montgomery RTMC. “The primary functions of a traffic management center [TMC] are managing traffic on a routine basis as well as during emergencies and special events,” explains senior transportation engineer Carla Holmes. “Additional responsibilities include disseminating information to travelers

and coordinating with ALDOT and other transportation and public safety agencies. We were charged with hiring operations staff who would be responsible for gathering, processing and sharing all relevant data and information from a number of resources for the RTMC, so hiring the right people for those types of duties was critical.”

“We were charged with hiring operations staff who would be responsible for gathering, processing and sharing all relevant data and information from a number of resources for the RTMC, so hiring the right people for those types of duties was critical.” CARLA HOLMES, SENIOR TRANSPORTATION ENGINEER


ASSEMBLING THE TEAM GS&P worked closely with ALDOT to find the proper utilized for the new RTMC wasn’t staffing for the new RTMC. Holmes comments on the completely outfitted, so our team had selection process: to train while equipment was being “To help get the RTMC up and running, we hired a installed and the software was still gentleman who had a background in law enforcement. being implemented.” Having led the Traffic Division of the Montgomery Police Despite the challenges, on Monday, Department, he had been coordinating with ALDOT for October 20, 2014, just three business years on traffic accidents, lane closures and special events. days after GS&P was given notice to From an operations perspective that was key. Someone with proceed, the Montgomery RTMC that type of experience understands traffic patterns in the became operational. In addition area and is used to coordinating to providing focused traffic with first responders. He was monitoring, incident man“When staffing a new also able to train those who agement, and information TMC, you typically were new to the field.” sharing and dissemination provide three months In hiring operators withservices, GS&P's new operout previous TMC experience, ations staff provided other of training and then GS&P sought people who not tangible benefits to ALDOT. have new personnel only knew the area but also had “Hardware and software a good sense of Montgomery’s sit with an experienced were installed and impletransportation infrastructure. mented much faster because operator before they’re our staff was there putting “We were looking for people who were familiar with the local it through the paces,” says allowed to take the interstates and other major Holmes. “They were able wheel... Through an arterials, as well as some of to address issues with the expedited on-the-job the accident hot spots,” says equipment and operating Holmes. “We also wanted staff systems as they were using training process, we who could communicate well them, and were able to work had our staff operating with the software developer with emergency responders and grasp the concept of clearing to iron out the bugs. We were within three days.” incidents safely and quickly.” extremely fortunate to have An industry veteran and former state traffic operations a team of people who truly cared engineer for Georgia Department of Transportation about what they were doing and (GDOT), Holmes brought her own skill sets and know- understood the importance of the how to the team. new RTMC as a model for other “As project manager, Carla not only shared her expertise, ALDOT traffic management centers she also brought credibility to the project,” notes Ranzy throughout the state.” Whiticker, a senior vice president of Transportation at GS&P. “She drew from her past experience working with GDOT to help train staff in software use and operating procedures, which played a pivotal role in the project’s success.” “I temporarily relocated to Montgomery until we were fully manned and operational,” says Holmes. “It’s important to note that when staffing a new TMC, you typically provide three months of training and then have new personnel sit with an experienced operator before they’re allowed to take the wheel, so to speak. Through an expedited on-the-job training process, we had our staff operating within three days. Not only that, the retrofitted space being

“As project manager, Carla not only shared her expertise, she also brought credibility to the project. [Her past experience] played a pivotal role in the project's success.” RANZY WHITICKER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, TRANSPORTATION


ON-THE-JOB TRAINING

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During the three-day onboarding period, GS&P staff had to quickly familiarize themselves with iNet, the center’s Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS) software, to manage incidents, monitor traffic conditions, and provide information to the public, emergency responders and ALDOT staff. On the very first day of training, the new hires were put to the test. “In an RTMC, you’re looking for anything that disrupts the flow of traffic—whether it be debris in the road, an accident or heavy congestion,” says Holmes. “On day one, GS&P staff experienced a combination of intensive on-the-job training and a condensed course in TMC operations and traffic incident management when they were faced with an overturned tractor-trailer that shut down traffic at the extremely busy interchange of I-85 and I-65 in the heart of Montgomery. It was quite the initiation, but it gave us the opportunity to start testing out the new software and begin putting notifications of the incident on the dynamic message signs. I’m proud of how the team was able to think on their feet and quickly began managing the incident and coordinating with ALDOT and emergency responders.”

THE PROJECT ALLOWED GS&P TO INCORPORATE NUMEROUS OTHER SERVICE AREAS AND EXPERTISE IN ITS, INCLUDING STATEWIDE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES, TRAVELER INFORMATION SYSTEMS (TIS), MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT TO SUPPORT TIS, AND AN ALL-IMPORTANT VIDEO DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.


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SHOWCASE 9

In addition to staffing the new RTMC, the project allowed “In concert with this startup project, GS&P to incorporate numerous other service areas and GS&P redesigned all those systems expertise in ITS, including statewide standard operating so that any authorized entity with procedures, traveler information systems (TIS), mobile an internet connection can be given app development to support access to the RTMC’s virtual TIS, and an all-important video video wall. We created a First “We created a First distribution management system. Responders Page that gives Responders Page “Most traffic management emergency response agencies that gives emergency special access to all of ALDOT’s centers use video. The problem is it’s very hard to integrate surveillance cameras and allows response agencies those video feeds with a TMC’s them to utilize features not special access ATMS software, which is the available to the public. They can overall operating system,” notes see exactly what’s taking place to all of ALDOT’s Whiticker. “GS&P’s ITS specialat an incident and what types of surveillance cameras responder resources are needed ists set up a video distribution and allows them to management system that takes at the scene. It also helps them determine what routes to take. the video footage coming in utilize features from the TMC’s cameras and We also developed an app for not available to integrates it with the central ALDOT's ITS/traveler informaATMS software. This allows tion program, which is called the public.” external users to have access to ALGO Traffic. The public can the video being used by the TMC. One group of users—or download the ALGO Traffic app to their partners—are first responders. It’s imperative to be able mobile devices. It lets them access the to share video information with agencies who share streaming videos used by the RTMCs responsibility for traffic safety and the management of traffic and obtain real-time information incidents. However, that has been a costly endeavor in the on road conditions in Montgomery, past because it required a lot of equipment on both sides. Mobile and Birmingham.” “It’s an app you can use in the mornings before you hit the road, or in the evenings before you head home so you can be aware of any incidents or delays,” adds Holmes. “In a nutshell, it’s all about getting the traveling public to and from their destinations safely and efficiently.”

The ALGO Traffic app provides streaming traffic videos and real-time information on road conditions in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham.


Montgomery RTMC Team. From left to right: Kristofer Kiefer, ALDOT Region Traffic Engineer; Michael Taylor, ALDOT Central Office Computer Services; Richard Adams, ALDOT ATS Maintenance Supervisor; Chris Hilyer, ALDOT Statewide ITS Program Manager; Joy Smith, GS&P RTMC Operator; Scott Harris, GS&P RTMC Manager; Catherine Shonk, GS&P RTMC Senior Operator; Rodney Hall, ALDOT Central Office Computer Services

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“We didn’t just take a cookie-cutter approach to hiring operations staff... putting an exceptional team together—augmented by our own experience and a strong understanding of the client’s needs and business operations— played a pivotal role in getting the RTMC operational in such a short span of time.”

Allowing ALDOT to maximize the benefits of its Intelligent Transportation Systems, GS&P’s staffing and operations efforts at the Montgomery RTMC have resulted in a safer and more efficient transportation system in the area. As a direct outcome of the project, GS&P was selected to provide statewide staffing services for ALDOT’s various regional traffic management centers. “We didn’t just take a cookie-cutter approach to hiring operations staff,” says Whiticker. “We were extremely thoughtful in our selections and made sure we brought on people who were fully capable of coordinating with ALDOT partners. I believe that putting an exceptional team together—augmented by our own experience and a strong understanding of the client’s needs and business operations—played a pivotal role in getting the RTMC operational in such a short span of time.” “I am most proud of the way our team was able to take the past experiences and expertise of our individual staff members and win a project in an area that GS&P had never served before,” concludes Holmes. “Since the Montgomery RTMC’s first day of operation, our staff has worked hard to help ALDOT achieve its goals to improve safety, system reliability and efficiency, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the overall level of customer service.”


GOALS: IMPROVE SAFETY, SYSTEM RELIABILITY AND EFFICIENCY, REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION, AND ENHANCE THE OVERALL LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE.

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PIC Ranzy L. Whiticker, p.e. PM Carla Holmes, p.e., ptoe

Lori Adams Scott Harris Laura E. Hartley, p.e. Kendra McCoy Blair C. Perry, p.e. Catherine Shonk Joy Smith


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Showcase 9 - Montgomery Regional Traffic Management Center