Coastsider adds current traffic conditions


Posted by
Tue, April 27, 2010


We’ve added a chart of the current Coastside travel times to our community news in Coastsider’s right hand column.

The League for Coastside Protection has been creating these charts for a couple of years. The data comes from Caltrans, which using Fastrak passes to measure the travel time between distances. We’re running these charts with their permission.


And who gave Caltrans permission to track our Fastrak passes away from toll booths?

Lee: you did, when you accepted the privacy notice: http://www.511.org/privacy.asp

My question is, what percentage of the people on the Coastside have Fastrak transponders?  My recollection of the period several years ago when Devil’s Slide was closed and Caltrans posted travel times on Highway 1 is that the travel times were badly out of sync with real conditions, because there were so few transponders to sample.  If there are still very few transponders, the data will continue to be our of sync, behind the times, as it were.

And unfortunately, I don’t know where to get that data.

Has anyone on the Coastside been comparing the charts with their personal experiences?

Steve Lowens

I"ve been using the graphs for a long time now (as well as 511.org) and they’re pretty good. The main limitation is that they measure end-to-end transit time, no actual vehicle speed, so there’s a lag between a traffic blockage and when it gets ‘seen’ by the system. There’s a surprising number of transponders going over the hill, it appears.

BTW, Lee, if you’re concerned about being tracked (and I’m not unsympathetic with that concern), you might want to turn off your cell phone when you drive. A private outfit is tracking your phone’s continuously broadcast unique ID and selling the data commercially. That’s how Google Maps shows traffic data on Hwy 1 south of 92, on Hwy 84, El Camino, etc.

Of course, we’d all be safer if we all turned off our phones while driving, so maybe it’s not that big a deal.

>>you might want to turn off your cell phone when you drive. A private outfit is tracking your phone’s continuously broadcast unique ID and selling the data commercially. That’s how Google Maps shows traffic data

Whoa, whoa… easy there. Google Maps - Traffic uses DOT sensors on major thoroughfares (ie 101, 280, etc). For smaller roadways, they use the mobile phones of users who’ve installed Google Maps via the “My Location” feature enabled.

Mobile GoogleMaps users can disable that feature, with help here: http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=81875

Not sure where you got yer story from there Jonathan… no secret private big brother going on.

Funny thing, is those who commute from Montara to HMB on bike for example, and have an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or whatever w/ Google Maps get identified as a car and get logged in the “traffic flow”. Pretty funny.

Kevin imagines that because there’s one way of collecting data from cell phones (Google Maps) it must be the only one.

Nah. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS140402+23-Mar-2009+BW20090323

Oh goodie… yet another feature to make Coastsider.com slower.  Sometimes it takes slightly less than forever to load Coastsider.com due to all the other sites being accessed, every one of which has to respond or time out before the Coastsider.com page is usable.  Can we get a graph of how much of the page load wait time is due to each of the referenced web sites?