With hurricane season at its peak through September, a Texas Transportation Institute (TTI)-developed, patent-pending system used to monitor travel times could soon be put to the test if Houston has to evacuate.
The new travel time monitoring system has been installed along Interstate 45 from north of Houston to Huntsville. By October, the system will reach over 200 miles into Dallas County, providing current travel time monitoring capability and the ability to determine traffic speeds along I-45.
“The data that our system provides will help determine when contraflow lanes should be opened up during an evacuation event,” says Research Engineer Tony Voigt, who is the program manager for the Houston Research and Implementation Office. “Everyone remembers the evacuation issues in advance of Hurricane Rita in 2005. The new TTI travel time monitoring system, in addition to five years of detailed evacuation planning, should facilitate much smoother future evacuations.”
The Institute’s patent-pending software is called AWAM (Anonymous Wireless Address Matching). When Bluetooth®-equipped cell phones or other electronic devices inside vehicles pass monitoring stations, average travel times are calculated and mapped. The AWAM software system and hardware technology were developed by TTI Senior System Analyst Mike Vickich and Research Scientist Darryl Puckett.
“AWAM is an extremely efficient system that has numerous other applications – at a fraction of the cost of other traffic monitoring systems,” Voigt says. “It really opens the door for travel time-related research and implementation on all types of roadways, especially in rural areas and on arterial roadways.”
TTI’s AWAM will receive more worldwide attention when it’s featured in the upcoming issue of Traffic Technology International magazine, which follows an article in the July/August issue of ITS International.