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R. Wayne Harrell Traffic Management Center
The City of Chesapeake currently operates the R. Wayne Harrell Traffic Management Center (TMC), located on the third floor of City Hall, in the Public Works Department. The TMC serves as the command and control center for the Chesapeake Traffic Management System (TMS). From the TMC, Traffic Engineering staff members operate and manage the City’s TMS which consists of the traffic signal system, Variable Message Signs (VMS), permanent traffic count stations and CCTV cameras.
The TMC currently consists of two workstations, twenty-three Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and eight large flat-panel displays. The TMC operates Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The traffic signal system is managed from a computer network platform known as the Management Information System for Transportation® or MIST®. All of the City’s 170+ traffic signals are now operated and managed through MIST. Most traffic signals within the signal system operate using fixed timing plans that are based on historical traffic data. Typically, specific timing plans are developed for the morning, mid-day, and evening peak traffic periods.
Time Based Coordination
In order to help improve operational efficiency, the City operates a number of key corridors that experience consistent traffic demand in Time Based Coordination (TBC). In TBC, a series of traffic signals are linked together via wireless communications and each signal within that particular corridor operates using the same cycle length. The purpose of using the same cycle length is to allow platoons of vehicles to travel through the corridor with a minimum of stops at traffic signals. TBC is a very complex signal timing scheme that relies heavily on consistent mainline and side-street traffic demand to operate at the highest efficiency. TBC is currently operating in the following corridors:
- Battlefield Boulevard from Kempsville Road to the I-64 Interchange
- Cedar Road from Waters Road to Dominion Boulevard
- Kempsville Road from Clearfield Avenue to Greenbrier Parkway
- Volvo Parkway from Battlefield Boulevard to Greenbrier Parkway
- Eden Way North from Crossways Boulevard to Greenbrier Parkway
Traffic Adaptive Control
Chesapeake is also one of the few cities in the country to implement Traffic Adaptive Control technology, which is now operating in the following corridors that experience highly variable traffic demand:
- Greenbrier Parkway between I-64 and Volvo Parkway
- Military Highway from the Virginia Beach city line to I-464
- Portsmouth Boulevard from the I-664 Interchange to Dock Landing Road
- Taylor Road from Portsmouth Boulevard to Taylorwood Boulevard
- Western Branch Boulevard from the Suffolk city line to the Portsmouth city line
Instead of using timing plans developed from historical data, these corridors use multiple sensors in the roadway to deliver real-time traffic flow through the corridor. The primary advantage to Traffic Adaptive Control is that it allows the traffic signal system to make real-time signal timing adjustments based on existing traffic demand conditions. This system will not compensate for those times when there is simply more traffic attempting to pass through a corridor than the corridor can physically accommodate, i.e. demand exceeds capacity. However, it will process the traffic as efficiently as possible. In addition, Traffic Adaptive Control has proven to be the best signal control technology to adjust corridor signal timings for unplanned events, such as when an accident on the interstate system causes an unexpected increase in traffic above normal conditions on parallel routes, such as Military Highway.
The CCTV system now contains twenty-three CCTV cameras located at key intersections and along highly traveled corridors throughout the City, including the Chesapeake Expressway. In the near future, these CCTV images will be made available online. At the present time, traffic engineers use the CCTV system to monitor traffic conditions and check traffic signal operations.
Variable Message Signs
The Traffic Management system also contains seven Variable Message Signs at strategic locations to advise motorists of traffic conditions such as bridge openings or may be used for Emergency Operations such as hurricane evacuation or emergency shelter information. In addition, the TMS contains approximately 35 permanent count stations located throughout the City to continually collect traffic data. This data may be used to adjust traffic signal timings or to measure increasing traffic demand that can be used to plan future road projects.