Traffic.com, a company based in Wayne, Pa., has chosen Pittsburgh as the test site for its intelligent transportation system.
The U.S. Department of Transportation paid Traffic.com $2 million, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provided another $500,000, to set up the system, which includes sensors powered by solar panels that are currently being placed at 111 points along major highways in the Pittsburgh area.
According to the Post-Gazette, the system uses radar similar to the technology used to open doors at supermarkets, to calculate the number of vehicles, types of vehicles, distances between vehicles and speeds in each lane of traffic. Crews in a half-dozen cars also will report traffic conditions.
The data is gathered every 60 seconds, and is transmitted by radio to a central operations center, where it is processed instantly. The public can access that information for free at www.traffic.com. For a fee, subscribers will soon be able to get reports on their cell phones, personal digital assistants, and in-car devices. Customized travel advisories will be offered and, ultimately, motorists with global positioning system equipment will be told how to get around the traffic jams.