Fa La La La Fiesta

We wore colorful Christmas sweaters, we brought corny jokes. We traffic-talked, and spoke of holiday plans. Who else has an office party in two locations!?

Talking about the TraffiCcast holiday parties, first in Wilmington, Delaware, and a couple of merry and bright days later, in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Even though we stepped away from our maps for a few hours, rest assured that holiday road and highway coverage continues. As you contemplate your holiday journeys, tune in to where you get your traffic information, knowing we are watching the roads for you, so you know when and where to go.

Power in Preparation: How Alaska Repaired Roads Just Days After Earthquake

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The earthquake on November 30 left some Alaskan roads looking like the set of a disaster movie. While there were thankfully no fatalities or serious injuries reported, the 7.0 magnitude quake wreaked havoc on asphalt and concrete. Roads were in shambles, but in just a manner of days, work crews managed to remedy the worst of the damage. The before and after photos are nothing short of incredible.

So how’d they do it? The answer lie in the state’s preparation for such an event. Alaska has quite a history of earthquakes, experiencing more than any other state in the country. In 1964 Alaska suffered a massive 9.2 magnitude quake, the second most powerful ever recorded. Four years ago, on the 50th anniversary of that event, the state revamped contingency plans and conducted emergency drills. Shannon McCarthy, a spokesperson for the Alaska DOT and Public Facilities, believes this practice was integral to the quick response.

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As soon as the initial tremors passed, bridge inspectors began surveying the 243 bridges in the impact zones. At the same time, contractors began putting together the broken jigsaw puzzles of roadways. Crews worked tirelessly around the clock through wet snow and high winds. Their efforts have returned Alaskan drivers to a semblance of normalcy at an astonishing rate. It should be noted though that these are temporary repairs. Whereas most Alaskan roads will survive for decades, these roads will need to be fixed again come summertime when working with asphalt is more agreeable.

It’s always heartening to see a region take tragedy in stride and there’s a valuable lesson to take from Alaska’s response: you can’t see the future, but knowing your history can be just as helpful.

Nick-el for your Thoughts

“There are so many things to learn! How are we all going to transport outselves in the future? How can we make interactive maps that are more useful? How can we stay in the forefront of providing data that helps direct-connected and autonomous vehicles?”

These are the questions that keep Nick Kiernan, Trafficcast Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development thinking and going in the transportation and mobility field after some 20 years.

Kiernan spent his early career in media, starting at CBS Radio Network in New York. In previous decades, traffic reporting was largely done from helicopters. Kiernan thought there had to be a better way. Cameras were cheaper and less weather-dependent than helicopters, and the internet had to be involved in traffic reporting! Nick Kiernan came Trafficcast in 2005, and helped launch early commercialization. Nick works from Trafficcast’s Middleton offices, still with a hand in shaping the future of traffic data collecting and reporting.

When not connecting with clients and Trafficcast employees (Nick springs for an occasional office pizza party), he enjoys cycling with his wife, Susan, and spending time with his daughter Laura, a Carleton College student, and son Cole, a senior at Madison West High School.

#trafficcast #mobility #traffic #trafficdata #flow

The Road Back

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The devastating Woolsey Fire in Ventura County was declared contained on November 21, leaving in its wake 1600 homes and buildings destroyed and 3 people dead. Its fiery tumble across 97,000 acres closed various roadways during the time it raged. Today, 12 days after it ceased to burn, California Highway 23 remains closed from the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) to Mulholland Highway. Transportation officials give no word about the timing of its reopening.

It was 9 days ago that Butte County’s Camp Fire became controlled. County officials are opening makeshift classrooms on this Monday, attempting to keep teachers and classmates together as they plan new classroom spaces to replace the schools that were destroyed. The Camp Fire is reported responsible for some 88 civilian fatalities, 3 firefighters with injuries and more than 153,000 acres of forest, homes and city buildings burned. California Highway 70, running through the town of Big Bar, remains closed.

These closures are established presently on TrafficCast International traffic maps until the moment they are opened again, informing residents, responders and city officials about routes that remain impassable, and when roads become viable for traffic again, as is our commitment during all natural disasters.

#fire #CampFire #WoolseyFire #Californiahighways