On Tuesday 16th July; 28 M.G. members were treated to an excellent presentation at the ATCC at Norwood.
Michael Southern, the Day Shift Co-ordinator, totally engaged us, with his easy style, describing the ATCC’s role in Incident and Traffic Management in S.A.
Firstly, we observed the Control Centre’s hardware through a viewing window.
Impressive was the shimmering front wall; replete with some 50 screens of varying size pulsing with traffic images. These images, are relayed via microwaves and fibre optic cable from various cameras, sensors and satellites located statewide across more than 560 sets of coordinated traffic lights, bridges and tunnels, back to the 2 to 4 duty controllers, 24/7.
A work station is also allocated to the ATN (Australian Traffic Network) who transmit certain images and reports directly to the media.
Also provided at the centre, is a hub for State Disaster Relief ops.
Next, seated in a seminar room, Michael power-pointed us through a fascinating ‘day in the life of a controller‘, pulling up diverse images from :-
The Port River bridges
The Birkenhead bridge opening
The Heysen Tunnels including…
The dramatic 2009 truck fire
a car bizarrely reversing
an aquaplaning jack-knifing semi
a diesel spill requiring complete re-surfacing of the tarmac
koala on the side walkway
a car stopping to “help” koala on the walkway !
Other images included…
road-ragers in action (S.A. is the worst state for RR, confirming our suspicions)
horrific T-bone smashes at intersections .
Michael then took us to the next level: The Live-Feed, where we darted around the metro area viewing…
the aftermath of a St Peters crash (some members having passed it en-route to the centre)
the Tunnels as Michael clicked a key and a fan whirred into action
the Northern Expressway to check the exact speeds of non-suspecting motorists .
Traffic Trivia learned included…
Traffic signals’ sequences are not set in stone. A system known as S.C.A.T.S. (Sydney coordinated Adaptive Traffic System) ensures this …it’s a self-learning computerized adaptive system based on traffic movements, easing congestion by dynamically adjusting traffic sequences.
The arrester beds on the S.E.Freeway are made of uniform size gravel, which can pull up a vehicle within its own length travelling at 100 kph.
The Heysen Tunnels paid for themselves within four years of construction; owing to economies realized from the huge reduction in truck rollovers
If any vehicle is static for longer than 13 seconds in the tunnel; sensors alert duty controllers
President Bill Clinton’s security detail were so impressed with the “Green Corridor” provided for his entourage from the Airport to CBD during his Adelaide visit; that it found favour in Washington
The 90 kph speed limit in the Heysen Tunnel has been calculated to allow for braking time in the event of stopped vehicle(s) beyond the bend.
When you encounter speed restrictions on the Freeway it is because the control centre is viewing an incident further up the road
A lively Q and A session then followed; during which a determined MG member sought to have his morning right-hand turn sequencing re-configured favourably! (Good try, Alan).
Many thanks to Leyland for his necessary persistence in securing this ATCC booking and I would recommend anyone attend the centre if they get the opportunity.