The City’s new Transport Management Centre (TMC), which will handle emergencies, prevent congestion and keep motorists informed, all from one location, is on track to open early next year. The centre, which is based in Goodwood, is the result of a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Provincial Government and the South African National Roads Agency. The City celebrated the sod-turning event for the TMC almost a year ago, and held a milestone celebration in October, which was Transport Month, to show stakeholders the progress.

Construction of the TMC building started on 12 January 2009 and practical completion will be on 22 November 2009 when the building will be handed over to the City of Cape Town, says the City’s Head of Transport Network Technology, Francois Nell. Occupation will be in February, once the networks, telephones and other IT related equipment have been installed, he explains. “The TMC will be fully operational on 4 May 2010, if all goes according to plan.”

The aim of the TMC is to reduce congestion on Cape Town’s roads, improve road safety and incident response, and offer live traffic updates to inform motorists and public transport services about road related events. The TMC will serve as an information hub for the public, the police, Traffic Services and roadside emergency personnel. It will become home to the City’s CCTV system, which will monitor incidents on the road network, and enable operators to spot and verify call-in information and avoid false alarms. With footage from the CCTV cameras, operators will be able to gauge the extent of traffic incidents and will then dispatch the appropriate response units where necessary.

In addition, the TMC will house the Freeway Management System (FMS), which will have about 200 CCTV cameras on the N1, N2 and R300 freeways alone. Together with the existing CCTV cameras already used by Metro Police, and new ones to be added as part of Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT), the total number of CCTV cameras monitored in the TMC will be more than 600. Traffic Signal Control technology will allow for remote changes to be made to traffic signals, based on the most recent and legitimate incident information.

The Metropolitan Transport Information (MTI) Call Centre, which provides public transport information to Cape Town commuters, will also be housed in the TMC. As part of its incident management role, the TMC will facilitate fast incident detection, verification, classification, dispatching and call-outs. Immediate dispatching will be done from the TMC with accurate incident location and descriptions. Operators will monitor and record various responses as part of an incident timeline, and log incident information such as the timeline, location and vehicles involved; while the system will record video footage of incidents.

The new technology will enable the City to:

  • visually monitor the network from real time video and CCTV surveillance camera feeds
  • detect incidents by means of information received from field devices
  • take calls from the public
  • disseminate information to motorists by means of radio reports, variable message signs, semi-dynamic message signs, a website, smses, etc
  • liaise directly with Emergency Services in order to effectively manage incidents
  • liaise directly with the Public Transport call centre
  • brief affected parties after incidents

communicate directly with other Emergency Centres
The TMC will deploy:

  • 170 CCTV cameras
  • 48 Variable Message Signs (VMS)
  • ±60 traffic monitoring devices (measuring speed and volume of traffic)
  • ±164 km of fibre optic cables along the major freeways