Transport For London - Real Time Traffic Management Operations

Transport For London - Real Time Traffic Management Operations


P Davies, Transport for London, UK



This abstract provides an overview of TfL's real time traffic management operations for London and the developments in systems, processes and procedures to support a 24 x 7, 365 days per year, World Class operation, as well as the systems, process and procedures development to provide pan London visibility for the co-ordination of roadworks, streetworks and events.

Background Transport for London formed the Directorate of Traffic Management in May 2003 with the objective of ?getting London moving? by minimising disruption and optimising traffic operations on London?s main roads.

The DTM?s vision is for an integrated traffic management service to provide proactive responses to incidents and events and co-ordination of all works on the road network. And communication of road network information to the public. In summary, TfL's strategy is to integrate and make available a comprehensive set of traffic related information, ranging from a strategic view of key indicators across the network to how to best manage the traffic at a single junction. The DTM has a number of initiatives to provide and share information on the network, its performance and events and incidents that take place on it and these are explained herein.

London Traffic Control Centre (LTCC) The LTCC was established to improve real time operational management of London?s main roads and has demonstrated that the Police, traffic managers, bus operators, signal operations engineers and fault management can work more effectively together managing incidents and events on the network. The LTCC was launched in January 2003 prior to the introduction of congestion charging in London and operates 24 x 7 hours, 365 days a year. The London Traffic Control Centre (LTCC) is the central co-ordination point for managing the road network.

The process of managing disruption has four main stages, all underpinned by good Communication:

1. The Information Desk collates information from many sources. All verified congestion is logged and area monitoring staff are alerted. Planned works or events on the network are reviewed and appropriate traffic management and operational plans developed.
2. Area Monitors review CCTV images of traffic flow and decide appropriate action. In addition, a map display provides real time representation of the performance of the network, based on levels of congestion to provide early warning of incidents and events causing major congestion.
3. Where enforcement is appropriate, Police Area Traffic Control (ATC) assigns traffic wardens, police officers and congestion units to provide on-street traffic management. ATC also alerts any necessary emergency services.
4. The Traffic Update Desk provides relevant information to the public, media and motoring organisations via the London Traffic Information System (LTIS).

The London Traffic Information System (LTIS): incident and event control system The London Traffic Information Systems (LTIS) captures data from a wide range of sources to provide the control room staff with an immediate view on the progress of incidents, key scheduled events and traffic congestion. Key sources of real time information include CentreComm (Buses), ATC (police) and the LTCC operation itself. LTIS also provides historical trend analysis, to track longer-term changes, prioritise hot spots on the network for signal timing review, equipment modernisation, on street enforcement or development of traffic management contingency plans.

LTIS information is available through the TfL Intranet and can present both detailed breakdowns of the current activity and map based overviews. LTIS can also be reached via mobile devices, allowing TfL management to have access to operational information at all times. LTIS is about to undergo the first of a series of major enhancements, to make it easier to use to provide real time congestion information and to link it to journey planning systems and plans to extend the range of LTIS information through a significant enhancement of the TfL website are in place.

LTIS remains at the centre of DTM?s information plans and its development programme includes linking into related transport information services, through the Travel Information Service (TiS). This will extend the coverage of planned events available in LTIS and allow greater access to the detail of incidents affecting the London network.

COMET: real-time traffic monitoring system The COMET system provides real time information on the performance of the traffic in central London, thus enabling the London Traffic Control Centre (LTCC) to react to incidents and congestion in real time.

Two key sources of traffic information are collected by COMET and displayed on a map based system:
1. Congestion and traffic flow information, derived from the loops in the road that register traffic movement and manage the traffic signals (the SCOOT system). This information is updated every five minutes, and currently provides data for central London and main roads out to the North and South Circular roads.
2. Journey Time information, derived from a video camera based system that reads vehicle number plates and calculates average journey times between pairs of cameras. This information is updated every ten minutes and currently provides data for the Congestion Charging Zone and a few km beyond.

COMET calculates daily profiles (historic trend) so that current congestion, journey time etc values can be compared with a benchmark figure for that time and day of the week.


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