ATSAC: Behind the scenes at L.A. Traffic Control

I have to admit: the thought of being in a control room documenting technology that moves vehicles more efficiently didn't excite me at first, but once I met Senior Transportation Engineer Bill Shao and the friendly staff at Los Angeles' Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (or ATSAC), I was full of curiosity.

First off, one of the things that makes ATSAC so unique is that it's one of the only traffic systems in the entire country that is publicly owned. ATSAC was started in 1984 to help move traffic around the Coliseum during the Olympics; since then it has grown to over 3,000 of L.A.'s 4,100 signalized intersections, some of them incredibly complex. The technology is so advanced that even on its busiest days the control room only requires a few people present to run it.

I'm told there are regular group tours of the facility. Next time you visit L.A. I recommend checking it out.