ADOT unveils $2.1M upgrade to Traffic Operations Center

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation has invested more than $2 million to keep you moving safely on the state's roadways.

The money, which came from the Federal Highway Administration, went into a major refurbishment of the agency's Phoenix-based Traffic Operations Center. The center opened in 1992. It's where ADOT personnel monitor traffic throughout the state.

"The goal is to help dispatch ADOT crews and other first responders to highway incidents, assist drivers in avoiding congestion, and providing information to the public about crashes, closures or other restrictions," according to a news release from ADOT.

“Our goal is simple: to keep drivers moving safely around the state, whether it’s for their daily commute or on a trip to another region of Arizona,” said Senior Deputy State Engineer Rob Samour. “Because of the modernization of the Traffic Operations Center, we are now among the best in the country for monitoring traffic flow and providing options to drivers when there are problems on our highways.”

The upgrade gives TOC personnel a variety of tools to use -- roadway sensors, overhead message boards, video cameras, on-route travel time estimates, ramp meters and the 511 Traveler Information system -- to manage Arizona's nearly 7,000 miles of highways.

"They can hear an accident, see the crash and act on it in a very short time frame," explained ADOT spokesman Tim Tait. "That gives us quick action to move traffic around and get people to where they want to go."

The centerpiece of the upgrade, which was a year in the making, is a video wall of 40 reconfigurable 55-inch flat-panel displays that gives ADOT a real-time look at what's happening on roads.