Human Factors in Traffic Management Centers:
A Literature Review. (UMTRI-99-5)

Christopher Nowakowski, Paul Green, and Mark Kojima

April, 1999

The number of vehicles is increasing faster than the number of new roads being built, resulting in more freeways experiencing heavy traffic. Although traffic management centers (TMCs) are not new, growth in their number has only occurred recently. The purpose of this project was to review the current literature on human factors and interview local TMC personnel to address these 4 questions:

  1. What are the goals, methods, and technologies used by TMCs?

    The 5 ideal goals are 1) maximize the available roadway capacity, 2) minimize the impact of incidents, 3) contribute to the regulation of demand, 4) assist in emergency services, 5) create public confidence in the TMC.

  2. How are TMCs similar to control centers in other domains?

    TMCs have been compared to air traffic control (ATC), vessel traffic services, and computer network management. Although some similarities existed, little evidence of human factors considerations existed in any domain except ATC.

  3. What TMC human factors studies or guidelines exist?

    Previous studies have examined operator capabilities, monitor viewing distances, camera controls, and other TMC systems. Georgia Tech provided guidelines in the Human Factors Handbook for Advanced Traffic Management Center Design.

  4. What TMC human factors topics require further research?

    Several TMCs mentioned a need for traffic-information website guidelines.

Graphical Abstract (.pdf) | UMTRI-99-5 Full Report (.pdf)


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