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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Hans Monderman, Engineer of Livable Streets, 1947-2008

|
New Mobility Agenda‘s Eric Britton sends along sad news that Hans Monderman, the Dutch traffic engineer renowned for his innovative "shared space" plans emphasizing human interaction and negotiation over blind obedience to mechanical traffic control devices, died yesterday. He was a rare and radical traffic engineer who believed that the art and science of his […]

Fun and Games With Transportation

|
It’s Friday. It’s summer. Let’s face it, you shouldn’t be looking at a computer right now. But since you are — maybe you’re at work or something crazy like that — we’ll give you some fun stuff from the Streetsblog Network today. Fun, with a little undertone of serious. First, via Transit Miami, we present […]

DOT Shows No Traffic Calming Ingenuity for Astoria’s Deadly 21st Ave

|
Astoria residents demanding a safer 21st Avenue. Image: indiejourno.com. Over the last six weeks, Astoria residents have made a strong push for a safer 21st Avenue, a street plagued by speeding cut-through traffic. In response to requests for traffic calming, NYCDOT recently sent what one resident called a "cryptic letter" explaining only that the street […]

Calming Traffic in Chinatown

|
With all the talk about high level personnel changes at the DOT, let’s take it back to the streets for a minute, shall we? As we have already noted, Chinatown has gotten a buffered bike lane on Grand Street, which is fantastic, and would be even more fantastic if it wasn’t treated as a car parking lane. […]