The Iowa Department of Transportation’s traffic monitoring program will focus on northeast Iowa this summer. The D.O.T.’s Mark Hansen says the effort involves several permanent staff members and around 40 temporary employees.
Hansen says the workers are equipped with a hand held “count board” that’s connected to a laptap computer, in addition to a system that involves black tubes stretched across the roadway. The traffic monitoring program covers one-fourth of the state annually. The workers count vehicles at various locations and gather a host of other data.
“They’re counting the vehicles that are going through the intersection and taking note of the direction that they’re coming from and the direction they’re going to, so we have turning movements at those locations,” Hansen said. The workers also classify vehicles and tally helmet usage by motorcyclists. Hansen says the information is critical to planning the future of the state’s transportation system.
“Planners and engineers here at the D.O.T. and other government and private organizations like to know where the traffic is and the type of traffic, so they can plan accordingly to focus resources at particular locations,” Hansen said.
The D.O.T. also records traffic data with the use of vans that are equipped with cameras, onboard computers and a global positioning system.