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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 10/11/2007 12:02:37 PM EST

TxDOT's surreptitious road cams play I spy
October 11, 2007
Beth Gallaspy

Oct. 11--That orange construction barrel by the side of the highway might be watching you.

Transportation planning studies for the Texas Department of Transportation have been relying on hidden cameras in construction barrels to capture license plate numbers and determine where to mail surveys.

Last month, the method was used along the Interstate 35 corridor, and it likely will move to the Beaumont-Port Arthur area later this year or next year.

"It's crazy to go into this stuff," said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin. The transportation department "is strapped for money as it is. What the hell do they need to invest it in these intrusive and invasive kinds of surveys. ... People have got to speak up about it. It's this creeping big government that's sneaking up on us."

The state signed a $781,000 contract with Alliance Transportation Group Inc. to conduct the I-35 study, according to The Associated Press. The company mailed about 150,000 surveys to homes explaining that their license plate was randomly recorded and asking questions such as the trip's destination and purpose, and the number of people living in the home, according to the wire service.

Transportation department spokesman Marc Shepherd said officials have not yet determined what routes to study in Southeast Texas or how methods might change from the I-35 study.

"One of the things we do know we need to change is we need to be sure to inform the public if we're doing something like this," Shepherd said.

Collecting random license plate information and then sending follow-up surveys requesting information on households and travel habits is not unheard of. Shepherd said the method has been used before in Southeast Texas to study Texas 12 and part of Interstate 10 a few years ago.

It makes more sense than pulling over drivers on Interstate 10 for a roadside survey about where they are going, why and how often they use the road, Shepherd said.

David Pearson, a research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, said other states have used the method as well. The institute developed it as the least intrusive, most cost-effective alternative for data collection on roads with too much traffic to do roadside surveys safely, Pearson said.

Information collected is used to develop models to project traffic loads for 10 to 20 years in the future, Pearson said.

"It's used for transportation planning so we can try to figure out where the demand is and what type of facilities need to be expanded and when they need to be expanded," Pearson said.

That's not the only way the cameras have been used. At other times, they capture license plate information at either end of a defined stretch of highway over a defined time period to determine how many vehicles pass through rather than pull off, Pearson said.

-----


Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:03:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/11/2007 12:04:21 PM EST by Jrock82]
Moonbat's Aye!

ETA: Anyone who is not at least a little bit leery of Big Brother, needs to wake up.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:05:27 PM EST

The state signed a $781,000 contract with Alliance Transportation Group Inc. to conduct the I-35 study, according to The Associated Press. The company mailed about 150,000 surveys to homes explaining that their license plate was randomly recorded and asking questions such as the trip's destination and purpose, and the number of people living in the home, according to the wire service.


sounds like $781,000 down the drain. How many people are gonna throw the survey in the trashcan and say "NOYFB"?
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:08:42 PM EST
Time to buy an old beater and start hitting traffic barrels.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:12:18 PM EST
I was driving down a just opened part of I20 one morning and the DPS was pulling over every car on a busy highway. You had to wait in line and answer a damn survey for a TCU study. I let them know what I thought about it, but I still got stuck in the mess. I guess non of these types can use that , what do they call it, oh yeah, common sense.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:22:29 PM EST

The brushguard on the front of my truck takes care of a lot of those little pesky barrels.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:24:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By photokirk:
Time to buy an old beater and start hitting traffic barrels.

Link Posted: 10/11/2007 12:24:44 PM EST
"Name?"

"Winston Smith."
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 1:57:40 PM EST
Just drove through the proposed area (Houston to Lake Charles, LA on I10) and they have plenty of orange barrels to use.

Now I can conveniently wreck some of them for you Texans but for a small price! Enterprise might not like the rental car when I bring it back.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 2:34:58 PM EST
There are probably more cameras out there that yall just dont know about yet. Just wait until tickets start coming in the mail from data recorded on the little black box in your new car
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 2:35:44 PM EST
But look at it this way....It is for your safety
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 2:44:37 PM EST
Out of state plates
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 4:50:25 PM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By 41Fan:
I was driving down a just opened part of I20 one morning and the DPS was pulling over every car on a busy highway. You had to wait in line and answer a damn survey for a TCU study. I let them know what I thought about it, but I still got stuck in the mess. I guess non of these types can use that , what do they call it, oh yeah, common sense.


OK, hold it - you got detained by the Po-po in order to participate in a SURVEY?

-head explodes-

I think I would have ended up being arrested.

-Warren-
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 4:54:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By 41Fan:
I was driving down a just opened part of I20 one morning and the DPS was pulling over every car on a busy highway. You had to wait in line and answer a damn survey for a TCU study. I let them know what I thought about it, but I still got stuck in the mess. I guess non of these types can use that , what do they call it, oh yeah, common sense.


WTF?!

I hope you ripped it up.
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