ODOT debuts new travel tools to help motorists this holiday season
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is serving up an early present to holiday travelers with two new tools to help them make travel decisions.
“The department is debuting the ability to find all of ODOT’s online travel tools within one app now available in the Apple App Store. Additionally, the department is adding snow plow camera images during inclement weather to its online road conditions map. Making these tools available to the public is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to modernize its communication with motorists,” said Terri Angier, ODOT spokeswoman. “These tools will enable motorists to make better decisions about their routes ahead of time, thus hopefully saving them some time during the busy travel season.”
For several years, the department has offered the following online travel tools:
- www.oktraffic.org shows real-time travel conditions in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas and along I-35. This tool helps spot interstate traffic tie-ups giving drivers the opportunity to choose an alternate route;
- Motorists also can see more than 400 camera views of both metro-area interstates and digital message boards with real-time traffic information on this same map;
- Traffic advisories are posted to www.odot.org and motorists also may sign up on this website for those advisories to be sent directly to their email for their areas of interest; and
- Inclement weather road conditions are posted on an interactive map at www.okroads.org, which features highway closures by both ODOT and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol during snow and ice events.
Now motorists can find all of this travel data through the new ODOT app, putting real-time information at their fingertips before they hit the highways. Simply search ODOT in the Apple App Store, download the free app and click the “public” button for access to all four online tools.
ODOT created the app in partnership with the Norman Center for Intelligent Transportation Systems at the University of Oklahoma’s Gallogly College of Engineering as part of an ongoing contract for development and support of these online tools.
The department is enhancing its inclement weather road conditions map online at www.okroads.org by adding close to real-time snow plow camera views this winter. The new technology represents more than two years of research, design and installation and a nearly $300,000 initial investment to offer drivers more information when deciding whether to travel and what routes to take during snow and ice events. This newest feature, which will become available and tested with the next snow and ice event, will add new images about every 10 minutes as snow plows work their routes and the images will remain posted for up to an hour, allowing motorists to see a snapshot of highway conditions for themselves. When accessing the online map, motorists can click on any camera icon to pull up the most recent highway image where available.
The new cameras and sensors are installed on nearly 200 ODOT snow plows mostly in rural areas of the state. These will not be installed on Oklahoma City or Tulsa metro area snow plows because motorists already have access to more than 400 camera views of metro-area interstates through www.oktraffic.org. Additionally, the urban areas are maintained by contractors and these cameras are state owned.
“We want to partner with drivers to help them make safe driving decisions before they get behind the wheel,” Angier said. “These new interactive tools are another step toward providing motorists with real-time information but they do not take the place of good judgment by drivers.”
This pilot program is expected to be fully implemented statewide by 2020 at an estimated additional cost of $220,000 and will provide useful weather condition data to maintenance superintendents to better manage their snow-fighting fleet and material usage. The snow plow camera application was developed in partnership with the Tulsa Intelligent Transportation System Integration Lab at OU.
Motorists who download the new ODOT app from Apple’s App Store will find all of the department’s online traffic tools in one location, which includes real-time interstate traffic information, traffic cameras, digital message signs and the inclement weather road conditions map.
During inclement weather, motorists can rely on road closure information posted by ODOT and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at www.okroads.org. Starting with the next snow and ice event, the map will feature snow plow camera images of highway conditions where available. The images will update every 10 minutes as ODOT trucks sand/salt and clear highways.