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Seattle Leveraging Drivers' Cellphones To Improve Traffic

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Elaine Thompson
/
AP

Seattle is using drivers' cellphones to help improve traffic flow around the city. KOMO-TV reports that the Seattle Department of Transportation has placed 200 flat disc antennas on top of traffic signal boxes throughout downtown Seattle and the Mercer Corridor.

When Wi-Fi is enabled on a wireless device, such as a phone, tablet or laptop, the antennas pick up the devices unique signal and track it. Seattle's traffic control center says engineers can then track the time it takes a device to get from one antenna to another and hopefully adjust signal timing to help traffic plow.

Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller says concerns about privacy are understandable and that the data comes from a vendor and has no identifying information tied to it.

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