Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Traffic

As part of Innovation Dublin, I took a tour of Dublin City Council's traffic control room yesterday. By chance, I was the only person on this particular tour, so I ended up with much more personalised visit which was given by Andrew Harris, though I also met the rest of the people at work. The room was like I imagined: a big room full of video monitors, maps and computers. They are open 24/7 all year round, which a team of 11 working in shifts. They work in conjunction with Dublin Bus, AA Roadwatch, the GardaĆ­ and they have the twice daily radio program (Live Drive: listen for the traffic reports, stay for the music and the lack of depressing recession talk and sport news). There's 170 cameras in different spots around the city. They can scan the whole M50 in 15 seconds! They do have some gaps in their coverage like Merrion Square and Baggot St. I was surprised to hear that they don't actually record with these cameras, it's a live feed only (which makes sense - the storage they would need otherwise). So don't waste your time ringing them if you have a contentious accident looking for footage. We talked about the sheer awesomeness of the Port Tunnel (the very first time I went through, it confirmed my long-held opinion that *tunnels are cool*) and what a difference it had made to the city centre.So what other important things did I learn? Well, we know integrated ticketing is finally making its appearance next year but I hadn't heard that we are soon to get GPS live bus updates at bus stops! I've seen this at work in other countries and it has been long needed in Dublin. Though it does make me wonder what the readout will say when the reason the bus hasn't appeared is some dubious Dublin Bus reason like "a driver didn't show up so we arbitrarily decided this particular bus wouldn't run". Dublin Bikes is being expanded massively (which has already begun) and is apparently the most successful scheme of its type in the world!
If you're a driver or a cyclist, I highly recommend doing this tour if you get the chance at some point.

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