MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) defines ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) as electronics, communications, or information processing systems or services used singly or in combination to improve the safety and efficiency of the surface transportation system.
TMS (Traffic Management Systems) is a field within ITS that integrates technology to improve the flow and safety of vehicle traffic on MnDOT roadways. To accomplish this, continuous real time traffic data is obtained using electronic equipment such as cameras and vehicle detection (roadway loops, sensors, or radar). This data is provided to the MnDOT RTMC (Regional Traffic Management Center) through the ATMS software IRIS (Intelligent Roadway Information System) where the State Patrol, FIRST (Freeway Incident Response Safety Team) formally know as “Highway Helpers”, and Maintenance staff can be dispatched. The software also allows real time display of important messages or estimated vehicle travel times on the Dynamic Message Signs, adjusts vehicle entrance rates onto freeways using Ramp Meters, controls road closure gates, calculates and displays tolling rates on Dynamic Message Signs to notify drivers using E-Z Pass, and informing the public of traffic information through MnDOT’s official traffic and traveler information resource 511.org.