The New Visions Plan addresses operations and travel reliability in a number of important ways and provides a framework for improving regional environmental quality. CDTC has studied traffic congestion and traffic operations in the Capital District. The New Visions Plan recognizes that managing traffic flows is critical for the health of the region. There are multiple tools available for managing traffic and the Plan supports a comprehensive approach to traffic management. Some of the major categories of tools include incident management, demand management, intelligent transportation systems (technology), arterial management and land use planning. The New Visions Plan states that reliable traffic flow is more important than reducing congestion – traffic congestion is often a sign of an area’s economic vitality.

Transportation Management Center (TMC)

The Capital Region Transportation Management Center is a traffic monitoring and response center operated by the New York State Department of Transportation in partnership with the New York State Police. The TMC is located at the New York State Police Troop G headquarters in Latham, NY and has been in continuous operation since December, 1998. Partnering with the State Police has enhanced situation awareness of regional traffic issues and decreased incident response time. The TMC is a focal point for regional traffic incident management, utilizing traffic cameras and road sensors, and it is the originator of NYSDOT regional 511 video and message feeds. The TMC enables State Troopers, DOT HELP Trucks, and other emergency personnel to respond swiftly to crash scenes and other highway problems. When it is appropriate, DOT maintenance crews are dispatched to help restore traffic flow quickly. Since the establishment of the TMC, traffic flow has improved for all Capital Region highway users. The TMC also coordinates with the Thruway Operations Center (TSOC), CDTA, and plans for traffic management during construction and special events.

CDTC has provided strong support for the TMC and its mission. CDTC has consistently provided funding through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The 2016-2021 CDTC TIP provides $2.0 million per year for the TMC, including support for the HELP program. The CDTC New Visions Plan identifies the TMC as a vital component of congestion management and traffic reliability for the Capital District. Non-recurrent delay represents the worst congestion Capital Region drivers encounter, and TMC incident management and operations efforts are the most effective ways to reduce non-recurrent delay in the Capital District. Commercial vehicles rely on TMC and 511 data. The TMC is also a critical resource for responding to emergencies such as Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. By managing traffic flows, the TMC makes a vital contribution to the attractiveness and economic vitality of the Capital District.

The Capital Region Transportation Management Center

Intelligent Transportation Systems

ITS can be defined as using technology to make smarter use of transportation networks. It includes communications with drivers as well as communications within the transportation system. CDTC has long recognized the value of using ITS to improve travel for all modes, including autos, transit, bicycles and pedestrians, and freight.

Incident Management

Most of the congestion in the Capital District is caused by “non-recurring delay” such as delay caused by a vehicle crash, a snowstorm or major weather event, or construction. Incident Management is the planned, coordinated process of detecting and removing incidents to restore normal traffic operations as quickly as possible. With a majority of all expressway system delay caused by incidents -- ranging from vehicles with flat tires on shoulders to major crashes -- quick detection and removal are critical to maintaining traffic flows, particularly during peak travel periods.

Regional Operations and Safety Advisory Committee

CDTC's Regional Operations and Safety Advisory Committee (ROSAC) provides a forum for operations/planning professionals from federal and state transportation agencies, transit agencies, various local municipalities, and law enforcement agencies to coordinate various traffic management and safety activities in the Capital Region. Discussions are expected to mesh day-to-day transportation system operations with the long and short term planning process. In addition, ROSAC will also focus on safety and security planning. Looking ahead, ROSAC will be exploring the development of a Regional Safety Action Plan and will further update the Intelligent Transportation Systems Priority Network.