PennDOT Celebrates Southeastern Regional Traffic Management Center Grand Opening in Upper Merion Township – PennWatch
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 6 Executive Louis Belmonte was joined by Pennsylvania Department of General Services Acting Deputy Secretary for Capital Programs Greg Kirk, Pennsylvania State Police, and other state and local officials to celebrate the Southeastern Regional Traffic Management Center grand opening at PennDOT District 6 headquarters in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County.
“The new Southeastern RTMC will expand our capabilities by providing a larger and more
modern facility for the management of PennDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS),” Belmonte said. “This will allow us to optimize our operational strategies and technologies and continue our commitment to manage a safe transportation network and help motorists move freely throughout the Philadelphia region.”
Currently, the Southeastern RTMC, serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and
Philadelphia counties, manages the busiest and largest transportation network in Pennsylvania while operating over 50 percent of PennDOT’s ITS devices, including 477 Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, 207 Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), over 700 sensors/readers for travel time and incident detection, and over 700 miles of fiber.
PennDOT anticipates that the number of field devices will double through continued investment in advanced technology, including connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) strategies, as well as owning and operating traffic signals as part of an initiative enhancing cooperation and coordination with municipalities.
The new RTMC will also increase District 6’s capabilities to operate Advanced Traffic
Management Systems such as Variable Speed Limits which reduce crashes by enforcing
different speed limits along the corridor; Queue Detection/Warning Systems providing real-time traffic detection to alert motorists of stopped or slow traffic ahead; Ramp Metering Operations which regulate ramp traffic flow as it enters the freeway; and Future Flex Lanes that provide more corridor space to accommodate changing travel demand at various times of the day.
In addition, the RTMC serves as the Incident Command Center and will provide seating for
coordinating partner agencies such as the PSP, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission,
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, City of Philadelphia, Delaware River Port
Authority, Pennsylvania National Guard, counties, municipalities, and others during major
incidents, inclement weather, or catastrophic highway events.
“Troopers patrol 44,000 miles of highway, and we can’t be everywhere at once. Every traffic camera operated and monitored from this center is an additional eye on the road,” said Captain Gerard McShea, commanding officer of State Police Troop K, Philadelphia. “The technology here can reduce crashes, warn motorists of the dangers ahead, and slow traffic down in areas where Troopers need to respond. So, this technology helps get drivers to work on time and Troopers home safely at the end of the day.”
The new center’s digital video wall architecture will increase video feed capacity and seamlessly display data and video to provide situational awareness necessary for improved response time and decision-making. Video sharing and incident coordination with other stakeholders, partner agencies, and the public will significantly improve with the new ability to transcode more video faster and with better quality than the current system. In addition, the new data network will be more robust and offer a much greater throughput, facilitating more efficient collection and dissemination of traffic incident data to the public and partner agencies.