The Colorado Department of Transportation has spent much of the summer beefing up its traffic alert systems in preparation for the ski season.
In addition to increased highway signage, campaigns to encourage travelers to bypass peak traffic hours by extending their stays in Colorado’s mountain towns and the implementation of up-to-date traffic alerts sent by text message, CDOT recently partnered with Evergreen-based software company Wowza to convert its system of traffic cameras from analog to live-stream technology.
The change allows travelers to view online live video of traffic patterns, road and weather conditions and traffic incidents in real time, rather than still shots that require viewers to constantly refresh CDOT’s website to get an accurate picture of what’s happening on the roads.
Dave Stubenvoll, CEO of Wowza, said 48 of CDOT’s 1,000 traffic cams have already been updated with the new technology, including 18 along the Interstate 70 corridor between Glenwood Springs and the C-470 junction. In addition to a live, real-time view of traffic, Stubenvoll said the cameras feature two-way communication technology, allowing one user at a time to control the picture by zooming in and out of certain locations or on a specific incident.
In addition to assisting drivers with travel plans, Stubenvoll is hopeful the new camera technology could be implemented to better assist public safety officials in how they respond to roadside emergencies.
“What’s interesting about this for us is we are a Colorado company and with the two-way technology you get to see exactly what is going on,” Stubenvoll said. “We think the benefit of live streaming could be extended to CDOT and other people in the transportation industry to be used for true public safety.
Live streaming “enables police officers and firefighters to assess situations before responding to calls,” Stubenvoll added. “For example, by zooming in on an accident they’ll be able to determine whether to send an ambulance or just police.”
CDOT officials could not be reached by press time, but Stubenvoll said he expects traffic officials to continue to expand Wowza technology throughout its 1,000-camera system given the relatively inexpensive cost. With current technology, up to 200 cameras could be tied to one Wowza server. Wowza servers cost $995, Stubenvoll said.
The technology also comes with the added benefit of being mobile-enabled, allowing passengers to continue to monitor live traffic feeds from their smartphones and tablets, Stubenvoll said.
For up-to-date travel alerts or to view live streams of traffic on I-70 and beyond, visit www.cotrip.org.