1991 Finalist
City of Anaheim, CA
Innovations in American Government Awards
Innovations in American Government Awards

Traffic congestion along the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), State Route 22, State Route 57, and connecting arterial streets in and around Anaheim's Commercial Recreation Area, is the major transportation problem facing Orange County and Southern California. The City of Anaheim's integrated Traffic Management System (TMS) is a holistic approach to the management of traffic in one of America's most populated regions.

The primary purpose of the TMS is to strategically manage traffic in order to ease congestion, cut travel time, and in turn, lessen frustration for the millions of people living, working or visiting in Southern California. The TMS works in conjunction with the Orange County Transportation Commission, surrounding local jurisdictions, and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). It utilizes data from existing information systems including the Anaheim Convention Center, the Anaheim Stadium, the Police Department's Computer-Aided Dispatch System and Caltrans' Freeway Surveillance System. The evaluation of this data is then used to determine a traffic circulation management strategy by coordinating signal timing from a centralized Traffic Management Center (TMC), announcing traffic information on an "AM" broadcast channel, and displaying specific route information using overhead changeable message signs.

The nucleus, or command center, of this system is the Traffic Management Center, staffed by two traffic engineers, who monitor, plan and control traffic. During special events, the TMC is staffed by engineers, traffic police supervisory personnel, and the City's Special Events Transportation Planner. Information is received by the TMC from a variety of sources, including closed-circuit television cameras that observe critical intersections and major freeways and the Police Department's Computer-Aided Dispatch Center. Together, this information allows TMC operators to assess and proactively manage local and regional traffic congestion.

Based on data received by the TMC, operators utilize a sophisticated traffic-signal computer system to control 180 traffic signals, with plans to ultimately control timing at 350 signals. Using an updated version of the Federal UTCS Enhanced software, the system utilizes high-resolution color graphic displays, with large screen projection, to allow operators and decision-makers to visualize conditions as they are occurring. The use of 12 electronic changeable message signs will provide route guidance information to motorists unfamiliar with the area and alternative route information in periods of heavy activity. The signs will be controlled through the central computer, and signing plans will be coordinated with signal plans for special events or in response to a specific incident. Finally, to assure that motorists receive real-time traffic and parking information, the TMC broadcasts on a low-band highway advisory radio channel, utilizing an AM frequency.

There are several measures used to evaluate the success of the integrated Transportation Management System. However, the most useful indicator is one used by traffic engineers around the country—travel delay. Preliminary results of a study being performed by the Institute For Transportation Studies at the University of California, Irvine indicates a substantial reduction in travel delay. Utilizing statistics on motorists exiting from the Anaheim Stadium after football, baseball and special events, it has been determined that the average crowd-time to egress prior to implementation of TSM improvements was 30 minutes compared with a 20-minute egress time after implementation of the system.