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Transit hosts budding traffic engineers

1 March 2005

Transit hosts budding traffic engineers

Transit New Zealand hosted a group of around 54 participants from the University of Auckland's summer course "Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering" during February. Normally attracting less than 20 people, this year's large course numbers underlined the growing interest in traffic engineering and reflects Aucklanders' concern about traffic congestion. The group toured Transit's ATTOMS Traffic Management Centre in Northcote as part of the five day intensive course which was run by the University of Auckland in conjunction with the University of Canterbury.

Transit Regional Manager (acting), Richard Hancy, briefed the group on state highways and Auckland issues, as well as projects in Transit's 10-year plan. He also outlined Transit's strategic goals for the economic, environmental and social development of the region. These, he said, would be provided through an integrated multi-modal land transport system to ensure a safe, reliable and accessible network for the movement of people and freight.

Traffic Management Unit (TMU) manager, Stephen Burnett, briefed the group about the unit which is a partnership between Transit, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere cities, as well as Rodney District Council. He also provided information about the Service Level Agreements and the Memorandum of Understanding that each partner signed prior to the TMU's inception.

"Our vision is for an innovative traffic management system, bringing together the technologies of multiple partnerships to create an optimum integrated traffic management system for the whole Auckland region," said Mr Burnett. "Sharing our knowledge is a part of our ethos. Recently we had a group of senior traffic delegates from the Anhui Province in China who were most interested to learn from us."

The group was also briefed on the role of the ATTOMS control room, where its operators monitor more than 60km of motorway and arterial roads via 100+ closed circuit television cameras (CCTV). They also learned about the backend operation of the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS), as well as the various computers, servers and fibre optic cables housed at ATTOMS.

One of the participants, Andrew Bell, who is the Regional Road Safety Coordinator of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), said: "I can see the real value in ATTOMS for emergency management of crashes on the network and providing real-time information to motorists via their website and VMS signs. I also think there are many other ways the technology at ATTOMS could be used in the future to enhance this safety role."

A formal arrangement between Transit and the University of Auckland is being developed by the university to give post graduate students the opportunity to work on real-time data from ATTOMS. Associate Professor, Roger Dunn, said: "The tour of ATTOMS was extremely popular, with all of our students. Some even expressed interest in coming on the tour only, instead of the full course."


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