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Keeping an eye on traffic

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TWC News: Keeping an eye on traffic
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Cameras are keeping a watchful eye on Austin traffic. And the city and state have plans to add even more video eyes to expand the traffic monitoring system.

The Texas Department of Transportation and city of Austin are building a new, permanent control center to watch the incoming traffic video.

Eventually Austin's traffic monitoring system could be on the Web. San Antonio, Houston and Dallas' cameras are already available online at dot.state.tx.us.

News 8 Austin’s Todd Boatwright spoke with Brian Burk of TxDOT about the cameras.

Q: Tell us how these cameras are helping?

A: We monitor the freeways with sensors in the roadways and, when we detect traffic flow that’s not normal, we use the cameras to look at that, to see why traffic is not flowing the way it normally does.

Q: Talk about your plans to add more cameras. Where will they watch?

A: Currently we have about two projects that get funded a year that get maybe a half dozen cameras. So, we get about a dozen cameras a year … these cameras will be deployed along the freeways here alon g the Austin-Travis County area.

Q: Tell me about the new monitoring center. What will happen and when will it open?

A: The combined Transportation, Emergency and Communications Center should be open tentatively now in October. It’s unique in that it brings transportation and emergency services together to share real time information so we can get the right resources to the right places at the right time.

Q: San Antonio and Houston have similar and successful traffic monitoring systems, is this based on those models?

A: It’s similar to those. We’re all a little different. What makes this center unique is that fire, police, EMS, both law enforcement from the city and county and transportation agencies are all in the same center everyday to work on day-to-day issues not just special events.

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