Analysis of the Capabilities and Operations of the Northern Virginia Traffic Management System

Report No: 94-TAR4

Published in 1994

About the report:

This report describes research to determine how the Northern Virginia Traffic Management System (TMS) operations may be improved by making modifications to the existing system. This study was completed during the period of June through September, 1993. The TMS has the potential to both improve incident response as well as provide commuters with timely traffic information. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has made a significant investment in the TMS in terms of manpower and equipment. However, most of the TMS equipment has been in operation for nearly a decade, and many of the components have reliability problems. This results in several procedures being performed manually even though they have been designed to be performed automatically thereby placing a heavy load on TMS operators and hampering TMS effectiveness. A five person team examined both system factors, such as computers and software, and human factors, such as how the TMS operators used the resources available to them. The team made recommendations for how TMS operations might be improved through software and procedural modifications. The most essential suggestions involve maintaining a high percentage of functional loop detectors and improving the flow of information into the TMS. Improvements that would enhance TMS operations include customized software subroutines, installation of a State Police Officer at the TMS, and alterations to the variable message signs. These recommendations are detailed in the report. Although this report focuses on the Northern Virginia TMS, the authors believe that the analysis shown herein is applicable to other traffic operations centers throughout the U.S.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Brian L. Smith, Ph.D.

Last updated: December 23, 2023

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: