EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 4, 2013

Website gives bird's-eye view of N.H. highways

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — WINDHAM — It’s 10:31 a.m., the day after New Year’s, and traffic is moving smoothly along Interstate 93 at the southbound weigh station.

Three cars are bunched in the travel lane — a little tailgating is evident. A sedan is zipping by them in the passing lane.

The view is offered by a highway camera sending images, updated every 20 seconds, to a desktop computer in downtown Derry.

Motorists have a new way to monitor traffic conditions in New Hampshire in real time from their smart phones, tablets and computers.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation this week announced a partnership with TrafficLand, a Virginia-based company that collects and delivers traffic video over the Internet and TV.

The price was right.

“Free. Didn’t cost us a dime,” said Denise Markow, program manager of NHDOT’s transportation management center.

The state is sharing video from its existing roadside network of cameras, federally funded and installed in recent years to improve traffic safety.

Motorists had been after NHDOT to share the video.

“We’ve had a lot of emails from people, asking when the cameras would be available to the public,” Markow said.

Now, they are.

“We’ve been working on this for probably about two years now,” TrafficLand spokesman Tony Finocchiaro said. “This is going to be an ongoing process. There are about 50 cameras now and we will have double or triple that in the next year.”

Visitors to TrafficLand.com can follow the links to New Hampshire and Salem. Once there, they will see traffic not just in Salem, but along I-93 from Londonderry through Salem.

There are eight vantage points, among them the weigh stations north and south in Windham, Exits 4 and 5 in Londonderry, the Salem rest area and Exit 1 in Salem.

“You see kind of what we see,” Markow said.

For NHDOT, making the video available is about traffic safety and convenience.

“Part of it has to do with the ‘know before you go’ concept,” Markow said. “If there is bad weather, you get a sense of what’s out there.”

Motorists also can see what an accident has done to traffic and whether heavy volume is causing delays.

The system ties into Google maps with a traffic speed feature that evaluates the flow.

Commuting from the job in North Andover to your home in Manchester? TrafficLand can help you let the family know if you will be on time for dinner or let you know if an alternative route is the way to go.

“Being able to link with the travel speed scenario gives the public an idea of what they are going out to and whether they should leave a little early,” Markow said.

There is no expense to commuters. While TrafficLand is a business, it makes money in other ways.

The company sells advertising on its website and subscriptions to businesses like freight companies that value the information. It also has a business relationship with Garmin, a GPS navigational system provider.

Finocchiaro said the privately held company employs 20 and has revenues in the millions of dollars.

“We are now in 53 agreements in 36 states,” he said.

That includes the entire Eastern Seaboard.

“We do revenues in the millions,” Finocchiaro said.

“Onward,” is the business plan for the company, he said, as it continues exploring future development options.