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.
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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...