Mike Vickich, a Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) software engineer in the Research & Implementation Houston office, has dedicated over 25 years to developing technology-based transportation solutions to improve the safety and efficiency of transportation networks. Through his work at TTI, Vickich has contributed to patented products that are being utilized to manage traffic and optimize transportation network operations throughout Texas and the United States.
One innovative technology solution developed by Vickich, along with co-inventor and retired TTI Research Scientist Darryl Puckett, is called “Anonymous Wireless Address Matching for Traffic Information,” or AWAM, US Patent No. 10,726,717. AWAM operates by anonymously capturing and analyzing wireless signals emitted by smartphones and other devices with BLUETOOTH® that are carried by commuters. Advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence are employed to collect and match these signals to specific locations while safeguarding the privacy of individuals, hence, its anonymous operation. This capability enables transportation engineers and planners to monitor travel movements in real-time, analyze traffic congestion patterns, and identify areas in need of infrastructure improvements, all without compromising data privacy.
Vickich highlighted the significance of privacy and security in the development of AWAM, stating, “Respecting individual privacy has been a fundamental principle in the creation of AWAM. We have implemented rigorous privacy safeguards to ensure that personal identities remain protected throughout the data collection and storage process.”
AWAM is at the center of an exclusive license agreement between The Texas A&M University System and Post Oak Traffic Systems, Inc., a startup founded in 2010 by Vickich, Puckett, TTI Research Engineer Darrell Borchardt, P.E. and Tony Voigt, P.E. to commercialize innovative traffic monitoring technologies developed at TTI. This collaboration brought AWAM to the forefront of transportation data analysis, enabling more efficient and cost-effective traffic data systems throughout the country.
With a wide range of applications, AWAM is now extensively utilized by transportation agencies throughout the United States and Canada and has been deployed to monitor traffic on some of the busiest and most critical roadways in North America.
“Since developing the first iteration of the technology years ago, we’ve continued to evolve it to take advantage of improved methods for collecting data and more robust transportation system monitoring,” said Vickich. “TTI and Texas A&M have provided support for the development of AWAM technology, thus facilitating the creation of a safer and more efficient transportation network.”
As areas continue to grow and face increasing challenges in managing transportation networks efficiently, innovative solutions developed by Vickich and his colleagues at TTI pave the way for more efficient and livable communities.