Springfield's first Transportation Management Center (TMC) was established in 1998 by the City of Springfield and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). That Transportation Management Center was located in the Discovery Center and was highlighted in the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration publication (FHWA-HRC-MW-99-01) Intelligent Transportation Systems in the Heartland. Though the first TMC wasn’t established until 1998, the concept of the TMC goes as far back as the early 1980s, when the City and MoDOT began integrating the signal systems operated by both jurisdictions. Unlike many municipalities, Springfield’s traffic moves primarily on arterial streets, rather than highways or freeways that run through the city, making a single, integrated signal system essential to improve traffic flow.
In March 2011, City and MoDOT staff moved into the new Transportation Management Center of the Ozarks. The new TMC is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) GOLD certified facility through the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). This new facility is 11,500 square feet and was constructed and equipped for a total cost of $3.2 million dollars. Approximately $1.5 million of federal funds from two federal earmarks were utilized along with approximately $1.7 million from state and local funds.
The new TMC provides oversight of the joint City/MoDOT signal system and Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) field devices in Springfield; however, the Center is designed to expand to incorporate additional Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in MoDOT’s Southwest District and potentially other local regional hubs. The primary goals of the new TMC are to increase customer service, improve system-wide safety, and reduce system congestion and green house gas emissions.
The new TMC is another City of Springfield/MoDOT partnership in a long line which demonstrates the commitment by both organizations to providing a safe and efficient Transportation System for all users in the Springfield Region. It has brought City and MoDOT engineers under a single roof in a modern, accessible facility. The two major functions of the TMC — monitoring traffic and operating the signal system — go hand-in-hand and will benefit the traveling public by being in a shared space that is designed to increase capabilities and improve jurisdictional communications.
The new TMC acts as the nerve center for the ATMS and signal system, where City and State personnel utilize the citywide computerized traffic signal system, closed-circuit real-time traffic monitoring camera system, 911 CAD system interface, and other useful equipment to address changes in traffic flow patterns and respond to incidents that occur throughout the transportation system. Using the 911 CAD interface, traffic cameras and vehicle detection sensors, TMC operators can identify traffic related incidents and monitor the flow of traffic along major arterials and freeways throughout the city and southwest region of MoDOT. When incidents such as crashes or stalled vehicles occur, TMC operators can relay valuable information to 911 operators who dispatch emergency response personnel to the scene. TMC operators can change Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) to alert motorist of incidents ahead of them. TMC operators can add their observation comments to the rss newsfeed on the OzarksTraffic.com website. TMC operators can also modify the traffic signal programming, if necessary, in an effort to alleviate the impact of such incidents to the flow of traffic. TMC operators monitor the local cable tv channel that broadcasts real time traffic camera images to local cable subscribers.
The new TMC features a media/tour center room, located adjacent to the lobby that serves as focus point for news media to broadcast live from the TMC to provide up-to-date breaking news during major traffic events being managed by TMC staff. It dually serves as an education center to teach local school children, during field trips, about what services the TMC provides the region and the Transportation Engineering profession.