The Scottish Region visited the CITRAC/NADICS control centre in Glasgow on Tuesday 2 March 2004 and were given a presentation on the system and a tour of the control room.
One of the overhead gantries on the M8 Motorway that are controlled from the CITRAC/NADICS control room.
© John G. Fender 2011
NADICS stands for "National Driver Information and Control System" and is based in Glasgow's CITRAC centre. CITRAC stands for "Centrally Integrated Traffic Control". NADICS aims to assist in providing a safe and efficient road network across Scotland.
A number of organisations have an interest in NADICS including the Police, Scottish Executive Network Management, the Trunk Road maintenance organisations, the media, traffic and motoring organisations, local authorities and the travelling public using the NADICS Website.
Traffic growth over the last few years has led to increasing congestion on the roads and there is now a national strategy for managing traffic and the NADICS system is a key component of this.
The system uses CCTV and loop detectors buried in the road surface to monitor traffic flows and this enables the traffic controllers to operate the overhead lane signals and Variable Message Signs (VMS) to enable information to be provided to road users. The system currently covers the main routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Perth, Ayr, Dumfries, Stranraer Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
The system currently has 110 CCTV cameras, 243 SOS telephones, 217 traffic monitoring units, 716 overhead lane signals, 63 multi-line Variable Message Signs, 44 single line Variable Message Signs and 7 mobile variable message signs. There are also 143 roadside hazard signals. Watching over all of this equipment are 15 controllers, working in shifts and the control room is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The National Network Control Centre (NNCC) oversees the whole system, and the various police forces control rooms deal with incidents within their area. There are also local authority control rooms dealing with traffic at a local level. The police control rooms can take over traffic control for their own area if necessary.
A view of the main CITRAC/NADICS control room showing the CCTV monitors and large screen display.
© John G. Fender 2011
Currently some 95% of the major routes in Glasgow have CCTV coverage, including the M8 motorway and the Kingston Bridge, the busiest stretch of road in Europe. The bridge currently carries over 150,000 vehicle each day. In the last few years, remedial works have necessitated the bridge's closure at times and the traffic has had to be diverted onto alternative routes.
This was accomplished with minimal disruption and congestion. All traffic signals are linked to the control centre and have diagnostic equipment to warn of defects. This means that defects can re rectified within hours.
In Glasgow the current CITRAC system is nearing the end of its life and will be replaced by the Bus Information and Signalling System (BIAS) over the next few years. This system will provide buses with priority through traffic signals on the Quality Bus Corridors and also provide the public with up to the minute travel information at bus stops using a Real Time Information system.
The NADICS system also has an automated diary system that enables forward planning to allow for roadworks. The two trunk road maintenance contractors, Amey in the South and BEAR in the north use the system to enter their planned roadworks so that a full assessment can be made of their impact on traffic. This prevents major roadworks conflicting with each other. Both companies must notify the control centre when they start work and when the work ends, i.e. from the moment the first traffic cone is placed on the road and when the last traffic cone is lifted. There are connections with the media, for example, the BBC and local radio stations enabling the latest information to be broadcast to road users.
NADICS also has an automatic incident detection system covering the busiest routes. Detector loops monitor traffic passing over them and the system assesses the availability of road space. The system can provide flow, speed and lane occupancy information and has a queue management system. Where traffic slows down, the system will detect this and calculates the length of traffic queues and the delays. When this reaches a pre-set level the overhead warning signs are switched on and alternative routes will be signed via the Variable Message Signs. The signs are also used to advise drivers of the situation and where the congestion clears.
We would like to thank Mr. S. Connelly for hosting the visit and the Control Room staff for their forbearance whilst the party was being shown round.
Report by John Fender.
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