Two people in charge of all I-35 traffic alerts from Hillsboro to Salado

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 17:12:26-04

The Texas Department of Transportation sends out alerts to keep you informed about traffic in the area, but how does that system work?

TxDOT Public Information Officer Jodi Wheatley is one of the only people who sends the alerts for the 116 miles of the Waco District from north of Hillsboro to Salado.

"We don't have the kind of big traffic operation office where there's half a dozen people sitting in a room with huge TV screens monitoring traffic all day. There's just me and then a contractor who maintains I-35 for us," Wheatley said. "We use a system of bluetooth readers that measures the traffic flow along I-35 from one end of the Waco District to the other."

Here's how it works: if your bluetooth is on,  sensors pick up that signal and track it along I-35 until you hit another sensor. It then calculates how long it took you to get from one place to the next. And then, it averages the rate of travel. That is the speed you see on the real-time maps and on Twitter.

"This helps us report to the public when there are problems and helps us recognize where there are slowdown that we might not have otherwise known about," Wheatley said.

Wheatley uses her computer or her phone to check the real time maps on, the bluetooth information and the cameras to figure out if there are issues on the road.

She can send the alerts about delays from work or from home at any time of the day.

"If I were out there on the road as a driver, I would rather know something than nothing. So as soon as I can get information out, that's what I try to accomplish," Wheatley said.

To sign up for traffic alerts, click here.

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