IDOT doing traffic studies in eastern Iowa
AMES — The Iowa Department of Transportation is working across the state this spring and summer to determine how many cars, trucks and other vehicles are using the state, county and city roadways.
This year’s efforts are concentrated in southeast Iowa, but occasionally crews will work elsewhere in the state. Many employees will spend peak hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at one location counting the morning, noon and evening traffic. They count and classify vehicles, record vehicle turning movements, tally helmet usage by motorcyclists, and gather other data necessary to plan the future of Iowa’s roadway system.
Other employees will be placing and checking portable traffic recorders in the same general areas. When the recorders are set, they usually record data for one or two days and are checked periodically. Employees responsible for the recorders work various shifts, including hours outside of a traditional business day.
Another data collection method involves capturing images of state highways. This program covers half of the state yearly and utilizes a van with two mounted cameras that collect 200 images per mile. At the same time, precise location information is collected through a global positioning system. That data is stored along with the images on the van’s onboard computer system. This van may be seen operating on state highways in the southern half of Iowa this year, as well as the interstate system throughout the state.
Other statewide work scheduled for this summer includes the installation, upgrading, and maintenance of permanent, automatic traffic recorders and weigh-in-motion equipment.
Citizens in the area can expect to see IDOT employees and vehicles in their communities all hours of the day both on and off the clock.
All of this work is critical to the future of the state’s transportation system. The information gathered allows transportation officials to better predict traffic trends, thus allowing them to plan improvements that will give Iowans the most benefit for each dollar spent.