ANKENY, IOWA — The Iowa Department of Transportation has a center dedicated to monitoring interstate traffic year-round, and the service becomes crucial in the wintertime.
The Traffic Management Center (TMC) is located in the basement of DMV in Ankeny, equipped with dozens of monitors and 500 cameras all monitoring traffic across the state. And with a winter storm looming this holiday season, the TMC staff want to make sure Iowans have all the information they need to stay safe.
“We’re glad to be a huge part of trying and enhancing their safety,” said Andrew Lewis, the director of the Traffic Operations Bureau. “Ultimately, it comes down to people making the right decisions and using all the information available to them as to make a decision whether to travel or not.”
Once the TMC sees an accident, the staff put a warning on the digital display signs near the location. Then the staff updates the “Iowa 511” application which gives travelers real-time information on what traffic conditions are like.
“There’s statistics out there that say human errors involved at least in about 94% of all crashes, so it’s very important to make good decisions ahead of time so you don’t put yourself in a situation where it could result in crash,” said Lewis.
In Des Moines, the Public Works department opened their brand new, tens of millions of dollars facility in October. This allows for the city’s snow plows to be deployed a lot faster than in the past.
“This makes a big difference in the ability of that first fleet of snow plows to go out,” said Johnathan Gano, the Public Works director in Des Moines. “Every single one of these trucks would’ve been parked outside…and they’re exposed to the same weather that everything else is, so if it is 10 below outside, the trucks are also 10 below.”