CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new statewide emergency traffic management system designed by The Business Solutions Group at Oregon State University has gone online and is being used by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
ODOT’s new Transportation Operation Center Systems (TOCS) went into production this month. The system allows regional Traffic Management Operation Centers the ability to better coordinate incident response statewide with agencies such as the Oregon State Police.
OSU students and faculty with Business Solutions Group developed the components to the program that aims to unify Oregon’s five traffic regions, align communication between ODOT and the Oregon State Police, and better coordinate messages to the public through electronic highway warning signs, telephone 511 systems, the news media, and the Internet.
Oregon is the first state in the nation that has a system with this level of integration in its traffic systems. Business Solutions Group engineers created a unified incident management program for Oregon’s interstates and highways. The state is divided into five geographic regions that vary in the hardware and software used to coordinate and track events on state-managed highways.
“This was an ambitious project with far-reaching impact,” said Mark Van Patten, director of the Business Solutions Group within the OSU College of Business. “It was our job to make sure the system serves the needs of all the stakeholders, including operators, traffic managers and critical response units.”
Rod Kamm, project manager for the new system at ODOT, said the system results in increased efficiencies and allows ODOT to better track and manage incidents on the highway.
“We are giving operators a place to manage all events and incidents that happen on the highways,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to have one system to replace a patchwork of different software systems used by various agencies statewide.”
ODOT traffic operations centers statewide are now using the new system to enter and track all highway incidents. Operators are still training on functions that allow for incident coordination between ODOT and Oregon State Police. ODOT anticipates full implementation of these functions to commence this fall in time for the busy winter operations season.
Kamm said unifying and centralizing traffic response systems will also have a long-term positive effect for consumers.
“There are indirect efficiencies through the savings associated with managing fewer applications that will result in better use of the taxpayer's dollar,” he said. “In addition, it will speed up response time in critical situations and improve communication among different agencies, which ultimately better serves the needs of the public.
The Business Solutions Group is a program in the Oregon State University College of Business that focuses on important training and development opportunities for students while providing professional custom product-testing and software development solutions for its clients.