The state Transportation Department has launched a new website that will provide real-time commuter traffic information designed to help motorists better navigate the coming back-to-school congestion.
More than 30,000 private school students and another 20,000 University of Hawaii and community college students will be back on the road Aug. 23. Most public schools are already back in session.
Yesterday the Transportation Department, the Federal Highways Administration and the city Department of Transportation activated the $1.25 million GoAkamai initiative. Built around the website GoAkamai.org, it will provide real-time color-coded traffic congestion maps, snapshots from traffic cameras located at numerous highway locations and weather and surf reports.
State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka told reporters that "this will be the first time the public will have real-time information on traffic conditions before they get into the car and it’s too late."
Glen Fromm, chief executive officer of ICX Transportation Group, said similar multimodal travel information websites have been installed in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area and in New Jersey.
Part of the system on Oahu involves 72 sensors which feed traffic information every 60 seconds to the website. The data from sensors located along major highways and roads will be used to create color-coded maps signifying heavy to light traffic.
Morioka said new cameras have been activated along Fort Weaver Road as part of state’s network of 200 highway cameras.
There also will be a link on the website to information on routes and bus stop locations for TheBus. Links also will provide updates on road closures and detours caused by highway construction.
Morioka said the state plans to spend $4 million over the next five years, with 80 percent of the funding provided by the federal government. The money will pay for initiatives that include texting, a Facebook page and Twitter accounts, as well as for expanding the system to the neighbor islands.