The effective deployment of Welsh Assembly Traffic Officers in South Wales to respond to road traffic incidents has been greatly assisted following the introduction of a new vehicle tracking and navigation system from Masternaut Three X.
Managed by South Wales Trunk Road Agency (SWTRA) on behalf of the Welsh Assembly a trial of civilian Traffic Officers commenced on the 22nd February 2010.
With the powers to stop traffic and close roads, lanes and carriageways, direct and divert traffic, place traffic signs and remove abandoned or broken down vehicles Traffic Officers play an essential role in the safety of Welsh roads.
Distinctively liveried Traffic Officers and vehicles are deployed to cover the area of the M4 motorway from the Second Severn Crossing Toll Plaza to J34 Miskin as well as the A470 from J32 Coryton to Abercynon.
A fleet of specialist Traffic Officer vehicles are monitored using the web-based system. The always on system constantly feeds back live data, displaying vehicle locations on a large panoramic screen located in the Control Room of the South Wales Traffic Management Centre, giving a bird’s eye view of operations at all times.
On notification of an incident, the SWTRA Control Room Team can quickly locate the nearest Traffic Officer on screen to dispatch to the scene. The system tracks vehicle location, movements and if stationary, whether the engine is idling or switched off.
"Traffic Officers respond to incidents in their patrol routes with the aim of cutting response times and hence reducing the impact of congestion on the network.
"They are required to make the area safe before assessing any secondary response requirements and briefing the emergency services where necessary. It is therefore beneficial for the Control Room to have a ‘bigger picture’ of activities on the network to enable an effective response.
"With Masternaut we have the advantage of a real-time view and can identify Traffic Officer resource in order provide further assistance where required.
"If a Traffic Officer is busy and another incident occurs within their patrol area, the system allows us to locate and direct the nearest available Traffic Officer to deal with the incident," says Rhodi Paul, Network Resilience Engineer, South Wales Trunk Road Agency.
"Masternaut is also used by the Agency for tracking the Welsh Assembly Gritting fleet, together with SWTRA Route Steward, Highway Inspector and pool vehicles.
"We are very pleased with the Masternaut system as it assists with the management of the wide range of vehicles we use on the road network. A quick look at the screen provides instant real-time location of vehicles, plus the historical reports generated by system make light work of administration," concludes Rhodi Paul.
The South Wales Trunk Road Agency is an Agency working on behalf of the Transport & Strategic Regeneration Group of the Welsh Assembly Government. It is responsible for Managing, Maintaining and Improving the strategic road network in South Wales.