Monitors show the latest traffic scenarios at MATOC in Greenbelt
GREENBELT, Md. (WUSA) -- A small office in Greenbelt is the nerve center for the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination program or MATOC.
On several screens an operator monitors traffic cameras, maps and emergencies. The operator is able to communicate in real time with first responders and transportation agencies.
On Monday morning, operator Rosa Eberle had a bird's eye view of police activity that shut down the Key Bridge. She phoned jurisdictions in both D.C. and Virginia. She kept in touch through email until the scene was cleared by 5:30 a.m.
Instantaneous communication gives first responders crucial information when they arrive on the scene.
Transportation agencies and first responders have mobile devices where they, in turn, can relay information such as, how many lanes need to be closed and for how long, how many injuries and so on. Information that is sent back to MATOC.
MATOC says U.S. Congressman Jim Moran backed the program but has since run out of money. Now, DDOT, VDOT and the Maryland Highway Administration help foot the bill at 1.2 million dollars a year.
Roddy Moscoso is CapWIN's acting director. His organization created the first responders' wireless system that allows shared communication.
Moscoso admits the fairly new program has had some growing pains. Last month's ice storm that created a commuter nightmare was under MATOC's watch. Moscoso says, the system needs to get better at communicating vital information faster.
MATOC was developed after 9-11. The horrific events of that day nearly a decade ago, revealed how inadequate first responders and different agencies across the metro region communicated.
MATOC now provides a tool to get an edge on anything from a minor accident or an unfortunate event such as a mass evacuation that rises to the level of another September 11th.