ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) Management consists of four areas of operation: Traffic Management Center (TMC), Traffic Signal Operations, ITS Operations and ITS Engineering
Traffic Management Center
The TMC is located in a secure area of the basement in the Central Office Complex. The hours of operation are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The TMC is ran by Communications Operators, TMC Operators, an Assistant TMC Manager and a TMC Manager.
The TMC control room is made up of seven separate workstations. The workstations are used for traffic management operations, radio dispatching, training and for interacting with the public.
The Communications Operators are responsible for radio dispatching. They receive and monitor radio traffic throughout the state. The workstations are equipped with two statewide communication systems. One is a non-emergency radio dispatch system used by ARDOT maintenance forces that allows inter-communications between Central Office, District, and in-the-field personnel. This system is owned and operated by ARDOT. The second is the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) used to communicate with the Arkansas Highway Police. The AWIN system, maintained by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, is a statewide radio system that allows inter-agency communications, primary for public safety. In addition to the radios, each Communication Operator has access to a variety of computer systems and programs, to enhance their dispatching abilities.
The TMC Operators are responsible for monitoring, detecting, responding and reporting on incidents that affect the State highway network. They monitor and operate ARDOT ITS cameras. They monitor a variety of traffic data websites and broadcast news feeds.
TMC Operators manage ARDOT’s Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), which allow the display of actionable information to in-road users about nearby incidents, road or lane closures, Amber Alerts. The TMC Operators also enter real time traveler information on I-Drive Arkansas so that the public will “know before they go”.
Traffic Signal Operations
The Traffic Operations group has multiple functions; signalized intersection operations, remote traffic monitoring, and roadside weather information systems (RWIS). Their mission sees them operating across the entire State.
Newly constructed Traffic signals are inspected for compliance with ARDOT specifications and signal timing is implemented before turned-on. In addition to new signals, Traffic Ops also reviews existing traffic signals in response to a possible issues or as a part of a larger traffic study. An essential role is to provide guidance and technical assistance related to traffic signal operations and performance.
A tool of traffic operations are portable traffic camera trailers to observe traffic patterns. Traffic Ops group provides deployment, maintenance, and operations of the units.
Roadside Weather Information Systems (RWIS) are used by the Department to assist in mitigating the effects of weather. Each ARDOT District will be equipped with two stations to allow remote monitoring of weather conditions. Traffic Ops installs and provides ongoing maintenance and operations.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) uses various technologies to provide innovative services to enable users to be better informed; improve overall safety, provide a more coordinated, and ‘smarter’ use of the State’s transport networks. ARDOT’s ITS Operations is responsible for ensuring the Department’s ITS infrastructure and statewide Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system are operational around the clock. ITS Operations is composed of ITS Specialists divided into three sub disciplines: ITS Shop, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
The ITS Shop is located in the Maintenance Division in Little Rock and serves as the statewide hub of maintenance operations by remotely monitoring ITS elements around the State. The ITS Shop provides technical services to the Traffic Management Center (TMC), manages statewide inventory, operates a service bay and workshop; provides support and repair services for all ITS and LMR equipment.
ITS Specialists are responsible for installation, maintenance and repair of ITS infrastructure statewide. This includes Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), traffic cameras, and Highway Advisory Radios (HAR). This technology helps the Traffic Management Center, Districts and the traveling public make informed decisions in an efficient manner. ARDOT ITS is currently made up of almost 200 department-owned pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) traffic cameras, 60 DM and a dozen permanent HAR sites around the state. ITS continues to grow around the state.
LMR is a person-to-person voice communication system consisting of two-way radio transceivers (an audio transmitter and receiver in one unit) which can be stationary (base station units), mobile (installed in vehicles), or portable (handheld). There are ITS Specialists around the state that operate as radio technicians responsible for maintaining the radio network in their assigned districts. Although they are ITS personnel, they work closely with the District personnel coordinating repairs, unit changes and installations. In turn, the District personnel assist in the technician’s maintenance of the repeater facilities. Each specialist is trained and equipped to maintain ARDOT’s LMR system. The statewide VHF conventional radio system supports ARDOT and AHP communications needs and is composed of 46 tower sites with repeater coverage, base radios at all District Headquarters, Resident Engineer, and Area Maintenance Headquarter offices, approximately 1200 mobile/vehicle radios, a similar amount of portable/handheld radios, as well as microwave radio links and fiber optic connections to the department’s intranet.
ITS Operations works closely with the Department’s Public Information Office in order to provide live video feeds from the ITS cameras around the state via iDriveArkansas.com iDriveArkansas.com provides the traveling public with current information about Arkansas highways including real-time video footage from ITS traffic cameras.
ITS Management Section Engineers conduct planning studies, warrant analysis, plan-set design, specification development, Systems Engineering Analysis (SEA) & Concept of Operations (ConOps) reports, signal timing, MUTCD compliance, project reviews related to signalized intersections, roadway lighting, Intelligent Transportation Systems, flashing beacons. Engineer team also conducts operational reviews including signal timing and corridor signal coordination timing.