Motorists may have noticed some unusual black hoses running across sections of
the Kodiak road system. Howard Helkenn works for the State of Alaska Department
of Transportation as the highway data manager for central region. He said the lines were put on various parts of
the road to track traffic.
-- (DOT Lines 1 : 34 "Well
part of our program that we're required to do for federal highway reporting is
to count the traffic and the volume that's on all of your roads. And when I say
all, not your city sidestreets. We're counting the main roads that DOT is
responsible for. So the tracker lines are actually rubber hoses. And those
rubber hoses are connected to battery operated portable traffic counters. And
they will accumulate vehicles as they drive over those rubber hoses.")
hoses are placed on the roads every three years and gather important data for federal,
state and local entities.
-- (DOT Line 2 : 28 "So when
we do a traffic count we can cover the entire city, both ends of the island.
And that data is accumulated and we use that to not only report to the federal
highways but it's used for internal traffic design. If new roads are being
projected they need to have traffic data that's traveling on the roads to build
the appropriate roads. So they're very critical.")
The information is also accessible
by the public, meaning someone looking to start a new business can find where
the most traffic is.
-- (DOT Line 3 : 13 "It's a
public collected data source, so we do have a lot of real estate companies ask
for that data. Anybody looking to start up a business, first thing they as is
where's the most traffic of where is the traffic.")
In general, Helkenn said Kodiak
roads typically see one percent increase in traffic every three years.
-- (DOT Line 4 : 19 "You
have areas that may grow for a short time, due to some type of business or some
reason for the traffic to increase. Your rocket launch facility out there is
obviously increasing traffic. The improved, I believe you got some new pavement
out there, that always increases the traffic.")
Helkenn said the
trackers were installed last week by DOT workers from Anchorage. Typically they are left on the
roads for about 7-8 days, so he guessed crews would be collecting them sometime
in the coming days. The data collected, however, won't be available to the
public until next spring, after the DOT has had time to review it.