Zoomed in slightly, U of M's software traffic monitoring system shows a lot of detail via overlays. The system will be helping officials monitor and control traffic on inauguration day.  (Source: University of Maryland)

Zoomed out, the sytem will provide officials with an easy to navigate map of Washington D.C., with easy access to hot spots.  (Source: University of Maryland)
Barack Obama's inauguration will run smoother thanks to a high tech traffic display

Inauguration Day has typically drawn large crowds and been a nightmare for city officials, police officers, and secret service agents.  With President-elect Barack Obama, these concerns have reached unheard of levels.  Thousands of people are headed to the capital, to try to catch a glimpse of the new president.

In order to try to control the crowds officials will be using a cutting edge software display of the city's traffic developed by the University of Maryland.  The display, named The Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS), will stream information in real time.  Describes Michael L. Pack, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT), part of the Clark School of Engineering, At this point, our team is working almost around the clock to incorporate as much data and functionality as possible."

The information is presented in both 2D and 3D fully zoomable formats, similar to Google Earth with a broad array of overlays applied.  It will monitor vehicles, planes, incident reports (traffic accidents, etc.), traffic light problems, areas of slow traffic, weather conditions, and more.

Describes Professor Pack, "We're trying to visualize the real-time status of our transportation system - showing the real world and providing situational awareness to decision makers - all on a single screen.  We're enabling these many disparate systems to communicate with each other."

While this information was previously available, says Professor Pack, it was spread out over different systems.  The new traffic monitoring program polls many different systems to provided a single unified, easy-to-navigate view, a first.

A demonstration of the technology is viewable here (MPEG4) online.

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