Operations Center celebrates anniversary
A true "Big Brother" with 500 cameras, control over traffic signals and equipped with a super powerful weather radar, the monitoring complex puts Rio on the very selective list of "smart cities" that are prepared for big events
A little more than four years before the 2016 Games, that which is considered the first public facility in Rio de Janeiro built specifically with Olympics in mind is close to completing its first anniversary. Opened on December 31, 2010, the Rio Operations Center has learned a lot about the city by monitoring it in real time, 24 hours a day. And it has started writing a different story for the near future.
– There is no doubt this is a facility that will be much more mature when these great events begin. The idea is that, during them, it will be possible to respond to any type of adversity, any mishap, helping the city operate optimally, explained Savio Franco, chief executive of Rio Operations Center.
With a structure to cause envy to metropolises in super-developed nations, the Center has about 500 cameras spread all over the city that give transit operators an overview of the major Rio streets and crossings. The images are projected on an 80 square meter wall of LCD monitors.
– We also have information coming from all agencies, layered on a Google map, which gives a broad and fast view of all resources the City has available at the specific moment. Thus, we can see who is closest to any incident and respond more quickly, remarked Savio.
In addition to all of the digital technology available, the Rio Operations Center can gather in a single place representatives of various state agencies, such as the Fire Department and Military Police, whether of the City or private utilities such as power and gas, trains and the subway system.
– The difference is that I am near a number of people, so instead of harping on a phone or radio call, I can reach out and address issues more quickly, explains Waldir das Neves Filho, who supervisor of the Traffic Control Operations Center.
Operators, coming from the old CET-Rio control system, still have full control over about 2,500 traffic signals in town. Through a computerized system, and with the help of images coming in from the cameras, they can adjust the crossing’s closing and opening time, making traffic more fluid.
With the Operations Center, Rio is among the very selected list of cities that fits under “smart city” concept, in which actions of government are focused on day to day mobility and on the creation of mechanisms to forestall any incident, whether in traffic or caused by the weather.
– Rio is the only city in Brazil that has its own radar. It is installed at Sumaré and is capable of detecting the approximation of rain or of a cold front in a radius of 250 kilometers. In addition, we have 32 rain gauges installed throughout the city, with which we can determine the amount of rainfall in real time, details Savio.
In terms of weather forecasting, which is operated by Alerta Rio system technicians, the Center also has the PMAR (High Resolution Meteorological Program), a mathematical system capable of predicting the behavior of the rain up to 48 hours in advance, through historical data on storms, rain gauges and radar and satellite images.