Organization and Structure of Traffic Management Centers:
Two Case Studies in Michigan (UMTRI-99-13)

Mark Kojima, Christopher Nowakowski, and Paul Green

August, 1999

This report describes two traffic management centers (TMCs) in the state of Michigan: (1) the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) center, which monitors the expressways in the greater Detroit area and (2) the Oakland County Road Commission center, which monitors the surface streets for the northern Detroit suburbs. The MDOT center consists of two systems: (1) a legacy system of cameras, changeable message signs, loop detectors, and ramp meters on 32 miles of downtown freeways and (2) a newer system of cameras, signs, and loop detectors to expand coverage to 180 miles of freeways. MDOTıs goal is to assist in responding to incidents and to communicate traffic information to the public. Since alerts to most incidents occur via 911 calls, a key feature is the collocation of the state police 911 dispatch officers in the TMC allowing the state police access to the MDOT cameras and information. At the time of the interviews, the center was staffed 12 hours per day on weekdays only, though as of December, 1998, it is currently being staffed 24/7.

The Oakland center is fairly new and was originally constructed for incident management. However, with a limited number of cameras and so many miles of surface streets, the role of the center shifted to planning and coordination, so there are no operators in the control center. The centerıs current tasks include tracking all road repairs, planning for traffic signal timings for major events (at a sports arena complex), and coordinating with government agencies such as the local police. The Oakland center has an extensive network of video-based sensors for monitoring traffic and optimizing the timing of traffic lights; however, that video is not available in the traffic center. The center is planning to add a few cameras for incident monitoring around the sports complex for operation and use mainly by the local police.

Graphical Abstract (.pdf) | UMTRI-99-13 Full Report (.pdf)


Close This Window