TRAFFIC CAMS: WSDOT switches to cloud storage for traffic camera data

System would be activated in emergencies to avoid Web slowdowns, crashes

October 23, 2012

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) performed the first test in October of a new cloud-based storage system for traffic camera data. Agency officials are pursuing the new system for use in emergency situations during the coming winter.

Current WSDOT servers have been tested by Web traffic increases over the past year—the number of daily visitors surged from 78,000 to 98,000 between October 2011 and the present. 

The number of unique visitors and page views jumps even more during weather emergencies. In the midst of a major snowstorm in January, the WSDOT traffic feeds saw 800,000 unique visitors in a single day, resulting in more than 12 million page views. A similar event in 2007 crashed the site completely.

Officials cited lower costs as the major reason to switch to the cloud—each activation costs a few hundred dollars, rather than building additional server space.