This article can also be read at American Security Today
All Traffic Solutions’ partnership with Houston Radar makes running traffic reports as easy as checking email
State College, PA, April 18, 2016 — U.S. Route 160 in Taney County, Missouri is one of those idyllic, hilly, American country roads.
It’s also one of the most dangerous for traffic engineers.
“It’s one of those roads where you can’t be out in the middle of it during the daytime. It’s so curvy, drivers don’t see you working,” Mike Bock, Senior Traffic Studies Engineer at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), said. “There’s also nowhere to park a vehicle — no shoulder or driveways.”
Until recently, when the district is tasked with a traffic study on U.S. 160, it took a team to place the equipment on the road. Several workers stop traffic while others worked to nail vehicle counters to the road or lie tubes across the lanes. Additionally, they have to orchestrate the process again each time the department collects the data. Even then, it still feels dangerous, Bock said.
“Standing out in the middle of the road to stop traffic is unsafe,” he said. “It just takes one driver, not paying attention, for something terrible to happen.”
Luckily, no one in MoDOT’s Southwest District has been hurt while installing traffic study equipment in the field. However, the threat was enough for the department to seek out safer alternatives.
“Safety is a major priority with us and we were trying to find something to get us out of the road,” LeAnn Blankenship, MoDOT Senior Traffic Technician, said.
Last spring, the district bought several StatTrak traffic data collection devices from Houston Radar, a traffic counter that quickly and easily attaches to poles on the side of the road instead of on the road itself.
With these new counters and still nowhere to park, Bock drops off Blankenship on the side of the road to install the device and by the time he turned around to pick her up, she is ready to jump back in the truck — just 30 seconds to a minute later.
Perhaps more importantly, the device automatically uploads data to a secure cloud-based server called the TraffiCloud™ managed by All Traffic Solutions.
Solving much of the safety concerns, the Southwest District is able to focus on other problems such as deciphering the data its counters are collecting.
“One of the advantages, with the Android app, I can sit there and ensure my unit is working properly or send the information to my email at work,” Blankenship said.
Unbeknownst to Blankenship is how much easier data collecting is about to become thanks to the TraffiCloud, Ted Graef, All Traffic’s CEO, said.
“Traffic engineers are used to spending days tracking down data buried in excel documents saved on someone’s computer,” he said. “With the TraffiCloud, all anyone needs to do is login online and everything — from maps to traffic data — is right there. The data from the StatTrak is uploaded automatically and when a user clicks a specific location, you see all the data right there and can easily run reports.”
The data is also easily shared across departments or with partner agencies such as law enforcement. Additionally, Graef said All Traffic is also working on integrating mobile phone alerts so traffic engineers are notified if one of their devices is broken, stolen or low on batteries.
“In the near future, checking and analyzing traffic data will be as easy as checking your email,” he said.