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Inside Western New York's Traffic Center

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Ever wonder how police and fire departments are able to show up so quickly to the scene of a thruway accident, or how WBEN's Allan Harris knows so much about traffic?

It's all thanks to NITTEC.

NITTEC, or Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, monitors the highways in Western New York and Southern Ontario. "We have a staff 24/7 that does a lot of monitoring of the systems and the cameras to get the information out as quick as possible, so we can get the information to the responders" said NITTEC's Michael Smith.

Instead of having each separate municipality monitor traffic for accidents and backups, NITTEC serves as a central command center for the region, making it easier to spot and solve problems on the road. Every crash, disabled vehicle, and backup is digested in NITTEC's control room and then filtered out to any police or highway department that needs to know.

"We have almost 150 cameras in the region for monitoring the expressway network. We also have an advanced traffic management system that we use to help disseminate the information" said NITTEC Executive Director Athena Hutchins.

NITTEC's command center monitors all 100 plus cameras on a large screen, as well as takes phone calls from local authorities to make sure that the latest traffic information is available to the public.