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.

  • San Francisco also has a nifty traffic control center, SFGo

    I believe the system currently covers Third Street, the Embarcadero and several intersections in SOMA, with the eventual goal of covering all signalized intersections in the city. There is also talk of combining it with Muni Central Control, which would make sense, budget permitting.

    Among other benefits, the technology allows a traffic signal to detect an LRV several intersections away, and accordingly adjust the signal timing so that the signal is green when the LRV arrives (in theory).


Noe Valley Plaza Debate: It’s the Traffic, Stupid

Signs like this hang from windows on streets all around 24th and Noe Streets. Photos: Matthew Roth Just outside St. Phillip’s Church in Noe Valley, where more than 100 people showed up last night to weigh in on the proposal to close Noe Street at 24th Street for two months to build a trial pedestrian […]

Watch Muni Explain the Need to Crack Down on Parking Scofflaws — In 1988

When it comes to effectively enforcing parking regulations to make San Francisco’s streets work more efficiently, SF hasn’t changed much since 1988. That’s when Muni planner Jerry Robbins created the above video, explaining why it’s so important to keep drivers from parking in transit-only lanes or blocking intersections, and to make sure delivery drivers aren’t hogging loading […]