The Washington State Department of Transportation crews keep their eyes on traffic and highways via six Traffic Management Centers located at key locations around the state: Shoreline, Tacoma, Vancouver, Wenatchee, Yakima and Spokane, with a winter operations center on Snoqualmie Pass.
Traffic Management Centers are the nerve center of highway monitoring and operations. Engineers, radio operators and other staff:
- Monitor traffic and identify problems using hundreds of cameras located throughout the state on the highway system.
- Use data from traffic detectors on the highways to get a real-time picture of traffic conditions.
- Coordinate response with the Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement and emergency response crews when responding to incidents on the highway.
- Coordinate activities of our WSDOT incident response teams who help stranded drivers, move disabled vehicles, and also help keep traffic moving safely while emergency responders help people involved in accidents.
- Operate reversible lane control systems and ramp meters to help managed traffic flow and reduce congestion.
- Provide up-to-the-minute information about what is happening on the roadway and mountain passes, including weather, incidents, construction, and some travel times, to drivers through our highway advisory radios, electronic signs, the web, and the 511 traveler information phone system.
- Provide up-to-the-minute information to news reporters, particularly radio and television reporters.
- Are a critical component of our coordinated response to emergencies and disasters anywhere in the state.
The Traffic Management Centers are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help clear roads and keep traffic moving safely. The TMC 24-hour communications systems are a critical link in our participation with the nationwide AMBER Alert missing child system. When an AMBER Alert goes into affect, we support the efforts of law enforcement to find the missing child by informing the drivers what to look for.