Iowa DOT, motorists debate usefulness of traffic-monitoring cameras

| 6/30/2006

Iowa officials may be closing the curtains on a high-priced, high-tech traffic surveillance system.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Transportation is considering discontinuing its TripGuide system, which uses 43 closed-circuit cameras to keep an eye on traffic conditions on Interstates 235 and 35/80, as well as state Highway 5 and U.S. Highway 65.

The $3.8 million system was installed for motorists and transit officials to monitor construction during work on I-235. However, the DOT is unsure of the system’s usefulness or its maintenance costs after the stretch of roadway is completed in early 2007, the Register reported.

Opponents of the cameras’ shutdown, however, say the system’s traffic-monitoring abilities, coupled with its high installation cost, are important reasons for its maintenance.