Engineers have created a system that captures Bluetooth data from wireless devices and uses it to determine how long it takes vehicles or pedestrians to travel from one point to another.
The method envisioned by Jason S. Wasson and James R. Sturdevant at the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) could provide information on the speed of the morning commute or the sluggishness of airport security lines.
'This is valuable information that could be used for many purposes, including providing real-time traffic information for motorists,' said Darcy Bullock, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University, who assisted with the development of the system.
In use, the system detects and records 'Media Access Control' identification signals every time a Bluetooth device passes a detector. Because each device has its own distinct digital signature, its travel time can be tracked by detectors installed at intersections or along highways and other locations.
The researchers tested the system out on sections of Interstate 65, Interstate 465 and roads in and around Indianapolis, tracking 1.2 per cent of the average daily traffic on specific routes.
The researchers have filed a patent on the method and the basic technology is available commercially to create the tracking system.