DOT collecting traffic information

AMES ? The Iowa Department of Transportation is working across the state this spring and summer to determine how many cars, trucks, and other vehicles are using the state, county, and city roadways.

This year?s efforts are concentrated in southeast Iowa, but occasionally crews will work elsewhere in the state. Some employees will spend peak hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at a location counting the morning, noon, and evening traffic. They count and classify vehicles, record vehicle turning movements, and gather other data necessary to assist in planning the future of Iowa?s roadway system.

Other employees will be placing and checking portable traffic recorders in the same general areas. When the recorders are set, they usually record data for one or two days and are checked periodically.

Employees responsible for the recorders work various shifts, including hours outside of a traditional business day.

Other data collection initiatives include verifying or collecting railroad crossing information and inventorying transit facilities across the entire state. Rail crossing characteristics such as the number of tracks, the types of warning devices, including signs, lights, horns, and control gates present are entered into a handheld field computer. The information is used in rail crossing planning, engineering, and safety purposes. The transit facility data will be used to assist in determining remaining useful life as well as any needed improvements related to changes in usage.

Other statewide work scheduled for this summer includes installation, upgrading, and maintenance of permanent traffic recorders and weigh-in-motion equipment at continuous count station locations. The information allows transportation officials to better predict traffic volume and weight trends, allowing them to plan improvements.