Stuck in a Rut

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When love puts starts in your eyes, a besotted creature doesn’t pay attention to traffic. That’s how deer ‘rut’ season goes. Mating season and the quest for more secure habitats have deer on the move during this time of the year, and that means, Drivers, Beware!

While rut lasts from October to January, romantic deer encounters in many states peak in November. Here’s why this is the season for drivers to shift into high alert:

Deer rarely travel alone. Even if you spot only one deer, there’s a good chance many more are nearby.

Deer are more mobile around sunrise and sunset. The hours when humans are battling morning and evening rush hour traffic are the same times chances of hitting a deer are highest.

Here’s what to do:

Drive alertly through deer crossing areas.

If a deer is in your path, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Many crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid an animal and hit another vehicle.

Skip deer whistles and reflectors which have not been proven to reduce collisions, although they allow that one long honk from a car horn could be effective.

Reduce speed near wooded or green areas such as parks and golf courses and near streams and ponds.

Use bright lights when conveniet and safe, to scan the road ahead.

Opt for common-sense caution, like wearing a seat belt.

If you do hit a deer, Transportation and Natural Resources officials advise that motorists leave the animal in the road and call law enforcement, who will remove it. They caution to especially not approach a wounded animal. Drivers are urged to turn on their hazard lights and stay buckled in their vehicles, as they are more protected inside a car should a secondary crash occur.

#roadsafety #deerseason #huntingseason #deeronthemove #safedriving #deerinlove

Safe Teens

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So, what’s the magic formula to insure teenagers and their friends don’t get into a crash? The state of Oregon has one – a driver education program. Oregon statistics shows that teens age 15 – 20 without driver education are responsible for 91 percent of teen driver crashes.

Apart from enrolling in a drivers ed class, the factors teens can (ahem) steer away from to avoid being involved in an accident are the same as those for all drivers:

  • Alcohol and drug-impaired driving.
  • Inconsistent or no seat belt use.
  • Distracted and drowsy driving.
  • Speeding.
  • Having too many passengers in the car.

#teenagers #drivingsafety #saferoads #drivereducation #don’tdrinkanddrive

Mid-day Halloween fun at TrafficCast!

Halloween is for Operators – and one Developer, too.

Adults who not-so-secretly like to dress up for Halloween – that’s us! We are, left to right, Little Mac from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out video game (Cody), Wilma Flinstone (Pam), Minion (Kelly), Ironic Costume (Josh), Squirrel Girl (Maddie) and White Suburban College-Educated Female Voter (Susan). We took a break from Halloween traffic chatter, which mostly consists of police departments warning drivers to look out for little witches and dragons, to enjoy pizza and costume awards for those who dressed up. Everyone won an award, and received some well-deserved candy. Susan tied with Josh for Laziest Costume!

#Halloween#CrazyCostumes#Whenyouremployerbuysthepizza#traffic    #besafeforhalloween#WilmaFlinstone#Minion#SquirrelGirl#LittleMac#Irony  #WhiteSuburbanCollege-EducatedFemaleVoter

 

Mid Year Update

Chances are, if you read or hear local traffic information while in your car, it comes from TrafficCast International.  TrafficCast – that’s us! – is a North American leader in travel-time forecasting and traffic information, developing technology, applications and content based on advanced digital traffic information, and we have the data to prove we’re out in front.  

As of mid-year 2018, you’ll find 80% of top U.S auto OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) displaying TrafficCast data. And 1.5 Billion is the number of data points the information TrafficCast serves up every day. Pair that with incident data from 250+ sources and anonymous device data from the Company’s 12,000+ IoT device deployments, and it means that updated travel information from various sources are delivered from TrafficCast every 60 seconds.

BlueTOAD Spectra and BlueArgus are surging in nationwide placement and use as well. BlueTOAD is the most advanced traffic-monitoring system on the market, directly measuring travel times using cost-effective, non-intrusive roadside technology. BlueTOAD Spectra detects anonymous Bluetooth signals broadcast from mobile devices to determine accurate travel times and speeds Presently, BlueTOAD technology, delivering analytics to assist traffic management and predict future traffic patterns on roads and at events, is at work throughout the US. coast to coast, some 4,400 devices have been installed by federal, state and municipal transportation and engineering departments and large event planners. And with new offices opening to serve BlueTOAD clients regionally, TrafficCast expects the growth seen at mid-2018 to continue.  

#traffic #driving #travel #BlueTOAD #roadsafety #solutions #TrafficCast

BlueTOAD and Coachella – Strange Bedfellows?

Not so strange at all, when you consider that some 100,000 fans attend the music festival during  each day of the two weekend event, and most of those arrive in a motor vehicle. Translation: TRAFFIC! Snarling traffic on I-10 and state roads as attendees arrive, producing another travel challenge – PARKING! What’s a concert organizer to do?

This year, Coachella did a smart thing. It partnered with TrafficCast International, installing  a dozen temporary BlueTOAD Spectra devices which allowed festival organizers to see traffic patterns during different times of the day, and thus anticipate and plan traffic management accordingly.

Here’s from BlueTOAD headquarters: 

Although the Coachella music festival has been around for almost twenty years, there has been very little data available for traffic management planning prior to and during the festival. A traffic management strategy is much more effective when coordinators have an idea of drivers’ preferred routes, peak hours, travel times and speeds.

For 2018, the city of Indio, in partnership with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), Advantec Consulting and TrafficCast International, proposed using TrafficCast’s BlueTOAD Spectra travel-time solution to address that lack.

Coachella aimed to collect accurate travel-time data and arterial speeds on three (3) of the major roadways leading to the concert grounds from Interstate 10 – the main access freeway in Coachella Valley. Employing BlueTOAD’s capability to collect and predict traffic patterns, Indio Traffic Engineering, Indio Police Department and the concert promoter were not only able to manage traffic approaching the festival better than in previous years, but also offer traffic information to the driving public. 

Collected by BlueTOAD Spectra devices, comprehensive travel time data was made available to Indio’s traffic management team via the real-time, web-based reporting software, BlueARGUS, enabling planners to create comparison reports and conduct origin-destination studies. This helped identify peak hours and preferred routes to the venue as well as compare route speeds and travel time, day to day and even weekend to weekend.

 

Other valuable data was also made available, such as that concert attendees stayed an average 38 hours over the weekend.

In addition to providing this data, TrafficCast International worked behind the scenes creating a mobile app via its existing TrafficCarma app. Partnering with iHeart Media, the app, known as TotalTraffic, was promoted on iHeart’s many stations encouraging concert goers to download the app or simply visit CoachellaTraffic.com. There, users selected their preferred routes and received travel time and speed information.

 

The end results? Far greater visibility on current traffic conditions and an amazing amount of data to reference for any strategy changes during the 2018 festival as well as consideration for future festivals. The most rewarding aspect of the project is perhaps the availability of useful information to the driving public. We all like choices. After all, safe and efficient roadways is what successful traffic management is all about, and TrafficCast, with BlueTOAD Spectra and BlueARGUS, is happy to contribute to that success. 

“Improve the Commute” Winners

Birds chirping as you drive past a local park; a smart alarm that lovingly reminds you to get going, you’re going to be late, and a student-focused carpool app were only a few of the innovations submitted to Future of the Commute: TrafficCast Design Challenge. Winners were announced in Philadelphia last month, and Technically Philly covered it. Who won the cash awards? Read here:

https://technical.ly/philly/2018/07/30/we-asked-you-to-hack-the-commute-and-you-did-not-disappoint/

 

Fire Alarm

Summer is fire season west of the Mississippi, and as flames sweep up and down hills and mountain-sides, roads open and close. Through it all, TrafficCast International’s team of traffic data editors deliver up-to-the-minute information about roads traveled by millions across the affected areas. 

Nature is beautiful and brutal and endlessly fascinating. In Oregon, at the Silver Falls State Park about 20 miles southeast of Salem, firefighters have been able to encircle and thus control the spread of the 27 acres of the Silver Creek Fire. Night crews used infra-red cameras to help identify hot spots. The heavily forested area is located away from major roads, although state highway 38, which was closed for days, is reopened. While some trails remained closed, waterfall areas are open to visitors during park hours. This fire was thought to have been started by lightning; there have been no injuries or fatalities.

Also in Oregon, the Substation Fire flared up around The Dalles, roaring through 109 miles and closing state highway 206 and US 97.  Roads were reopened and the fire was 82% contained by July 22. Evacuations have been lowered to level one.

Some fires limit visibility or even close interstate highways. In Colorado, I-70 near mountain passes closed periodically due fires that flared up and then subsided. During the past two weeks, drivers on CO-82 near Basalt, have been warned of poor visibility, but the highway has remained opened. Downstate, by Telluride, US-550 is opened to alternating lanes of traffic after having been closed in June. Now the problem is landslides, due at least in part to loss of vegetation from wildfires.  

The Klamathon Fire, in northern California and southern Oregon, which had closed Interstate 5 for a time, is 96% contained.

In Southern California, The Valley Fire which started on July 6th is 29% contained, and while more than 100 fire personnel plus 5 engines, 3 helicopters and 3 water tenders remain assigned to battle and contain the fire, no homes or structures have been damaged. Eleven state and local agencies contribute fire control support, including CALFIRE, San Bernardino Animal Control  and the American Red Cross.

The Grant Fire which threatened the Altamont Pass east of San Francisco was started by two teenagers with fireworks. The teens remorsefully turned themselves in to the Manteca Police Department; one is being charged with negligence. The fire lasted less than 24 hours, but shut down I-580 through the Altamont Pass in both directions for several hours while it blazed.

These incidences provide only a snapshot of what firefighters and law enforcement officers in Western states are facing in summer, 2018 as they coordinate evacuations and road closures. There are many days of summer and hot weather ahead. Through it all, TrafficCast’s traffic operations department provides up to the minute records on road and highway closings and openings. These records help the public know if and when they can use public roads and return to their homes as fires rage and subside.

by Susan McKinney