Houston's TranStar Gets Some Major Tech-Geek Love

The Web site Jalopnik, home to all things automotive, takes a lengthy and glowing look today at TranStar's use of Bluetooth devices to track traffic jams.

"[N]o one has tried snatching real-time data directly from Bluetooth devices along a network of sensors the way Houston's cutting edge TranStar traffic monitoring center is currently doing it," the site says.

It includes, of course, some geeky info that we glazed over, but the essence is TranStar tracks a Bluetooth between two fixed points and determines how fast a car is moving. ("[T]he system learns when a Starbucks or Verizon store is nearby skewing the data," the story says.)

[The system is] dirt cheap!" said David Fink, with the Texas Department of Transportation Houston District. "If our current multi-lane AVI sensors cost $75,000 on the cheap end to install, the most expensive version of the AWAM with solar power and Wi-Fi costs $8,000."

The piece ends with a backhanded compliment (we think):

While AWAM makes Houston a leader in traffic technology, the area's strong economy, sprawling layout, and crazy accidents still makes Houston a leader in needing it.

Necessity is the mother of invention and Houston's traffic is one big mother...

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