In the late 1990s, Monroe County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) initiated a project to integrate ITS technologies into its traffic management infrastructure to improve traffic operations throughout the city of Rochester, NY and along the County's arterial roadways. As a result of that effort, the regional traffic operations center (RTOC) opened in 2002. The RTOC is a joint transportation facility financed by the Monroe County Department of Aviation (MCDA), MCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Until recently, MCDOT lacked real-time visual traffic surveillance capability at that facility. To address this need, MCDOT undertook the ITS Camera Deployment and Systems Integration Project. During the first phase, five closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras were deployed. Installation began in September 2004, with construction and acceptance testing completed in February 2005. In 2006, MCDOT completed an evaluation of these initial installations.
An evaluation plan was developed to identify the impact, if any, the monitoring capability established by the installation of CCTV cameras has had on the management of intersection traffic and to identify the benefits and/or costs, monetary and functional, experienced as a result of the system integration plan. Performance measures were developed and a data collection plan was set in motion to gather the necessary information. The evaluation report contains a combination of qualitative and quantitative measures to assess the effectiveness and benefits derived from Monroe County’s initial CCTV deployment.
Operators at the RTOC maintained a log book, keeping track of incident milestones and describing their actions from October 2005 though February 1, 2006. Operators were able to validate incidents more quickly than they could have at locations with system sensors alone and without an on-site observer. In general, validation of incidents took place within 4 minutes. Operators were also able to reverse any changes they made to signal timings within 5 minutes of an incident’s conclusion. This is in contrast with the 10 minutes needed, on average, to validate incidents at locations with only system sensors present and the 15 or more minutes needed when an observer must be dispatched to the scene.
- Incident validation times reduced by 50 to 80 percent saving between 5 and 12 minutes per incident.
Using a micro-simulation model and a case-study incident, the evaluation team quantified traffic flow impacts of a quick response by modifying traffic signal timings during the incident.
- The simulation test results indicated that for every minute of delay in reacting to the incident, the total travel time, total delay, and total fuel consumption within the affected area would have increased by 3 to 5 percent.
- Under the assumption that the initial CCTV installations have allowed operators to react at least 5 minutes quicker than they could with system sensor information alone, the annual cost savings to the traveling public due to the use of CCTV was estimated at over $50,000 per year when compared to the use of system sensors alone and over $125,000 per year for locations without any means of gathering information short of an on-site visit.