The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is testing the use of a cloud system that will enable motorists to access highway cameras so they can ascertain how weather conditions are affecting road conditions.
WSDOT began shifting all of the traffic camera images from its servers to the cloud on Oct. 10 and continued to shift the cameras on Oct. 11. On the department’s website it is advising drivers of the change and requesting their patience.
Washington State’s growing population combined with “surging” use of mobile devices to access the highway cameras has prompted the WSDOT to turn to a cloud system to handle the traffic, the website says. The number of daily visits to the department’s website has increased from 78,000 unique visitors per day in 2011 to nearly 90,000 per day in 2012, the agency says.
In addition, from January through June 2011 about 4.5 million visits to the website were conducted using mobile devices, but from January through June 2012 the number of visits to the website using mobile devices nearly doubled to 8.7 million, WSDOT says. The department also says there have been more than 200,000 downloads of its iPhone and Android mobile apps.
The reason WSDOT is moving to cloud system for motorists to access highway cameras is so drivers can obtain needed information to make travel decisions especially in an emergency when a spike in requests is likely, the agency says. WSDOT cites a user spike that occurred on Jan. 17, 2012 when a snowstorm impacted travel and more than 800,000 users—nearly 12 percent of Washington’s population—accessed the department’s website.
“Testing this now means we’ll be ready when that crazy weather or emergency situation causes people to immediately go to our website to see what is happening,” WSDOT says.