My daily Google Alert for transportation stuff in Columbus sent me this article about Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). One of the three items discussed is a traveler information website called BuckeyeTraffic.org.
The site has been active since October 2007, but I hadn’t seen it before. The article discusses some of its uses:
Intelligent Transportation Systems Target Highway Congestion
Sep 9, 2008, By Chad Vander Veen, Associate Editor
…In Ohio, the state department of transportation uses Microsoft Virtual Earth to help drivers and transportation officials better manage traffic. Visitors to http://www.Buckeyetraffic.org find a wealth of traffic information for traveling through the state. Launched last October, Buckeyetraffic.org is built on the Virtual Earth platform, giving users a detailed and easily navigable Ohio map. On the Web site, a driver can examine a route and its potential traffic problems. In addition, the state’s 250 traffic cameras are linked directly to the map, giving users a real-time view of what’s transpiring.
“Let’s say I want to check my commute home,” said Spencer Wood, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Division of Information Technology. “I can go zoom into the Columbus area, it can show me all roadway activity for Columbus, and it’s going to pull up all the roadway construction. It’s going to show me any roadway closures or restrictions due to debris, disabled vehicles, flooding, roadwork, ice, and even what we call ‘other’ — basically other events that we couldn’t account for [in] a specific category, whether it be a gas leak, a fire that’s closed down a road or something like that. So [users] get all that information, but also if you know this is a route you go home on every day, you can also select ‘My Cameras,’ and look at all the cameras in Columbus.”
Traffic and weather sensors across the state are linked to the site and layered onto Virtual Earth as an administrator chooses. Weather data is updated every five minutes, and in a place like Ohio, the information can be invaluable during brutal winters and unpredictable summers.
…”We’ve been seeing millions of [Web site] hits, especially during bad weather times,” Wood said. “We can also look at wind speed direction, and it’s also a dashboard for us from a management point of view. We can actually look at the entire state and say which roads are clear, which roads have snow and ice, and which roads we would consider dangerous.”
The article also discusses a test by researchers at UC Berkeley to use cell phones to collect real-time traffic data and efforts by the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) to go paperless on its transit routes. It’s worth checking out: