Most commuters happy with new beltline signs

workzone_signSo far most drivers in Madison, Wisconsin, have been happy with the Department of Transportation’s new beltline signs.

The DOT says the signs estimate travel times using detectors that track bluetooth signals coming from cars and/or cell phones. That information is then fired off to DOT computers in Milwaukee.

“The detector calculates the time it takes for a car to get from one to the next, and then that time is averaged with other times, and then we get our travel times,” said Lindsay Schmidt, DOT communications program manager for the bureau of traffic operations.

Although some drivers have mentioned that they’re not sure how accurate travel times are, the DOT says it will take time for the computers to accurately process all of the data. And if a big issue were to arise, the signs can be electronically turned off.

“We’re certainly still perfecting the process,” said Schmidt. “If we’re alerted to an issue, we’ll blank the sign. We’d rather have no information than bad information, certainly.”

Once the system is perfected, the signs will have the ability to calculate travel times based on traffic, accidents and road construction.

If drivers notice a problem with the signs, they are told to contact the DOT as soon as possible.