The ALDOT Mobile Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) is responsible for ensuring safe transportation in and around the Mobile area. Their responsibilities, among other things, include monitoring and responding to traffic incidents, maintaining the tunnels, roadways, signage, cameras, and lighting systems, and the tracking of all ALDOT equipment. The Mobile RTMC must also frequently provide reports on their performance in these areas to the central ALDOT office in Montgomery, and Federal officials. In the past, the Mobile RTMC had been recording all operational data with pen and paper. This manual approach made it difficult to compile and report on data, when needed, for a variety of time periods. Prism Systems, Inc. noticed the ineffectiveness of this approach and offered to provide a true database solution. A new electronic record would replace paper forms with digital forms while also adding new data fields that needed to be captured. All of this was accomplished while saving countless man-hours of existing State employees. Prism Systems’ solution is a web-based application called Transportation Operations and Performance System (TOPS).
TOPS tracks and reports on traffic incidents, maintenance tasks, and shift information. In short, TOPS is used to streamline day-to-day operations at the RTMC. Because all of the information is stored digitally, the system can quickly generate reports over user-selectable dates and times using custom metrics. Through discussions with the RTMC, Prism was able to replicate historical paper reports and further identify which data fields and reports the RTMC would like to include in the new database. The operators at the RTMC fill out incident or maintenance information as the event occurs, while the administrators can view all of that information from a high level and make concurrent decisions based on that information.
Since the deployment of TOPS, the RTMC has been able to:
- Nearly eliminate time needed to manually pull together ‘standard’ reports.
- Accurately predict when and where roadway congestion will occur.
- Clear traffic incidents more quickly by more effectively locating response vehicles based on data.
- Discover areas that are prone to traffic incidents.
- Monitor performance and identify areas of operation that need improvement.
- Track the financial costs of individual incidents, including the costs of response vehicles and the costs of damage to state property.
- Identify and track equipment that needs to be repaired or replaced.
Prism Systems continues to work with the Mobile RTMC to expand capability of TOPS software but is also now involved with other ALDOT projects. One of the new projects is a system to manage the ferries that travel Mobile Bay between Dauphin Island, Alabama and Fort Morgan, Alabama. This system will monitor the number of cars in line for the ferries, compute waiting times to board the ferries, and publish information to new signs in efforts to maximize ferry utilization. Prism Systems is excited to continue to work with the ALDOT Mobile RTMC and reap the public benefits to our roadways.