Miami-Dade County's Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) is funded by the Florida Highway Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, the People's Transportation Plan (PTP) and Road Impact Fee funds.
These monies are used in the procurement of field hardware/equipment (i.e. Type 170E traffic controllers, traffic controller cabinets, modems, etc.) for both replacements and upgrades, system management, a traffic management software system - KITS, along with software enhancements, field construction labor, and much more. To date, nearly $9 million has been allocated to this project in hopes of creating one of the most advanced ATMS in the country.
In the 1950s and 1960s
Traffic signals were first installed six or seven decades ago in what was then known as Dade County. For many years, each signal was individually controlled by an isolated, electro-mechanical, controller. Traffic volumes were low and there was no need to synchronize the signals with each other.
In the 1950's and 1960's, traffic volumes increased and a need to synchronize the signals on the most major arterials became apparent. Simplistic interconnect wires and/or radio signals were installed between adjacent signals to make sure they'd change from green to red simultaneously, relying on a single timing pattern at all times-of-day.
In the 1970's
In the 1970's, traffic volumes were still growing and many arterials were being widened to their fullest extent. Forward thinking leaders and traffic engineers knew roadway capacity would have to be further increased, but widening many arterials was becoming impossible due to full development of most adjacent properties. The only way to further increase the capacity of Dade County's arterials was to install a computerized traffic signal monitoring and control system that would significantly improve on the simplistic hardwire interconnect systems of previous decades.
In 1972, Dade County voters agreed by approving funds for the design and implementation of the Traffic Control System (TCS) as part of the Decade of Progress Bond Issue. Both the state and federal governments, represented by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) respectively, committed to be financial partners in the project.
Design of the system began in 1973 and the first phase of the system went into operation in 1975, bringing 184 signalized intersections under central control. In 1985, after numerous integration phases, the maximum number of intersections sustainable, 2000, by the system was reached.
An evaluation of the TCS was performed in order to document its benefits to the public. Instrumented test vehicles were driven along most arterials before and after system implementation to record peak period travel times and running speeds. This basic data was used to calculate other measures such as fuel consumption, air pollutant emissions, and vehicle operating costs. The results of the evaluation were as follows:
- 40% reduction in the total number of vehicle stops;
- 25% increase in average travel speed;
- 20% reduction in travel time (35,000,000 person-hours/yr. of driving time saved);
- 15% reduction in fuel consumption (worth $20,000,000 annually);
- 15% reduction in other vehicle operating costs;
- 20% reduction in pollutant emissions;
- 20% reduction in traffic signal repair response time.
In the mid 1990's
In the mid-1990's, the Traffic Control System had been serving the citizens of Miami-Dade County for two decades. However, it had reached its maximum capacity of just over 2,000 traffic signals. Due to TCS limitations, the County still had another ~600 controllers operating as stand-alone units. The need to monitor and control these and future signals, as well as field sites of other future Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) components demanded a new system.
Another important justification for a new system was to squeeze a little more capacity from the existing arterial network. Due to the existing system's reliance on 1970's technology, the County felt that the system was restricting arterial volumes to only ~95% of the maximum capacity of the roadway network. It was believed that by deploying a new system capable of implementing state-of-the-art control techniques should enable another ~5% improvement in traffic flow. Control techniques known to be lacking from the TCS included the following:
- Monitor and control opposing LT movements separately.
- Minimize side-street delays by accurately defining separate yield-to-side-street-pedestrian and yield-to-side-street-vehicle windows.
- Monitor intersection performance from the TCC with maximum efficiency.
- Modify all aspects of intersection performance from the TCC with maximum efficiency.
- Easily run simulation and optimization software at the TCC with maximum efficiency.
- Identify all types of maintenance problems from the TCC with maximum efficiency.
- Automate as many aspects of system management as possible.
- Utilize proven real-time traffic adaptive algorithms.
Therefore, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation teamed to replace the old Traffic Control System with a new, state-of-the-art, Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) which would overcome those disadvantages and serve the citizens of Miami-Dade County for decades to come.
Beginning in mid 2004, Department staff conducted an extensive study of off-the-shelf ATMS products. Efforts included reviewing repsonses to a Request for Information (RFI), lengthy telephone interviews, and field-visits to other jurisdictions around the country with similar systems already installed. Based on the Department's findings, the off-the-shelf ATMS known as KITS, was determined to be the best system currently available for installation.
Alpha Test Site
Miami-Dade County wanted to ensure that the ATMS would be capable of delivering the necessary functionality; therefore it was critical to test the ATMS in the field before proceeding with full-scale deployment. In September 2005, an Alpha Test site was created to demonstrate the functionality of the system on a small-scale. The County and KHA identified 16 intersections in the vicinity of SR 826 and NW 36th and 58th Streets in the City of Doral, to utilize in the Alpha Test field deployment. Based on the mix of operations and their proximity to the Miami-Dade TCC, the following sixteen (16) intersections were chosen for the Alpha Test:
- NW 58th Street & Galloway Road
- NW 58th Street & NW 84th Avenue
- NW 58th Street & NW 82nd Avenue
- NW 58th Street & NW 79th Avenue
- NW 58th Street & 826-W
- NW 58th Street & 826-E
- NW 58th Street & NW 74th Avenue
- NW 53rd Street & NW 79th Avenue
- NW 41st Street & NW 79th Avenue
- NW 41st Street & Galloway Road
- NW 36th Street & Galloway Road
- NW 36th Street & 8400 Block
- NW 36th Street & NW 82nd Avenue
- NW 36th Street & NW 79th Avenue
- NW 36th Street & 826-W
- NW 36th Street & 826-E
As a prelude to field deployment, KHA also validated the operation of the baseline KITS system by duplicating real world conditions within the TCC using a communications link that was similar to that found in the field. This pre-validation step was successfully completed in October 2005. On Saturday, December 10th 2005, the cutover of the 16 field controllers from the existing UTCS to the new KITS baseline system was conducted by a team consisting of both the County and KHA staff. After 6 months of successful operation, the Alpha Test was approved by the County and full-scale deployment was started.
The County has since begun the start of countywide deployment with 2,089 intersections currently online under the new ATMS.
The next phase in the ATMS is to proceed with full county-wide deployment of the MD-ATMS. In this deployment, the current NEMA traffic controllers will be replaced with newer Type 170 traffic controllers to provide additional functionality. There are also intentions to upgrade the current analog modems to digital modems. This will allow for faster data transfer rates.
Eventually the system will be converted and increased data transfer rates. The conversion to a wireless Ethernet network will enhance the current system, enabling operators to connect to and manage controllers in the network using hand-held mobile devices. It also lays the foundation for the integration of additional devices into the network that can be managed by the system such as wireless Closed Circuit Television cameras for monitoring intersections.
- Throughout 2011, minor bugs will be worked out of the existing software and communication systems and various enhancements will be implemented.
- Starting in 2012, Phase III of the ATMS project will begin and include the following enhancements:
major communication system improvements
- evaluation of traffic adaptive algorithms
- deployment of a countywide bus priority system
- enhancement of the emergency vehicle preemption system
- expansion of the video surveillance system
- integration of the maintenance dispatch system with the ATMS
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