Houston TranStar web upgrades cut traffic delays

Oct. 5, 2006

Imagine real-time hurricane evacuation routes complete with the dos and don'ts of emergency preparedness at the click of a mouse. Thanks to Houston TranStar, the region's transportation and emergency management center, that has become a reality.

The collaborative organization has several new website upgrades to give the region's travelers complete, detailed information to navigate the area's roadways in a timely and efficient manner.

Imagine real-time hurricane evacuation routes complete with the dos and don'ts of emergency preparedness at the click of a mouse. Thanks to Houston TranStar, the region's transportation and emergency management center, that has become a reality.

The collaborative organization has several new website upgrades to give the region's travelers complete, detailed information to navigate the area's roadways in a timely and efficient manner.

A new electronic feature lets web visitors see still photos of roadways from nearly 400 cameras on state highways and major county roads, giving viewers a snapshot of the volume of traffic on that stretch. This information is updated every few minutes.

Mobile device users can also access these web snapshots, giving them information as they make travel decisions. Blackberries, Palm Pilots and web-enabled telephones display photographs of traffic on the user's selected roadway.

From the "Camera List" page, web visitors can access a speed map with icons showing all the cameras' locations in the region. Visitors can click on any camera icon to view that section of the roadway.

A new hurricane icon on the home page offers extensive links to personal preparedness information, evacuation routes, weather data and other resources. This one-stop site for emergency preparedness can help travelers check the weather, put together disaster kits, pack their cars with vital goods and plan evacuation routes before leaving home.

"Houston TranStar now gives travelers options that no other transportation website in the country can offer--whether the person is planning a trip from home or checking traffic on the fly using a mobile device," said Houston TranStar Director Jack Whaley. "Our emergency management links can give a family all the essentials they need to prepare for a hurricane or other severe weather situation."

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