Computer Cameras Monitor Coast Traffic

New information about potential traffic trouble on the Coast is now just a mouse click away.

Thursday the Mississippi Department of Transportation debuted its new computer traffic cameras on Thursday. MDOT says the new "real time" traffic information system can save drivers both time and money.

Highway 49 and Dedeaux Road is among the busiest traffic spots on the Coast. It's also one of the first intersections featured on MDOT's new traffic cameras.

The web site offers updated images from several Coast roadways.

"The growth here demands that we've got to take some new innovations. It demands that we must put out better information and better manage the assets that we have in the way of transportation," highway commissioner Wayne Brown said.

A camera atop Beau Rivage transmits real time images of Highway 90 and Porter Avenue.

MDOT says the computer traffic updates are available to anyone with an Internet connection. One example of using the information is a small business owner making decisions about deliveries.

"If he's sitting in traffic, that's labor cost to him. If he can look at this site and say, that lane's going to be closed this morning, I don't think I'll go to that side of town until this afternoon, I'll get there in half the time. That's a real cost savings," MDOT technology director John Simpson said.

The initial traffic cam program on the Coast will involve monitoring four intersections. That will expand to a dozen sites within the next year.

Although the program is driven by technology, MDOT says the emphasis is not on the high tech delivery system. It's the road information that's most vital.

"Technology is just a street that we use to provide you information. It really is about information that makes a difference to the traveling public out there," Simpson said.

MDOT engineers will also benefit. They'll use the computer images to help design better road projects.