What is the Regional Transportation Management Centre (RTMC)? Well, for starters, think of it as the nerve centre for road/weather conditions and traffic information across BC.
Based in Coquitlam, the RTMC is the hub for collecting transportation information and communicating it to the public, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Your Eyes on the Road
The RTMC is equipped with more than 200 live-streaming video feeds, and 600 cameras strategically located on highways across the province (you can see these webcams firsthand via DriveBC).
By monitoring the roads and weather so closely, RTMC staff is able to give travellers and commercial drivers the information they need to plan a safe, efficient trip. They respond quickly to incidents by alerting travellers and coordinating with emergency response agencies and our maintenance contractors to manage traffic through detour routes, counter-flow lanes and overhead message signs.
Some events, like incidents, are unexpected; other events are planned. RTMC handles both.
Take Translink’s Pattullo Bridge rehabilitation work, for example, which requires five months of reduced lanes and full closures on this heavily travelled link between New Westminster and Surrey. RTMC staff is monitoring traffic on all of the Lower Mainland’s major Fraser River crossings and reporting congestion, delays, incidents, and other events via DriveBC website, Twitter and digital message signs.
Sharing information with municipalities and other agencies is a big reason for the RTMC’s success. Twenty-seven partnerships, including data and fibre-sharing agreements, allow us all to share video images, traffic data, and fibre optic cable for the benefit of travellers.
Cutting Edge Technologies
Besides allowing staff to monitor, communicate and manage traffic flow, the RTMC’s technology can change speed limits based on weather and other road conditions on three highways. The Variable Speed Limit Sign system sends weather and traffic data to the RTMC, which operators use to calculate appropriate speed limit adjustments on 47 new overhead variable speed limit signs. That means posted speed limits can better reflect road conditions, as well as congestion ahead caused by traffic volume or incidents.
Emergency Response Headquarters
The RTMC is a post disaster building; in other words, it’s a building that’s essential for maintaining services when disaster strikes. If and when a major earthquake hits, the RTMC will help lead the response as an emergency operations centre, giving emergency service providers timely information about bridges and highways.
Bridges are equipped with seismic monitors tied into, what’s called, the Strong Motion Network. This data, combined with reports from the field, would inform emergency response, EMBC, supply carriers etc. on the status and safety of our infrastructure.
In fact, during Exercise Coastal Response, which runs June 7-10 in Port Alberni, the RTMC is practicing its earthquake notification procedure. Their part includes coordinating key ministry operations staff, as well as supporting ministry operations in keeping track of mock incident and damage scenarios rolling out as part of the exercise.
The RTMC is definitely on the cutting edge for providing timely, relevant travel information for the morning commute, to long haul trucking, and beyond.
Got a question about the RTMC? Feel free to let us know.