New traffic cameras go live

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Several new Tripcheck cameras in southern Oregon are scheduled to go online. The new sites will also provide remote weather information.

“These are areas critical to our operations,” said ODOT Assistant District 8 Manager Jeremiah Griffin. “Not only will the public use these cameras, but the equipment will help us determine current road conditions, whether to send or concentrate our resources in a certain area.”

Three of the new camera facilities are on Interstate 5: at the top of Canyon Mountain (milepost 90), near Central Point Exit 33 and at Rice Hill (milepost 148). The fourth location under construction is on Oregon 62 at Union Creek (milepost 56). Prime contractor Tomco Electric of Bend is completing the $672,000 project.

The new TripCheck cameras will also help the National Weather Service.

“We definitely use them to verify snow levels in the Cascades and east of the mountains,” said Misty Duncan, meteorologist at the Medford National Weather Service office.

ODOT’s travel information website has been in operation since 2000. Currently, there are more than 300 cameras in the TripCheck network, which includes live streaming and infrared cameras for night conditions. Most TripCheck cameras update every five minutes.

Partnership with Waze
ODOT recently announced its partnership with Waze, the real-time crowdsourced navigation app powered by one of the world’s largest communities of drivers, via the Waze Connected Citizens Program. Designed as a two-way data share of publicly available traffic information, the Connected Citizens program promotes greater efficiency, deeper insights and safer roads for the state of Oregon.

The mission of Waze Connected Citizens is to help Wazers, ODOT and citizens collaborate to improve their community and answer the question “What’s happening on our roads right now, and where?” The program promotes more efficient traffic monitoring by sharing crowdsourced incident reports from Waze drivers. Established as a two-way sharing of data, Waze receives input from ODOT’s TripCheck Traveler Information Portal. The publically available data is updated every two minutes and includes everything from construction and incident data to weather data and road reports. This information shows up on the Waze mobile app, helping travelers to use Oregon’s transportation system more safely and efficiently.

“Oregon already has a strong Waze community with major cities like Portland,” said Paige Fitzgerald, Connected Citizens Program manager at Waze. “We can now enhance the local map quality of Waze with data from ODOT like road closures and severe weather alerts, even in rural areas.”

The unique part of this agreement is not that ODOT shares information with Waze, but that Waze shares information with the department. Waze user-reported incidents, construction, congestion and weather are fed to ODOT. The department is currently assessing how to filter the data to make it most useful and will eventually use it to enhance the display on TripCheck.

“We’re pretty excited about this two-way partnership,” said Galen McGill, ODOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Manager. “Citizen-supplied data will add to the eyes and ears of ODOT staff already out on the roads and highways. Waze users travel in places where we can’t have roadway sensors or cameras so it greatly enhances our ability to provide up to the minute and accurate traffic data to the public.”

To find out more about Connected Citizens visit http://waze.com/connectedcitizens. To download the free Waze app for iOS or Android, visit http://www.waze.com. Find out more information about ODOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems.

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