Q: What is a "TOC"?
A: Sacramento County’s new Traffic Operations Center (TOC) is the intersection where the asphalt network meets the information superhighway. Traditionally, traffic engineers have used predictive methods of traffic control to manage traffic flow. The Traffic Operations Center facility offers for the first time the possibility of improving traffic flow as problems occur. By acting as a focal point for traffic information the TOC will permit engineers to more effectively use existing traffic management tools and provide a platform for the implementation of future technology advances in traffic management.
Through extensive partnering arrangements with private sector corporations and information sharing agreements with other government agencies an unprecedented level of real time information will be available in a single location. Traffic engineers will be able to use this resource to gather current roadway condition information for decision making to improve overall traffic flow in the long term and possibly reduce congestion by suggesting alternate routes to drivers when incidents occur in rush hour traffic.
A high speed fiber optic data network will bring video images of high volume traffic locations, law enforcement situation reports, and intersection telemetry all together in one location. Using this information engineers will be able to adjust signal timing and priority where appropriate and communicate with the traveling public via changeable message signs and roadway information radio transmitters. Drivers will have more current information about current route conditions and the roadway network itself will become more efficient under conditions of high demand. Today’s investment in facilities and technology will reduce delay, congestion, and pollution for many tomorrows.
Q: Why is a TOC necessary?
A: Rapid growth and development in Sacramento county has placed tremendous demands on the roadway network. In many cases there are no available alternatives to reduce congestion other than to improve the efficiency of the existing roadway network. Information technology offers this possibility but facilities must be built to house and apply this new tool.
Q: Where is the TOC located?
A: Sacramento County’s TOC is located at the north end of Traffic Way in the county transportation complex.
Q: Why is a new building required?
A: To gain the full value of this new technology a "purpose built" facility has been designed. Extensive design effort has gone into ensuring that the building design enhances the desired capabilities. The lack of existing available space and the requisite compromises that are required to fit this sort of a facility into an existing building drove the decision to create a new purpose built building.
Q: When did the TOC enter service?
A: The TOC was scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2001, but actually opened in the third quarter of 2001.
Q: How will the TOC benefit me as a taxpayer and motorist?
A: The TOC will benefit motorists in two ways; First, by enhancing the productivity of traffic engineers the daily level of service drivers experience should improve. Faster access to more data for decision making means engineers will be able to address more traffic problems more quickly. Second, traffic engineers in the county of Sacramento will for the first time have the opportunity to participate in ‘incident management’. Incident management is the practice of responding to a traffic disruption as it occurs. Using incident information rapidly collected at the TOC through information sharing agreements traffic engineers will be able to share their knowledge of the roadway network with motorists. Communicated via changeable message signs and roadway information radio transmitters, notification of problems and possible alternative routes can be passed to motorists before they end up stuck in a motionless traffic jam. Currently there is no capability to do this.
Q: I have a problem with the red light cameras (photo enforcement) at a certain intersection. Who can I talk to about that?
A: Our office has nothing whatsoever to do with those cameras. Sergeant Todd Deluca of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is in charge of photo enforcement for red-light running violations.
Doug Maas, Senior Transportation Engineer