A tour of Spokane Regional Transportation Council | News
If you’ve ever woken up with the morning news, you’ll sometimes see the rotating stream of transportation cameras highlighting the region’s streets and highways. It’s not just you watching those cameras.
A control room is set up with 24/7 operators to identify traffic issues and monitor the flow of transportation throughout the city and county. Dozens of monitors line one wall at the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC), the region’s answer of consolidation to coordinate transportation between communities.
During Tuesday morning’s open house, SRTC staff explained what happens behind the scenes to make transportation magic happen.
If you’re in a traffic accident, you might be on camera being monitored by these operators trying to keep the flow of traffic going. For every minute response teams clear these obstacles sooner, they save 15 minutes of backed up traffic later.
If you have a disabled vehicle, maybe you’ll meet Rick Sherman, a maintenance lead tech with WSDOT who would help you out by changing a tire if you’re out of luck, missing the right tools. He changes tires on average three times a day. He can also change a tire in less than nine minutes. Can you beat that?
When a dispatched call goes to 911, it might not be exact. The operators can alert first responders and emergency services of the exact location of an accident just by monitoring their cameras or turning them just a bit.
Operator David Adams was able to share some recent examples of their work. When state patrol initiated a pursuit last week in the area, they called up SRTC operators so they could better monitor traffic in the area.
Last Friday if you were traveling along I-90 near downtown Spokane, you might have noticed signs advising drivers to take either the Maple or Hamilton exits to avoid the Bloomsday trade show.
"It made a big impact. Didn't see nearly as much congestion on those ramps as it could be with Division being as limited as it is," Adams said.
SRTC has over 70 cameras set up at this time, but they’re preparing for more. New cameras will be installed this year along Highway 195 to the Cheney-Spangle Road and supplemental cameras along I-90 to Stateline. More cameras will also be installed along the North Spokane Corridor.