¶ … Transportation System Management and Operations
Data and analyses point to the fact that the U.S. transportation system has reached saturation levels. It has been noted that traffic is becoming ever more congested. Data available suggests that the growth of traffic is outpacing the speed and capacity of the authorities to expand the transportation system. There is need for a balanced approach to this matter. The fact is that the situation can be rescued. It is still possible to expand highways and transit capacity. There is need to inculcate a new attitude to road usage. People need to embrace an attitude of quick use and focus. The new situation calls for a renewed approach that incorporates great engineering practices with new technology. These also need a strong customer focused approach that ensures greater performance under prevalent and emergent circumstances (Paniati, 2004).
Traffic congestion is costing the U.S. lives and resources. Data indicates that many tens of thousands of people are losing not only the capacity to cope with the economic challenges but also lives. Road accidents are costing lives and costly invaluable manpower owing to road congestion. Statistical data available points to a dire situation where the pace of population increase is fast outpacing the rate at which we can expand the surface transport system to cater to the needs of the populace. It is recognized that there is no panacea to all the maladies that afflict the system. It is clear that no such solution is exempt from other complications such as environmental and similar effects. Staying at home is an unrealistic option that will neither benefit the general economy nor the individuals using the roads. There is needed to take a balance strategy that allows space and place to expand road infrastructure (Paniati, 2004; Chalotra, 2014).
The high growth areas are the ideal places that transport systems can be expanded with ease. Management operations must be incorporated into the transport delivery policies in the U.S. This does not even refer to the old systems of operations as we have known them over the years. It is a systematic approach that exudes more assertive and innovative stance in use of the operations strategies. Although the fact remains that this suggestion will not necessarily eliminate accidents, or even guarantees a problem free transportation system, but it will, rest assured, add value to the resources and improve the lives of people to a certain extent. Many possible alternatives exist to improve the current situation. The aim of intervention is, of course to make the system a more reliable machine and to give clients updated information on time, route, and mode of travel (Paniati, 2004). There are many examples of the new age technology-based approach to solving the transport system issues. The transport sector is a central factor that drives the economic well-being of the country. Handling the system of transport carefully ensures high quality management. In such a scenario, goods are sent to the right people and clients within acceptable times and consequently providing customer satisfaction. Some additional advantages of an efficient transport system include coverage of wider markets, narrowing the distance between the producer and consumer, boosting product acceptance and enhancing the global reach of products. Transport systems are regarded as important determinants of efficiency and effectiveness (Paniati, 2004; Giuliano & Narayan, 2003).
There are many dynamic message signs on American highway systems. However, it is, often, seen that as a sign, carefully thought out transportation systems are not meeting their objectives and obligations. Many ubiquitous signs are presented to the public with ominous signs of the possibility of roads being congested down the road. The development must be seen from a balanced perspective. It should be recognized that there are some jurisdictions that are doing an excellent job as far as decongesting American roads is concerned. Some states, such as Atlanta provide up-to-date information on the state of traffic and show the projected travel times if there are no such interruptions as traffic incidents or accidents. In cases where there are alternative freeway routes for destination such as interstate 285 (through either interstate 85 or interstate...
Several other states (including Milwaukee) have provided alternative routes and updated information on convenient times. The good news is that the number of areas that provide travel times information is increasing by the day. For instance, San Francisco developed the 511 travel information system that uses telephone communication. Bay started availing information on travel times for the routes that are requested by users and have the information availed on their website. Dynamic message signs can, of course, be instrumental in providing travel times for specific routes. Information on incidents on the roads can be broadcast by use of. Dark dynamic signs that have fallen into disuse and do not give information on travel times should be avoided. Customers must never travel without due information on 511on a telephone, with regard to the routes they use in the U.S.A. (Paniati, 2004).
Traffic Signal Timing
Research data indicates that out of the 30,000 traffic signs, over three quarters could be enhanced by adjusting their timings or by replacing them and availing better working equipment. According to Oak Ridge Laboratory, poor signal timing costs the populace 296 million hours of travel duration (Chin, Franzese, Greene, Hwang & Gibson, 2004) annually. Understandably, this leads to a massive waste in terms of business and missed opportunities. It has also been found that traffic signal retiming is very cost effective and has the potential to generate a 40 to 1 benefit to cost ratio. However, that is not an established norm. For instance, in the Oakland region, the Road Commission of Oakland county was charged with a responsibility to develop and implement road traffic signs and coordinating over 900 signals by the close of the year 2005.The road commission planned to recondition all the 900 signs by the close of the year 2005. The commission is engaged in a process of developing a policy that will establish regular traffic signals for drivers in the U.S.A. An interactive approach will be used to develop solutions. Timed traffic signs are definitely the hallmark of a good traffic system under efficient management and operations teams. It is utterly bad and unacceptable to run a traffic signal system that is updated after five years. The recommended frequency is two years. Yet even the two years mean a sacrifice to many entities (Paniati, 2004).
Traffic incident management
Traffic incidents affect the reliability of any traffic system. The realization of the need for a proactive and coordinated strategy to ascertain potential traffic issues is currently on the rise. A clear example and evidence of such development is the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Transportation who have entered a Common Operations Agreement that focuses on the avenues that the two states can agree to provide cooperation in the management of the traffic problem. The cooperation by the two states achieved early success when they reached their target of clearing all traffic routes caused by incidents within 90 minutes or shorter. Standard performance measure is based incidence clearance in many states including Washington which is frequently tracked and recorded. It is not proper to operate a freeway that or even an arterial system devoid of an established management program for traffic incidents. It should be made mandatory to report traffic incident at the state and lower levels (Paniati, 2004; Celi-ski & Sierpi-ski, 2014).
It is possible to manage traffic in work zones by constant updates and keeping travelers updated on the state of traffic and reacting immediately to incidents that interfere with smooth traffic flow. The impact of work zones on traffic flow should be reported as soon as the incidents occur. ITS technologies have boosted the ability to communicate with stakeholders. The Transportation Department in Arkansas adopted and used an automated work zone information system while reforming three miles of interstate 40. The system acquired and processed data regarding the unfolding traffic conditions nearing the work zone. Dynamic message signs expressed real time information regarding the length of queues and even suggested alternatives to highway and interstate users. Highway advisory radio also provided current information on the state of the roads around the city. Real time Information Systems are powerful aspects of the management of state roads and traffic. Work zones should never be operated without due regard to the need for information and knowledge by the customers (Paniati, 2004).
Changing the culture
Providing travel information and use of dynamic traffic systems is just a part of a wider focus and objective of making various jurisdictions cooperate in matters relating to traffic. It is a demonstration of how many regions are accepting the importance of the systems management operations strategy concerning traffic matters. " Brave New World" by Stephen C. Lockwood and Philip J. Tarnoff describes alternative ITS approaches that can be…
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