As vacationers take to roads during the busy Spring Break period, the Texas Department of Transportation is using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to reduce congestion at the Port Aransas ferry crossing near Corpus Christi. Using signals emitted by Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices, ferry wait times will be calculated and posted on changeable message boards for drivers traveling to Mustang Island and Port Aransas.
“We’re proud to be a leader in transportation technology, especially when it helps relieve congestion at key points on Texas roadways,” said Commissioner Jeff Moseley, Texas Transportation Commission. “Giving drivers accurate information on wait times allows them to make more informed decisions about continuing on their current path or taking an optional route during peak travel times.”
As Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices pass roadside sensors, information is sent to a computer that calculates wait times. Those times are then displayed on electronic message boards placed at key decision-making points, allowing drivers to decide if they would rather take an alternate route to the island through the city of Corpus Christi via the JFK Causeway. About 2.2 million people use the Port Aransas ferry each year. TxDOT also has plans to bring this technology to the Bolivar ferry crossing near Galveston.
In the coming days, ferry wait times also will be automatically posted to the @PortA_Ferry Twitter account.
Similar technology already is in use along the I-35 corridor in Waco where wait times resulting from construction zones are calculated and posted. This technology also is being tested for drivers at the international border crossing in El Paso where wait times for commercial vehicles already are being calculated and made available to truckers.
The data utilized by this technology is not permanently captured or otherwise able to identify drivers or their vehicles.
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