A U.S. Department of Transportation report, entitled Metropolitan Transportation Management Center Concepts of Operation: A Cross-Cutting Study, published in 1999, provides extensive information on operations at eight TMCs within the United States and Canada. While a primary focus of each TMC studied is freeway management, several are also responsible for traffic signal system operation and various aspects of transit system management. The study began with a review of existing published TMC operations material. The following eight centers, chosen for detailed investigation and documentation, represent a broad range in their systems’ size, age, purpose, and technical approach:
- Detroit, Michigan, Intelligent Transportation Systems Center
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, MONITOR
- Long Island, New York, INFORM
- Boston, Massachusetts, Integrated Project Control System
- Houston, Texas, TranStar
- Phoenix, Arizona, TrailMaster
- Atlanta, Georgia, NaviGAtor
- Toronto, Ontario, COMPASS
Major issues challenging most existing centers, such as staffing and the relationship between operations and maintenance functions, were identified, providing potential TMC implementers and existing TMC managers with real-world examples of how their peers are addressing daily operational issues. Some of the lessons learned (e.g., underestimation of operator workload, transition from video monitor walls) are indicative of human factors issues which are concerned with the design of TMC system elements.
One subject discussed in this study is that certain security implementations should be considered for TMCs based on location and internal operations. Levels of security varied widely – some sites in the study employed free and open access (except for the control room). Other TMC locations had “swipe cards” that restricted access for each room, stairwell, and elevator. There is no correct level of security that should be implemented across TMCs; instead, each specific location should be examined individually to determine what security measures are appropriate.
- Use the TMC's location and services as important determinants for setting the security level. Although the appropriate level of security varied widely across TMCs, many centers used their location (i.e. neighborhood) and their services provided as important factors for determining their security needs.
- Hire law enforcement officers to help provide additional security. At many TMCs, the presence of law enforcement officers provided an additional boost to the security level.
As with any technology center, measures must be taken to ensure the appropriate level of security at a TMC. Security needs may vary accordingly across TMCs depending on, for instance, the sensitivity, confidentiality, and value of services provided. In addition, the relative safety of a neighborhood may also provide insight into how much security is needed. For an added layer of security, law enforcement officers could also be utilized. By ensuring a proper level of security, the safety of an agency's TMC will be achieved, providing the agency with one less issue about which to be concerned.