Motorists may be noticing familiar traffic counters, or black cables stretched across area roads.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is in the midst of conducting 2010 traffic counts on state routes and Interstate 985 in Hall County.
The traffic counters stay in place at different locations for seven straight days, 24 hours a day, capturing traffic volumes at different times, including peak hours, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT’s Gainesville-based District 1.
The DOT then produces an average daily traffic count.
“We use that data to help us with road projects, to find out where growth is occurring or where we project growth to occur in a certain area,” Pope said. “And you can see those patterns over a long time.”
Also, “many Realtors and developers use traffic counts, especially if they are in commercial real estate,” Pope said. “It is something that is quantifiable.”
The DOT has conducted the traffic counts each year for the past 20 years and has put information on its website at dot.ga.gov/statistics/TrafficData/Pages/TrafficCounts.aspx.
“The numbers we’re getting now will be published next spring,” Pope said.
The department does such counts throughout the state all year, putting traffic counters on state routes and interstates only.
“We also try to make sure not to do (the counts) at particular times when there’s an extremely high volume for the area,” Pope said.
“(For example), we wouldn’t do it in Cleveland during fall leaf season. You want a true average — it doesn’t help us if (the numbers) are spiked.”
Pope said she noticed a traffic counter on the new entrance ramp from Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway to Interstate 985 northbound, part of a $75 million reconstruction project completed last year in South Hall.
Any counts done on the new Exit 17 will be a first.
“It will be very interesting to see counts there,” Pope said.