Streetfilms: Behind the Scenes at LA Traffic Control

I have to admit: The thought of filming a control room designed to move vehicles more efficiently didn’t excite me at
first. But once I met Senior Transportation Engineer Bill Shao and the
friendly staff at Los Angeles’ Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC), I was full of curiosity.

Developed to help direct traffic during the 1984 Olympics, ATSAC has grown to monitor and control over 3,000 of
L.A.’s 4,100 signalized intersections, some of them incredibly complex.
ATSAC is one of the only such systems in the country that is publicly
owned, and the technology is so advanced that even on its busiest days the control
room only requires a few people to run it.

I’m told there are regular group tours of the facility. Next time you visit LA I recommend checking it out.

  • Watching this just makes me think of the Star Trek-like economic control rooms that were built in the 70’s to plan socialist economies, which is to say that traffic planners are worse planners than the land use planners. No wonder traffic is so bad.

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