New traffic-tracker tool from ITD shows significant decline in vehicle trips in Idaho
BOISE - The Idaho Transportation Department has launched a new traffic-tracking tool that allows government agencies, emergency services, and the public to see the latest changes in driver behavior on Idaho highways.
People can access the tool at: http://iplan.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/516d5001a04246c388bdf20cda9d93db?filter=1.
The tool uses preliminary data to provide information faster in an easy-to-understand format. This information can help government leaders gauge ongoing economic activity. Emergency services can look to ensure critical transportation routes remain open.
"Traffic data like this is desired by numerous groups," said Margaret Pridmore, Roadway Data Manager for ITD. "This will provide information closer to real-time than our traditional measurements. That information is helpful as decision-makers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic."
Early results have shown a decline in travel across the state. For example, the week after COVID-19 was first confirmed in Idaho, there was an estimated 30 percent drop in trips on the connector. Following the stay-home order from Governor Brad Little, traffic dropped an additional estimated 25 percent at that location.
"One interesting thing we observed occurred in Eastern Idaho. While traffic volumes typically decreased in the days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Idaho, I-15 traffic increased for several days. Personnel in those districts observed a lot of Canadians heading home in fear that the US-Canada border could be closed in the near future."
The data is not as thoroughly vetted for quality as normal, meaning some abnormalities may arise. However, Pridmore is leading a team to provide the best quality information on a short deadline as can be achieved. The information is updated within 72 hours of the data being received.
Transportation is essential to Idaho's response during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A news release said, "We need to provide a safe system to allow for the essential delivery of goods, medical equipment and other important services throughout Idaho and the nation. Whether it is maintaining highways and bridges, or building new infrastructure, the Idaho Transportation Department and our transportation partners are committed to keeping Idaho goods, agricultural products and services moving during these times."
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