The intersection of G and Ramona streets in Philadelphia is home to the sign shop, where signs are made . Effective Tuesday, September 15, 2015 the building will also be the Traffic Operations Center which was about 15 years coming. “Contrary to conspiracy theorists , this is not opening now in advance of a certain world leader coming to town, this would have happened anyway”, said Mayor Michael Nutter. The TOC is a room where over 5000 cameras in the city can be monitored. There are other places that police and regional Homeland Security monitor, but this specifically deals with traffic issues.
Here, an intersection can be monitored and if need be, a traffic light can be changed remotely. Of course, if a crime or serious crash is detected on camera, then appropriate authorities can be called. Some of the cameras are recorded, others are not. Another advantage from this facility is that maintenance of traffic control devices can be checked from a remote location. It is no longer required to dispatch a traffic engineer to see what is going on.
So, after a few short speeches by people, a mouse was clicked by the Mayor and the site became alive. For the pope visit, it will be staffed 24 hours a day. Normal operations will see this occupied 16 hours a day but that may change. The same cameras are being monitored by different agencies. So who controls them? For example if an intersection is being monitored by the Streets Department, but SEPTA wants to pan down the street to see if a bus in near because it’s running late, who is in charge? “I am, joked the Nutter. I am the mayor and I control all of the cameras in the city”. After a brief laugh, the answer was not really known. A traffic engineer then answered “Whoever owns , or is responsible for the camera will control it”.
This center also comes on the heels of some major revamping of traffic lights , making them all LED technology, which will save the city a lot of money in power bills.