Traffic Tidbits: 7 JanuaryFebruary 2008

Anti-Trust in the Transportation Sector?: If you’re not a net junky like me (and if you weren’t, would you be reading this?) then you might not have heard of Traffic.com, the company responsible for the vast proliferation of Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure throughout some of the nation’s major metro areas. Traffic.com is contracted by these localites under a program called the Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration program, a federal earmark that incentivises the placement of radar speed detectors and traffic counters. This is where the various traffic feeds for your cell phone come from. Jerry Werner, formerly of the National Transportation Operations Coalition sent me an email making the case that the contracts awarded to Traffic.com are not in accordance with law; that they are specifically targeted to Traffic.com rather than being competitive as the most recent Highway Act requires. See his information at: The U.S. TTID Program: When Politics, Competition, and the Public Interest Collide and Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration Program (TTID): What the Agreements Signed by State and Local Transportation Agencies Show.

Connecticut Looking at Speed Cameras on I-95: They do this in Britain, and some places in the U.S., automating speed enforcement on a major highway. My opinion? This makes sense, but only if the speed is set legitimately. If it’s an arbitrarily low speed, this would be an inappropriate enforcement scheme.

Cash Flow Issues in Texas DOT: Apparently, the lack of funding is hitting even states like Texas, with their massive transportation budget.

Speaking of Politics: Voting against party direction will get you in trouble. This is particularly interesting to me because I work around here.

DATA: The Duluth (MN) Area Trail Alliance: Check out their website.

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One Response to Traffic Tidbits: 7 JanuaryFebruary 2008

  1. James Cronen says:

    <whisper>(Psst… it’s February.)</whisper>

    New Jersey tried the automated highway speed-camera thing in something like 1990, and it went horribly. There was massive commuter backlash, and the state government mismanaged the program.

    As cameras and technology have improved, I’d imagine the numbers of false-positives will go down, but one never knows. It’s unlikely that political mismanagement would be any different now than it was fifteen years ago.

    Agreed on your point with the speed limit as well; if the cameras are set to trigger on low limits, commuters will choose other routes or try to come up with creative ways of masking their presence. Tailgating comes to mind, which definitely has a deleterious effect on safety.

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