SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Idaho Transportation Department officials are hoping technology from a Utah company will help improve traveler safety if traffic comes to a complete halt during the solar eclipse.
Millions across the country are expected to travel to the path of totality, which stretches across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and several other states.
“We’re not sure what to expect exactly, but there is a chance that traffic could come to a complete standstill during the eclipse,” Idaho Transportation Department Resident Engineer Scott Redding said. “If everybody stops, that might be OK. But if only some people do, that could be a major problem.”
The department had Salt Lake City-based tech company Blyncsy develop a mobile app to give travelers real-time reports on expected travel times, construction and traffic notices. The app is called “I-15.”
The app is the first consumer mobile application developed by the company and one that it hopes will put the power of the company’s data analytics into drivers’ hands, said Victor Gill, Blyncsy’s chief of products. It’s available for free on iOS and Android operating systems.
“Being able to share the data we collect and give it usefulness to everyday commuters is a powerful tool,” Gill said. “This is insight that drivers really haven’t had before.”
Despite the app’s name, it also provides information on other major Idaho thoroughfares like U.S. 20 and U.S. 91.
The company is also collecting and analyzing movement data, which it provides to the Idaho Transportation Department. A sensor developed by the company captures digital handshakes — the signals sent out by mobile devices like cellphones, laptops and tablets — and uses that information to monitor things like travel times, flow, movement and vehicles that may be causing congestion and delays.
“Our digital dashboard, which interfaces with Blyncsy’s technology, allows us to really drill down into what’s happening on our roads,” Redding said. “We can see exactly where traffic has slowed or stopped . and immediately deploy help. We no longer have to wait for an accident or disabled vehicle report to come in through a call to our state patrol’s dispatch center.”