CITY folk are beginning to make use of the RM365mil Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS) that has been designed to relieve traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur and help motorists plan their journey better.
They call the hotline number displayed on the variable message system electronic boards along roads and highways and surf the website to find out more real-time information on the city's traffic situations.
The Transport Management Centre, ITIS' data processing hub in Bukit Jalil, receives an average of 30 to 40 calls every day. More people call in on weekends.
The system was developed by ITS Konsortium Sdn Bhd and handed over to City Hall last June. Although the centre currently operates during the morning and evening peak hours, City Hall's ultimate aim is to run the centre 24 hours a day.
"The callers want to find out about the system and alternative roads," said ITS Konsortium Sdn Bhd project consultant Dr Khoiri Mohd Dimyati said at a briefing at the centre on March 31.
"A caller from Subang Jaya even called back to thank us. She told us that she did not have to pay RM3.50 for the NPE (New Pantai Expressway) toll and used the free highways to get to KLCC in only 20 minutes."
He said the operation team, comprising staff from ITS Konsortium, City Hall and the city police, had learned traffic situations and travelling behaviours by monitoring and analysing data collected from the system.
He said the system was still at the early stages of implementation and other services like parking and route guidance, public transport information system and freight administration could be provided in future.
"Most importantly, we have created a new culture where city folk plan their journey before they travel," he said.
ITIS enables City Hall to receive live images of the traffic situation from communication nodes placed in city roads and highways.
The nodes collect data from all roadside equipment like closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and automatic incident detection (AID) cameras and automatic vehicle location system (AVLS) 24 hours a day and relay it to the data processing hub.
The information is analysed before the processed information is disseminated and displayed on electronic boards.
If there is a road accident or car breakdown, the centre will alert the Fire and Rescue Department, ambulance and tow-truck service providers to ensure that the vehicles are removed immediately without causing traffic woes.
A total of 140 electronic boards, 255 CCTVs and 728 AID cameras have been installed on major roads and highways in the city.
Another 1,600 AVLS, fitted with global positioning system tracking devices, had been placed in cars, taxis and public buses to help the centre create a real-time travel database for areas that were beyond the monitoring equipment's reach.
City public order and traffic police chief Senior Asst Comm Jamaludin Khalid said since the police had been entrusted with traffic control during congestion, events, accidents and disasters, it was crucial for the police to operate from the transport management centre daily.
"We have set up a taskforce to work closely with City Hall. With the technology available at the centre, the police can have a complete picture of the traffic situation in the Klang Valley," he said.
He said apart from traffic management purposes, the 255 CCTVs and other tools that were capable of recording real-time snapshots of traffic situations in the city could be used to fight crime and take action against traffic offenders.
"We have successfully carried out special operations by using the technology at the Traffic Management Centre. There is no limit to which department can use the information - whether it is the narcotics, traffic and public order or CID," he said.
The CCTVs operated by ITIS are capable of zooming in on vehicle number plates, motorists or anyone in the street.
Also present at the briefing were Federal Territories Minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique, Deputy FT Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, city police chief Datuk Mustafa Abdullah and City Hall director-general Salleh Yusup.
For more information on ITIS, visit www.itis.com.my or call the Transport Management Centre at 03-8947 4002. The centre opens from 7am to 11pm (weekdays), 8am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.