STARS, SSP, DOT, Serco
Anybody else notice how some DOT units don't display a radio ID? What's up with that? I would figure even if they were using some sort of non-STARS radio patched into the system there would at least be an RID for the transmitting console.
VDOT and the SSPs use standard STARS equipment, that is, Motorola XTL-5000 mobile, Futurecomm Digital Vehicle Repeater System, and XTS-5000 portable radio. Their talk groups are also set up the same as any other state agency talk group.
I didn't catch where you are listening. In northern Virginia the SSP normally take dispatch directly from the VSP on Fairfax 1 or Fairfax 2 Talk Groups. The northern Region Transportation Operations Center (RTOC) sits in the combined Fairfax/VSP/VDOT PSTOC in Fairfax but currently does not have access to STARS equipment. Ergo the SSP are defacto State Police assets.
In southwest RTOC in Salem, they have STARS control stations and directly dispatch the SSP vehicles on DOT Tac 2. It is one of the most active talk groups in the entire STARS system. Opposite to northern Virginia, the SSP operation has nothing directly to do with the VSP.
Northwest RTOC and SSP in Staunton has limited historical use of tactical radios but will be employing new Motorola APX radios on STARS in 2014.
Central Region and SSPs from Chester use the VDOT radio through repeater on 47.300. You can hear them using identifiers "downtown", "new kent", "295", etc.
Eastern Region and SSPs continue to use the DOT radio and monster repeater at Driver also on 47.300, but with a different CTCSS tone than Central Region. This is also quite busy with a good range.
NOTE: If you were not aware of it, all the Transportation TOC and SSP functions were contracted out to Serco, Inc., at the end of 2013. The contract calls for payment of some $60,000,000 a year from the COV to Serco. However, contractually DOT is on the hook to provide the radios and communications means for Serco. DOT has purchased some $320,000 worth of additional STARS radios to put in new Serco trucks in NOVA. Northwest Region DOT is trying to purchase some 15 systems worth about $240,000 to be placed in Serco trucks to perform the SSP mission. The TOC functions contracted out involve a lot more than SSP.