SALT LAKE CITY — While it appears a post-solar eclipse "carmaggedon" on Idaho roadways was mostly avoided following the sub-three minute event on Monday, movement-tracking technology developed Utah's Blyncsy helped monitor road activity throughout and could provide guidance for the Gem State's future growth.
Monitoring from the company's headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City, Blyncsy's chief of product Victor Gill pointed to a segment of I-15 showing on his computer screen that had just turned red as thousands were heading south from Idaho Falls Monday afternoon.
"This indicates that traffic is moving about five times slower than normal," Gill said. "It looks like current speeds are down to about 17 mph."
While traffic flow in that particular section of highway was considerably slower than usual, Gill's map reflecting data gathered by his company's sensors disbursed on Idaho roadways including I-15, U.S. 20 and U.S. 91, was mostly showing green lines.
"We're clearly seeing impacts," Gill said. "But overall, it appears while there is some bad traffic, there are no indications of horrible traffic right now."
Blyncsy counts the Idaho Transportation Department as a client and helps the state address transportation management and planning issues with its movement-tracking technology. Blyncsy's sensors capture digital handshakes — the signals sent out by mobile devices like cellphones, laptops and tablets — and use that information, via proprietary data analysis developed by the company, to monitor things like travel times, flow and movement, road reliability and vehicles that may be causing congestion or delays.
While the state had prepared for months to be ready for the 500,000 to 1 million people expected to visit the state for the eclipse, it also took advantage of the influx of drivers to capture data to help plan for future growth.
Gill said his team reset a group of sensors specifically to capture a set of origin and destination data that will help the state plan for population growth.
"This is a unique opportunity for (Idaho transportation officials) to capture information from a large movement group," Gill said. "The experiment becomes extremely meaningful because we can gather data reflecting the decision-making and travel patterns of real people."
In addition to the movement-technology innovation that Blyncsy provides to its clients, the company also developed a free mobile app for Idaho travelers that allows users to see real-time reports on expected travel times, as well as receive notices for the areas they're traveling in and even plan trips, where the app will help identify the best departure dates/times for optimum efficiency.