The NZ Transport Agency today officially opened a new traffic operations centre in Auckland which will enable better management of traffic volumes and keep drivers informed about conditions on New Zealand’s State Highway network and Auckland’s motorways and local roads.
The Traffic Operations Centre, based at the Smales Farm Technology Park at Takapuna, replaces a previous facility beside the Northern Motorway (SH1) near the Stafford Road off-ramp at Northcote.
The NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland, Wayne McDonald, says the centre’s primary focus will be Auckland, but it is designed with the capacity to be the hub to deliver a planned expansion of the NZTA’s services for drivers throughout New Zealand.
”The centre will be better able to deliver information that all drivers can use – safety, speed and travel time updates – to the places where they need it most – their cars, vans and trucks,” Mr McDonald added.
Mr McDonald says the NZTA has outgrown its old operations centre, and the new one brought Auckland into line with cities of a similar size overseas which are also managing expanding populations and increasing traffic volumes.
“We need to expand so that we can keep pace with the growth of Auckland and continue to provide the best service possible for everyone using the city’s roads,” he says.
The centre was officially opened this morning by MP for the North Shore, Wayne Mapp, when he switched on a wall of video screens, the electronic eyes used by operators to manage 8,000 kilometres of Auckland roads and motorways, as well as roads in Wellington.
The centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. More than 200 closed circuit cameras transmit live images into the control room for operators who monitor traffic flows, manage roadway incidents and adjust the region’s 700 sets of traffic signals. The centre also provides information for traffic updates for radio and the web, and roadside and motorway electronic messages.
A new information service for drivers to be rolled out from the centre next Monday (3 May) will provide estimated travel times to key destinations around Auckland.
Mr McDonald says that providing reliable travel information helps to avoid crashes, clears those that do occur more quickly and safely, and makes more efficient use of the existing motorway system by reducing travel times, energy consumption and pollutants.
“Traffic congestion is a significant issue for Auckland, estimated to cost the region up to $1b a year,” says Mr McDonald. “We believe the services provided by the Traffic Operations Centre will reduce the cost of congestion by at least $50 million per year.”
Mr McDonald says the NZTA will work with local authorities in Auckland to introduce further improvements in future to further reduce congestion costs.
“The availability of high quality information about road conditions enables people to make informed travel decisions both before they set off and during their journey.”
The Northern Busway and Northern Gateway Toll Road operations are also run from the centre, and the NZTA has designed the new facility so that it can be integrated more effectively with other regions.
Outside of Auckland, the centre manages Wellington’s roads at nights, and it controls roadside electronic messages on the State Highway network.
“The NZTA has designed the centre so that it can be integrated more effectively with the rest of the country to deliver benefits for drivers at both regional and national levels,” Mr McDonald said.