NEW ORLEANS– The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the grand opening of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center.
The new state-of-the-art facility uses Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology and regional coordination to facilitate better communication among drivers, traffic operations staff, emergency response personnel and other agencies in order to maximize the efficient use of existing roadways in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
"As Louisiana’s transportation needs have far outpaced our available resources, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center allows us to use the resources we already have to improve communication among motorists and allow them to make smarter, more informed decisions as they travel," said DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D.
The 29,120 square-foot Center employs DOTD traffic management staff to actively monitor real-time traffic information on roadway conditions and distribute this information to drivers and emergency response personnel by using a variety of ITS tools including roadside surveillance equipment such as traffic cameras and vehicle detectors, Dynamic Message Signs, Twitter and the 511 Traveler Information System. As a result, drivers can avoid traffic congestion by planning alternative routes, and emergency response personnel--such as Motorist Assistance Patrol, police and firefighters--can decrease the response time to an incident and clear lanes of travel more quickly.
In addition to housing DOTD traffic management personnel, the Center is also home of the New Orleans RPC.
"The New Orleans RPC will provide the planning support for further development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation System technologies to keep motorists informed and to reduce travel time and delay for the driving public," said RPC Executive Director Walter Brooks.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. this morning. The Louisiana State Police Color Guard officially raised the national and state colors, and Louisiana State Police Major Ken Curlee, Command Inspector of Crisis Response, gave remarks regarding the importance of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center.
DOTD Secretary Ankner dedicated the Center’s Control Room in honor of former DOTD Professional Engineer and Deputy Secretary Blaise M. Carriere.
"His leadership resulted in the development of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center, and his vision has become an enduring testament to cooperation among transportation interests in the State of Louisiana," said Ankner.
RPC Executive Director Walter Brooks dedicated the Center’s Conference Room in honor of former RPC Executive Director, from 1981-2001, John W. LeBourgeois.
"Mr. LeBourgeois was an early proponent of the Regional Transportation Management Center concept and an enthusiastic supporter of cooperative efforts among transportation agencies in the New Orleans Metropolitan Region throughout his career," said Brooks. A plaque was also presented to the Carriere and LeBourgeois’ families.
Construction of the $12.4 million DOTD project began in April 2008 and was completed in October 2009. The project was designed by Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects and was built by The Shaw Group Inc.