Traffic counters collect dataIf you were driving along U.S. Highway 281 in Jamestown this past month, you probably noticed some black wires running across the width of the roadways.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
If you were driving along U.S. Highway 281 in Jamestown this past month, you probably noticed some black wires running across the width of the roadways.
Those wires, known as traffic counters, are part of the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s annual collection of traffic data for North Dakota highways.
The 2012 results will not be available likely until the beginning of next year, though, according to Jamie Olson, communications specialist with NDDOT.
Olson said every state highway is subject to such traffic counts every three years, with Jamestown’s portion of U.S. 281 falling in this year’s rotation of counts.
“Essentially, the state is divided into three regions — west, central and east —so it takes three years to go through the entire state,” she said.
The counters are placed on various parts of the highways for 48-hour periods to tabulate what Olson called “average daily traffic,” or how many cars are driving down a particular part of the highway each day.
Olson said the counts are usually averaged out between the average daily traffic in different parts of the year.
“They’re usually done, for example, around both winter and summer, since the traffic will differ in various parts of the year, and then they’ll compile an average daily traffic count that will represent the whole year,” she said.
Beyond the mandatory counts every three years, some highways — such as those in western North Dakota near the Oil Patch — have been counted every year for the past few years in an effort to collect additional data about more highly-trafficked roads.
Once fully tabulated, the results will be posted and available online through NDDOT’s website.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org