Traffic counters help determine traffic patterns

Traffic counter perched above the Lamar Boulevard bridge.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When you’re stuck at a traffic light for more than a few minutes, you start to wonder if the transportation department is trying to do anything about the traffic. The City of Austin and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) hope to install more traffic counters to help determine where the trouble spots are.

Traffic Counter
Traffic Counter

Traffic counters are basically a simple white box usually connected to a pole. There is currently one collecting northbound traffic data on the Lamar Boulevard bridge.

Acting Assistant Director of Traffic Management, Jim Dale, explains the counters collect data on traffic volumes, the number of cars versus trucks on a particular road and peak travel times.

“As we deploy these around town, what we’ll be using them for is using real-time data to make real-time decisions about how we operate the system,” said Dale.

Right now there are six of the counters around town. Three are measuring traffic volumes on Lamar Boulevard, South First Street and South Congress bridges. Each counter costs $5,500. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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