What is the RTMC and what makes it Cutting Edge?

Inside RTMC

What is the Regional Transportation Management Centre (RTMC)? Well, for starters, think of it as the nerve centre for road/weather conditions and traffic information across BC.

Based in Coquitlam, the RTMC is the hub for collecting transportation information and communicating it to the public, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Your Eyes on the Road

The RTMC is equipped with more than 200 live-streaming video feeds, and 600 cameras strategically located on highways across the province (you can see these webcams firsthand via DriveBC).

By monitoring the roads and weather so closely, RTMC staff is able to give travellers and commercial drivers the information they need to plan a safe, efficient trip. They respond quickly to incidents by alerting travellers and coordinating with emergency response agencies and our maintenance contractors to manage traffic through detour routes, counter-flow lanes and overhead message signs.

Some events, like incidents, are unexpected; other events are planned. RTMC handles both.

Take Translink’s Pattullo Bridge rehabilitation work, for example, which requires five months of reduced lanes and full closures on this heavily travelled link between New Westminster and Surrey. RTMC staff is monitoring traffic on all of the Lower Mainland’s major Fraser River crossings and reporting congestion, delays, incidents, and other events via DriveBC website, Twitter and digital message signs.

Sharing information with municipalities and other agencies is a big reason for the RTMC’s success. Twenty-seven partnerships, including data and fibre-sharing agreements, allow us all to share video images, traffic data, and fibre optic cable for the benefit of travellers.

Cutting Edge Technologies

Besides allowing staff to monitor, communicate and manage traffic flow, the RTMC’s technology can change speed limits based on weather and other road conditions on three highways. The Variable Speed Limit Sign system sends weather and traffic data to the RTMC, which operators use to calculate appropriate speed limit adjustments on 47 new overhead variable speed limit signs. That means posted speed limits can better reflect road conditions, as well as congestion ahead caused by traffic volume or incidents.

Emergency Response Headquarters

The RTMC is a post disaster building; in other words, it’s a building that’s essential for maintaining services when disaster strikes. If and when a major earthquake hits, the RTMC will help lead the response as an emergency operations centre, giving emergency service providers timely information about bridges and highways.


Bridges are equipped with seismic monitors tied into, what’s called, the Strong Motion Network. This data, combined with reports from the field, would inform emergency response, EMBC, supply carriers etc. on the status and safety of our infrastructure.

In fact, during Exercise Coastal Response, which runs June 7-10 in Port Alberni, the RTMC is practicing its earthquake notification procedure. Their part includes coordinating key ministry operations staff, as well as supporting ministry operations in keeping track of mock incident and damage scenarios rolling out as part of the exercise.

The RTMC is definitely on the cutting edge for providing timely, relevant travel information for the morning commute, to long haul trucking, and beyond.

Got a question about the RTMC? Feel free to let us know.

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2 Responses to What is the RTMC and what makes it Cutting Edge?

  1. David Holland on November 10, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I would like to know how your center determines when to change the new variable speed signs in the Revelstoke Area? I live in Revelstoke and travel west of town every day and there are major inconsistencies in what the new speed signs are reporting and the speeds are being changed to a reduced speed limit when conditions do not require it.

    I would appreciate further communication on the matter or additional input from local residences on what is determined to be safe speeds for the area.

    Thank you,

    • tranbceditor on November 16, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Hello David,

      Thanks for your interest in the operation of the Variable Speed Limit System (VSLS). It is imperative that we receive feedback from individuals like yourself who frequently travel these corridors in all types of weather so that we are able to post reasonable speed limits that meet the expectations of as many drivers as possible.

      The VSLS is currently posting speed limits based on three different inputs. Firstly, changes in the operating speed of the highway due to any type of event (construction, weather, or congestion) can reduce the posted speed limit. Secondly, the road surface condition is measured and events which are considered heavy rainfall or worse (snow and ice) may reduce the speed limit to 80 km/h. Thirdly, a reduction in visibility due to fog may also reduce the speed limit.

      We are working hard to keep the variable speed limits as current as possible. As you are aware, weather changes very quickly along the corridor and we need to ensure the system is responding to those changes. We are encouraging users of the VSLS corridors to provide the ministry with feedback through the DriveBC website which we can use to continue to improve the system to provide a more reliable driving experience.


      We hope that this helps!

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