The High Price of Congestion and
Three Ways to Improve It

We've all been there, cursing brake lights and pulling out our hair due to poor signal timing. Despite, or sometimes on account of, our intricate knowledge of signal timing, we too get stressed and frustrated when stuck in traffic.

In this month's issue of The Source, we take a look at congestion and one tool gaining popularity among agencies nationwide - central traffic management software.
The High Cost of Congestion
 There is more to it than just time and fuel.

It's not just you. Drivers across the nation battle traffic woes every day. The most recent reports estimate that congestion costs the average American $818 each year in wasted time and gas. When you multiply that by the millions of drivers, the end result is quite astonishing.

But congestion costs way more than just wasted time and fuel. It can lead to serious human costs that impact our physical and emotional health, like stress, road rage, unsafe road conditions, and poor breathing conditions.

Because of the toll on our roadways, the environment, and our sanity, agencies have been in search of a solution to help mitigate the wide variety of factors that contribute to congestion.
What is Central Traffic Management Software?
Controlling traffic conveniently from one location.

Derived out of increasing traffic demand and the need for reducing the cost of congestion, traffic management software (TMS) enables entire signal networks to be managed via a singular central location, generally a traffic management center. 

Contrary to the age-old adage of set-it-and-forget it, TMS, like McCain's Transparity® TMS, allows agencies to proactively manage traffic flow and promote mobility through real-time data collection and management tools. 

By regionally monitoring, tracking, and analyzing traffic conditions and devices, TMS enables agencies to easily expand their general traffic management functions to include any number of ITS applications such as adaptive signal control, incident management, transit signal priority, and emergency response.
3 Ways TMS Reduces Congestion
How TMS moves people safely and efficiently through intersections.

Regardless of how many bells and whistles are incorporated into an agency's TMS, each system's goal is the same - move people safely and efficiently through intersections. Below are three ways TMS achieves this and helps reduce congestion.

Get the Big Picture
Perhaps one of the most important features of a TMS is enabling agencies to make decisions based on the big picture. Allowing their entire network - traffic signals, ramp meters, incident management, etc. - to work together rather than independently. Best of all, this can all be achieved without the cost and risk associated with having technicians manually gather data from the field.
Measure Effectiveness
By logging stats from system-wide devices, TMS is able to produce measures of effectiveness (MOEs) like volume, speed, queue lengths, delay, number of stops, and travel time. This data helps engineers identify trouble spots and system inefficiencies, creating a foundation for smoother traffic flow.

Management at Your Fingertips
Agencies can remotely manage the configuration of ITS devices through a TMS to update things like signal timing, battery backup settings, and video detection zones. This enables agencies to promptly respond to issues and driver complaints rather than send a technician to investigate the validity of a claim - saving time and money, and improving system uptime.

Want to learn more about traffic management software and if a system might be right for you? Contact us!

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