UT Develops System To Handle Olympic Traffic, Emergencies

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A computer system developed by the University of Tennessee is helping Atlanta officials manage Olympic crowds and traffic and respond to emergencies.

Researchers from UT’s Energy, Environment and Resources Center and Transportation Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed the Police Command and Control System for use in the Atlanta Olympics.

Steve Stamm, a UT EERC researcher, said the system tracks locations and schedules of police and emergency workers at all times. It allows dispatchers to be send them more quickly to another location where they are needed, he said.

“In case of an emergency, you could immediately look at the system and see areas where people aren’t being fully utilized and move them to the trouble spot,” Stamm said.

For example, if only 80 percent of a force is needed in a certain location at a particular time, managers could direct the other 20 percent to an emergency area, Stamm said.

The system also allows managers to see trends and daily traffic so they can prevent or be better prepared to handle emergencies, he said.

Georgia Department of Transportation traffic operations engineer Marion Waters said Thursday that Atlanta’s traffic was flowing smoothly the day before the Olympics

However, Waters said the games will bring serious congestion and accidents. He predicted July 22-23 and July 29-30 — days of peak spectator events — as the most likely times for traffic problems and emergencies.

Stamm said the UT system will help prevent problems on those days and throughout the Olympics.

“In the past, planners would have the data on paper, and if something happened, they would get on the phone and start calling around to find out where people were. With this type of paper trail you can fall way behind when handling an emergency.

Contact: Steve Stamm (423-974-8410)

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