A TMS is any system focused on improving the efficiency, safety, and predictability of travel. For the later half of the 20th century, and the beginning of the 21st, TMSs have been deployed to fulfill the ever increasing transportation needs of society. Modern TMSs are very complex systems, combining field equipment, operations personnel, communications, and advanced information technology to meet their mission. Examples of frequently developed and utilized TMSs are:
• Freeway management system – Such a TMS focuses on the management of freeway traffic using a variety of technologies and personnel. Its geographic scope may range from one interstate through an urban area, to several interstates throughout an urban area, to one interstate throughout the length of a State. An example of a TMS – freeway management system is the
Virginia Department of Transportation’s Northern Virginia Smart Traffic Center that manages traffic flow on the Interstates in Virginia within metropolitan Washington, DC. The center includes the use of: Closed Circuit Television – to monitor traffic flow and to verify incidents; service patrols – to monitor traffic flow and to facilitate incident resolution; loop detectors – to monitor traffic flow and detect incidents; Variable Message Signs – to communicate with the general automotive traffic; and coordination and communication with Public Safety Agencies and the Media.
• Traffic signal control system – This class of system manages traffic flow on arterials. Most major metropolitan cities include some form of an integrated signal control system to improve traffic flow on their roadway networks.
As stated above, contemporary TMSs are extremely complex systems. Indeed, they have become a system of systems; in particular, the level of complexity of information technology included in the systems is high. As such, it is no longer feasible to proceed with the development and maintenance of these systems in the classic “construction” approach, where there is an initial creation of detailed design specifications, the search for low-cost bidders, and then construction.
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