SDOT Department Operations Center: In Action!

We’re live!

On January 3, the Seattle Department of Transportation launched the Department Operations Center (DOC), providing coverage 24/7 during the closure of SR 99 through downtown Seattle until February 2019. Staff from across the department will be either on-call or in the DOC in downtown Seattle to address incidents, coordinate across agencies, and ensure that things are running smoothly during the closure.

Travel options near Washington State Convention Center
We activated the DOC to ensure mobility is maximize to the greatest extent possible.

Operating the DOC 24/7 allows us to achieve the following objectives:

  • Ensure mobility is maximize to the greatest extent possible with a focus on transit and emergency vehicles
  • Keep goods moving, particularly on designated freight corridors
  • Maintain level of readiness to respond to inclement weather, additional traffic disruptions, or emergencies
  • Ensure the safety of the traveling public
  • Disseminate important traffic or incident information to the public through various communications channels.

Operating the DOC is one of the traffic and operations measures and communications strategies that were identified during a multi-year planning effort as being important to successfully maintaining safety and mobility during the SR 99 closure.

SDOT Staff in the DOC
SDOT staff meet in the Department Operations Center, SDOT’s center for planning and operations during the SR 99 closure.

DOC? Wait… I thought it was TOC?

There are lots of phrases that float around our department, and it can get confusing to keep track – especially when they sound as similar as TOC and DOC! So, what’s the difference?

The Transportation Operations Center (TOC) began operating 24/7 in October 2018, in anticipation of the SR 99 closure. Our TOC operators monitor traffic system cameras and signals across Seattle, helping to communicate and alleviate problems as they arise with real-time system monitoring and managing, implementing changes as needed. Some of the things they do include:

  • Enhanced traffic reporting with electronic messaging signs;
  • Real-time construction and traffic data sharing with Google Maps, Waze, and TomTom;
  • Real-time signal adjustments to increase traffic flow and decrease congestion;
  • Ongoing coordination with WSDOT and other regional transportation agencies

The Department Operations Center (DOC) is the incident management system that the Seattle Department of Transportation has put in place to manage and coordinate everything related to the SR 99 closure. This includes planning and strategy, managing crews performing work in the right of way, and coordinating with the TOC, among the many other tasks it takes to keep our department – and the City of Seattle – running.

Other crews that will be working during the closure include our Maintenance Operations crews who keep streets and sidewalks clear,  our bridge maintenance crews staged at the South Park and Fremont bridges to respond to any mechanical situations, and our Street Use inspectors to monitor work in the right of way and respond to any construction-related impacts. (Read about updated bridge closure schedules during the SR 99 closure here.) The DOC is overseeing the work these crews are doing to keep people moving during the closure.

Bridge Crews
Making sure our bridges are functioning properly to keep people moving!

During this time, if members of the media would like to reach out to the DOC, they may do so by emailing SDOTMedia@seattle.gov or by calling 206-684-0671.