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Guidelines on Access to
Smart Traffic Center Data and Video Imagery

Effective Date: July, 2001

Policy Statement

It is the intent of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to:

  1. Disseminate the data and video imagery from its transportation management systems as widely as possible in order to:

    • Reduce crashes and otherwise improve the safety of the surface transportation system
    • Inform the public and enhance the quality of transportation services
    • Facilitate route and mode choice among transportation system users
    • Foster the development of traveler services information by the private sector

  2. Actively seek non-exclusive partnerships with the private sector to accomplish Item #1 above.

General Provisions

  1. The general public and other interested private parties shall have access to video imagery and electronically generated data.

  2. Access to the imagery/data shall be tightly governed by VDOT to ensure the security of the systems. The number, location and method of access to the imagery/data will be determined by VDOT.

  3. Due to physical and technical limitations, all interested private parties may NOT be able to access the imagery/data directly. VDOT may require the presence of a third party to facilitate the distribution of the imagery/data. In this instance, VDOT will use competitive procurement procedures to develop a partnership with a third party that most fully supports VDOT's policy objectives while ensuring widespread access to the imagery/data.

  4. VDOT supports the placement of private monitoring equipment within the public rights-of-way. The number, location and method of access to VDOT right-of-way will be determined by VDOT through competitive procurement procedures.

  5. All intellectual property rights to imagery/data shall be governed by the procedures codified in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

Special Provisions: Video Imagery

Due to severely limited physical space and VDOT's desire to disseminate video imagery as widely as possible, the following policies shall apply:

  1. VDOT will enter into agreements with one (1) to three (3) video distribution partners (VDPs) per facility, depending on available space and system design, to facilitate the distribution of video imagery to the public.

  2. Potential VDPs must have the appropriate technical and financial resources to fulfill the traveler information goals of the Department and the requirements of this policy.

  3. All partnerships will be codified in a contract that will be renewable on a periodic basis.

  4. In return for access to the Smart Traffic Centers, the VDPs will be required to:

    • Install, operate and maintain video switching equipment that will allow for the maximum number of video images to be disseminated to the maximum number of interested third parties.

    • Work with VDOT to identify the most appropriate location to install the switching equipment so as not to interfere with or degrade VDOT's video systems or operations.

    • Provide, or cause to be provided in partnership with a third party, an Internet web site for free public access to the video imagery.

    • Conduct public information and marketing activities to inform the public of the availability of the video images on the Internet.

    • Provide video through the Internet at a rate in excess of one frame per second.

    • Manage and accommodate (at market rates) all requests for access to video imagery by all other interested parties.

  5. All VDOT-provided video images must display the VDOT logo or give equivalent attribution to VDOT.

  6. VDOT makes no warranty that the imagery will be provided in an uninterrupted manner. Imagery will be provided on an "as is" and "with all faults" basis.

  7. VDOT will maintain complete control of the video cameras. Neither the VDPs nor the third parties will have pan-tilt-zoom control of the cameras, nor the right to direct VDOT on the operation of the cameras.

  8. VDOT retains the right to terminate any video feed at any time in the event that the cameras capture images of traffic or other incidents that are inappropriate to disseminate to the public.

  9. VDPs will be allowed to charge a fee to interested third parties for connection to the video switch. Third parties will be responsible for their own communications connections and costs.

  10. VDOT or the VDP will provide video imagery to broadcast media for distribution across the public airwaves at cost.

  11. VDOT will entertain partnerships that propose to share video imagery from privately controlled cameras. Ownership and rights to the private video cameras and imagery remain with the owner. VDOT will negotiate on a case-by-case how to integrate those images into the Smart Traffic Center video systems.

  12. VDOT will transition each Smart Traffic Center over to these new guidelines over a twelve (12) month period. In the interim, the agreements with all parties currently receiving video images shall remain in place. Upon transition, as along as space allows, current agreements shall be retained until such time as those arrangements preclude additional parties from having access to video images.

  13. After transition, the VDP will provide video imagery to the broadcast media equal to what the media currently receives, at a cost not to exceed the current cost to the broadcast media outlet.

Special Provisions: Electronic Data

  1. VDOT currently generates electronic traffic monitoring data from five (5) sources:

    • Northern Virginia Smart Traffic Center in Arlington
    • Northern Virginia Computerized Signal System in Arlington
    • Richmond Smart Traffic Center in Colonial Heights
    • Hampton Roads Smart Traffic Center in Virginia Beach
    • Hampton Roads Bridges and Tunnels

  2. The public and other interested parties shall have access to "real-time data" from the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Smart Traffic Centers through the data servers designed for that purpose. Procedures for access to the data servers will be governed by each Smart Traffic Center.

  3. Data from the Richmond STC and all future District Operations Centers may be distributed along with the video imagery through the Video Distribution Partners.

  4. Access to data from the Hampton Roads Bridges and Tunnels will be managed by the individual facilities until such time as that data is available through the Hampton Roads Smart Traffic Center.

  5. The public and other interested parties shall have access to "archived data" through the Smart Travel Lab on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Lab may charge a fee to cover the costs of collecting, storing and distributing the archived data.

1. These guidelines apply to all non-governmental entities.

Virginia Department of Transportation

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