Sacramento Traffic Operations Center
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car crash lawyer. Did you know that there is a telecommunication engineer who sits at the helm of what is known as the Sacramento Traffic Operations Center? It’s true. His name is Ryan Billeci. He has two co-workers (also engineers) and between the three of them, they monitor a series of live feeds photographing our city streets. The images are projected onto a wall of huge high-definition television screens at their command center located at City Hall.
What? Sounds Like Big Brother is Watching Us!
No. We don’t have to think about it along those terms. Cameras like the ones used in Sacramento are crucial to monitoring and improving the flow of traffic. It’s not surveillance at all. The engineers say it is how they keep the flow of traffic moving through the city of Sacramento.
I wonder if they can see auto accidents or bicycle accidents in real time? Or, wouldn’t it be helpful if they could help us to identify a hit and run driver? Too bad they couldn’t watch for drunk drivers and people who are texting while driving.
Unfortunately, they are not watching for the things detailed above.
Watch Youtube Video – Sacramento County Traffic Operations Center to learn more and see for yourself what these three traffic engineers are up to:
What Do They Watch For?
We have learned that with just a few clicks of a button here and another switch there, the traffic engineers can enlarge one photo onto half the screens, while another camera moves down five or six blocks with microscopic clarity. They say they can see an image clearly enough to make out the make and model of a passing car as it works it way through any given intersection.
How Many Cameras Does it Take?
It varys from intersection to intersection, but along 10th Street as an example, only one single camera is required to capture nearly the entire length of the street. The traffic engineers simply move their mouse to direct the angle of the camera for precision viewing.
Counting How Many Vehicles Travel Along our Streets
Earlier this year, on one particular day, the Sacramento Traffic Operations Center counted nearly 18,000 vehicles proceeding through J Street in the vicinity of Eighth and Ninth. Further, the traffic engineers indicated that they estimate as many as 104,000 vehicles come into the grid each day. That is a lot of traffic. No wonder there are so many motorcycle accidents and car accidents through this area.
Ever Wondered Who Controls the Timing of when a Light Turns Green, Yellow or Red?
It is Ryan Billeci. He is a quiet giant keeping our roads running smoothly. He is responsible for timing the green, yellow and red lights. Have you ever traveled along J Street commuting to work on a Monday morning? Have you noticed how the traffic moves along at a hectic pace? Now imagine the grid without someone like Billeci at the traffic command post. It just might be pure mayhem without him. Billeci indicated that the signals along the grid are programmed on a short cycle for our convenience. He does have the authority to make manual adjustments as he sees fit based on road conditions like localized congestion or electric outages.
Not an Easy Job for Billeci
Billeci explains that he needs to see the full 16 city blocks of traffic lights at one time. If he changes a signal cycle at one end, it can cause a domino effect, causing the other end of the cycle to be thrown out of sequence. He has to pay careful attention to what he is doing to make certain things run they way they are supposed to.
Golden 1 Center Presents New Challenges
Since the opening of the Golden 1 Center, the traffic engineers’ skills are being extended to maximum capacity. Traffic planners estimate that 90 percent of arena attendees (the venue holds 17,500 guests) will come to the area by car. That is an extraordinary amount of traffic to one area. With that many people walking around near the Golden 1 Center, there is bound to be an increase in pedestrian injuries.
Veer Away From J Street Please
The city has done all it can to encourage drivers to “veer away from J Street” during events taking place at the arena. One of the ways they encourage people to do this is by suggesting they reserve garage parking spots ahead of time. Public transportation is another wonderful option. Even if you do decide to drive, you can bet Billeci will be on top of things. He indicates that he is always on guard and prepared. Recently, they added 15 brand new cameras, replaced 70 traffic controllers and upgraded their communication infrastructure to fiber optic cable.
Police Help Feed Information to Traffic Engineers
Police help transfer information from the ground to the engineers at the command post. As police give information about things like traffic jams and the occurence of car crashes, Billeci can make signal adjustments that correspond to the information he is fed by police.
The Great Wizard Behind the City Curtain
Billeci and the other engineers are normal working men with extraordinary powers. They don’t let it go to their head. They simply do what they do to assure that traffic continues to get better, never worse.
Sacramento Personal Injury & Car Crash Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car crash lawyer. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a car accident due to no fault of your own, please give me a call at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. I’ve been helping Sacramento residents and their family members obtain compensation for personal injury and wrongful death claims since 1982.
I am the founder of Northern California’s leading accident and injury website: www.autoaccident.com.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are top US trial lawyers who have garnered multiple million dollar case settlements and/or verdicts for the clients we help.
Image Attribution – Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons