Richmond Traffic Operations Center
The Richmond Traffic Operations Center (TOC) in Chester operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center serves all of VDOT’s Richmond District (14 counties and 4 cities), 12 counties of the Fredericksburg District, and the portion of I-95 in the Hampton Roads District.
The center has been in continuous operation since 2001 and underwent an expansion in 2012 to better serve the public. The center’s mission is to “Keep Central Virginia Moving.” TOC staff coordinate with many law enforcement and emergency response agencies (local, state, and federal) to accomplish that mission.
Staff at the Richmond TOC operate and maintain 54 traffic cameras, 15 permanent overhead variable message signs, 13 trailer-mounted variable message signs, six highway advisory radio sites and 10 pavement sensors. TOC operators also perform dispatching and coordination functions for VDOT’s Safety Service Patrol in the Richmond area. On a broader scale, the Richmond TOC performs 24/7 VDOT dispatching and coordination functions for any transportation emergency within the 26 counties in Central Virginia. Another significant responsibility is updating of accident, work zone, and road weather information, which flows to the public through VDOT’s 511 system.
Fifty-four (54) traffic cameras are used to monitor traffic at congestion-prone areas. These cameras allow center staff to identify traffic backups, verify accident locations, dispatch cleanup and emergency services crews, and monitor accident response and cleanup activities.All TOC camera images are available to the general public at www.511virginia.org.
Variable Message Signs
Variable message signs are used in emergencies to notify motorists already on the road of upcoming incidents and delays. Permanent overhead signs are placed at major decision points on the interstate. Trailer-mounted signs are positioned before construction zones and can be moved in the event of a major incident to give motorists warning of pending delays.The signs are controlled remotely from the center and messages can be changed to give real-time information to motorists.
Highway Advisory Radio
Highway Advisory Radio sites are strategically located along interstates leading into the metropolitan areas. Five sites give motorists information about major traffic incidents. These radio sites broadcast on 1620 AM. When there are no incidents to report, these radio sites broadcast tourism information. The sixth unit is portable and is stationed near major construction projects or other planned events which impact traffic.
Safety Service Patrols
Safety Service Patrol units patrol several interstates in the Richmond area to quickly identify accidents, assist other emergency responders to safely clear accidents, remove debris from the roadway, and perform other functions to keep traffic moving. When not involved with situations that impact traffic, SSP patrollers assist motorists with flat tires, mechanical problems, small amounts of fuel, and other services to keep them moving along. The following routes are currently patrolled in the Richmond area 7 days per week, 16 hours per day (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.):
I-95 from Maury Street (Exit 73) to Parham Rd (Exit 83)
I-95 from Parham Rd (Exit 83) to Doswell (Exit 98)
I-95 from Doswell (Exit 98) to Thornburg (Exit 118)
I-64 from Rockville (Exit 173) to I-95 (Exit 187)
I-64 from I-295 (Exit 200) to Route 33 (Exit 220)
I-295 from I-64 (Exit 28) to I-95 (Exit 43)