The state of Colorado is planning to launch a traffic advisory system
that will use motorists’ toll transponder information.
The program will estimate travel times on Interstate 70 between State
Highway 470 and Copper Mountain, and will broadcast announcements via
electronic signs located every 15 miles along the roadway, the Denver Post reported.
CDOT Spokeswoman Stacey Stegman told the Post that the system is not capable of collecting personal
information or monitoring speeders, and that the system’s private data is
dumped from the system every two hours.
Colorado isn’t the first state to use transponder info.
to monitor traffic flow.
On May 30, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation
Commission and the California Department of Transportation announced that the
traffic information Web site, 511.org, would begin using up-to-the-minute
traffic information on State Routes 1 and 92 between Half Moon Bay and the Interstate 280 junction.
The program’s traffic information network was launched in March 2004 on
Interstates 80, 680 and 880, and has been expanded several times since. With
the addition of State Routes 1 and 92, the network now includes the entire
length of Interstates 280, 580, 680, 780, 880, 980 and 238; and State Routes
13, 24, 37, 85, 87 and 242; as well as extensive coverage of Interstate 80,
U.S. 101, and State Routes 4, 17, 84 and 237.
The Web site bases its traffic information on three systems, one of
which is the monitoring of toll transponders passing through special roadside
electronic readers, which then calculate the speed at which the vehicle was
traveling and average it with other vehicles’ information in the area to
determine the speed of traffic.
Two other systems, including an in-ground counter system supplied by
Caltrans and a remote radar system, are merged with the transponder data to
create accurate traffic speed information.
“We know that the same toll tag has passed Point A and Point B, and we
can calculate the time that it took to travel between the two points, so we get
very accurate information,” Metropolitan Transportation Commission Spokesman
John Goodwin told Land Line.
Goodwin said because the transponder-tracking system uses encryption to
keep drivers’ speed information, it cannot be used to track individual
motorists or to ticket speeders.
“We have no way of identifying individual drivers, or individual
vehicles belonging to the toll tags, so it’s absolutely anonymous,” Goodwin
said. “In fact, with the FasTrak toll tags, the only time we know where you or
your vehicle is, is at the toll plaza itself.”