I was very fortunate to visit the world's largest traffic managment center (based on number of traffic signals controlled at one location), which of course is located in Tokyo.
The Police agency is responsible for operations of the facility. I found a few key differences between Japanese operations and what we find in the U.S. First, because the transit agencies are private they don't allow them in the Traffic Management Center. The transit agencies essentially get the same information that the public does through the feedback gained from police.
The director of operations of the Tokyo TMC is here showing the ultrasonic detectors (12,000 of them in all) that provide the real-time performance for the entire system. The travel speed is updated every 50 seconds from the detection. The data is better than the loops that we use in Portland becuase the detectors provide better resolution of the data. Their 50-second data isn't quite as good as our 20-second resolution and I wonder if that's a function of their communications and another element that I wasn't able to learn about during this visit. It made me want to offer to host anyone in Portland and give them the full run down as an important educational function. There are quite a few things that are worth sharing and it's similar to the bicycling experience we have, only less revolutionary (pun optional).
The traffic management center screens are each 50" and were installed over 15 years ago. The system is 6 high and 12 wide and this is additional 6x6 screens on either side of the huge one. Amazing. They can place any camera where they want on the video board.
There is a 511 like system that takes the information and provides it for people on the phone that call in for information. They see an opportunity to change that over time and use the in car GPS. I was impressed when I was in taxis and how good their mapping systems were. The GPS in the cab had the lane configuration of each intersection and gave the driver information about how close they were. The Japanese are working on an IntelliDrive like system and it would be worth doing an assessment to determine if we should learn from them or vice versa.