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ATMS Monitoring — Aerial Observation

MC-10 plane

The aerial surveillance project is a critical part of Montgomery County's transportation management program. The airplane (MC-10) operates during morning and evening peak periods and is available, on demand, at any other time. MC-10 carries a Transportation Management Technician who looks for problems in the system while monitoring several radio frequencies (air traffic reporters, county police, fire & rescue, Maryland State Highway Administration and State Police). On a typical flight MC-10 finds and / or quickly responds to multiple incidents which impact the transportation system. The observer contacts the appropriate authority to respond to the problem, notifies the Transportation Management Center (TMC) to adjust traffic signals in the area of the incident and directly notifies the airborne traffic reporters of the problem. MC-10 is used to perform observations associated with transportation system analysis.

wec cam

The aerial surveillance project is enhanced by the addition of a Wescam gyro-stabilized video / infrared camera mounted to the aircraft. The video from this camera is fed to the TMC, as well as remote sites, by microwave. This video allows decision makers to see the big picture as seen by the observer in MC-10. The observer has a digital camera to take still photos.

In addition, MC-10 performs police surveillance, environmental protection activities and assists Fire and Rescue in locating fires in rural and other hard to access areas.





  • Provides the "big picture" of 500 square miles to the Transportation Management Center to help manage transportation incidents in a County
  • Aerial video is available to incident management team at the scene as well as to the local media
  • Observation of many problem areas is possible during a flight, which would normally require the deployment of many people in the field( or the ground)
  • Detects and reports intersection delays to TMC operators and provides immediate feedback on the effect of traffic signal timing changes
  • Provides an aerial view of incidents with limited ground access
  • Quicker response time and improved management of incidents


Traffic Engineering & Operations · Montgomery County Department of Transportation · 240-777-2190 · Fax: 240-777-6030 · 100 Edison Park Dr · 4th Floor · Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878 ·
For any MCDOT service requests, call 311. Outside the county, call 240-777-0311 or submit via the website.   For website issues, broken links or comments, please email us (does not handle service requests).
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