Meppen helps to identify travel delays in work zones

Engineer-in-Training Drew Meppen and Transportation Staff Engineer Assistant Darrin Johnson, of District 6, have discovered how to identify travel delays in work zones using Bluetooth technology.

“The way it works is Bluetooth receivers log signals of passing Bluetooth-equipped vehicles or hand-held devices and then compare the time traveled against travel time before construction started,” Meppen said. “In other words, we identified construction delays by determining the time vehicles enter and leave a work zone.

“To reduce delays in a U.S. 20 reconstruction project north of Ashton last year, we used flaggers instead of a pilot car for part of the test project, saving motorists two and one-half minutes. We hope to post delay times on the 511 Travel Information website to better inform drivers."

This summer, Meppen shot video of himself discussing the technology and interviewing motorists: (

In another innovation, Meppen and Resident Engineer Wade Allen, of District 6, proposed that construction engineers take time-lapse footage of the Del Rio Bridge replacement using personal GoPro cameras. The goal was to record inventive bridge removal and construction practices.

ITD awarded Meppen, Johnson and Allen framed certificates signed by agency Director Brian W. Ness and Chief Administrative Officer Charlene McArthur as part of its “Innovate ITD!” program. Innovation, of course, makes ITD more effective and professional, furthering customer service.

Published 10-02-15