To aid traffic flow for tens of thousands of drivers during upcoming construction on I-15 in eastern Idaho, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is turning to new Bluetooth-based roadway sensors that will be present on the I-15 median. These sensors will provide real-time travel information during construction starting later this spring.
Between this spring and next year, ITD will resurface deteriorated pavement on I-15 and make a number of bridge repairs. Construction will include multiple work zones along a 140-mile stretch of I-15 between Utah and Montana.
More than 50 sensors will be connected to portable message signs located at the beginning of construction zones to communicate traffic impacts ahead. Sensors pick up the Bluetooth signal on phones or in vehicles as they pass any two points in the work zone, and the times between them are calculated in order to find average travel speeds. The sensors will help ITD monitor traffic conditions during summer/fall construction, and during the winter months.
ITD will also make the real-time travel data available to the public through a mobile app being developed, and is working to place the information on the project website.
Similar Bluetooth sensors have been used successfully at various places in Idaho and Utah. The sensors will be removed once construction is complete on I-15. Additional sensors will be installed on U.S. 20 and U.S. 91 during the same timeframe.