Bluetooth is a short-range wireless communications technology used to connect electronic devices. The Bluetooth Specification is used to define the uniform structure used for devices to connect with each other, and the worldwide acceptance of the Bluetooth Specification means that any Bluetooth enabled device can connect to other Bluetooth enabled devices located within proximity.

Bluetooth devices are typically developed to communicate and then connect with other Bluetooth devices. However, the AWAM travel time monitoring application only communicates briefly with the devices to read their media access control (MAC) address with no attempt to connect made, further contributing to protection of privacy.

Why Use Bluetooth for Traffic Monitoring?

The use of a standardized wireless technology such as Bluetooth for traffic monitoring provides tremendous advantages over more traditional methods.

  • The Bluetooth concept is especially attractive because of its low capital costs as compared to using RFID tag detection or other methods. Equipment costs for Post Oak Traffic Systems Bluetooth travel time measurement products are several orders of magnitude less than that for traditional RFID equipment. This cost advantage significantly lowers the threshold for local agencies and interested private entities to enter the traffic data collection market.
  • Bluetooth is an accurate method for determining vehicle travel times. Post Oak Traffic Systems products have been used to determine the baseline for benchmarking the accuracy of traffic data collected using other methods.
  • The type of equipment required for using Bluetooth is easy to install and maintain. Additionally, the modular nature of Post Oak Traffic Systems field equipment makes it easy for customers to modify installations according to their specific requirements.
  • Bluetooth is widely used and provides a large sample of traffic data for accurately determining travel times.
  • Bluetooth is a standard protocol used worldwide. Thus, Post Oak Traffic Systems products can be used out-of-the-box anywhere without custom protocols.

The Future of Bluetooth

One of the most frequently asked questions of us is:

"What is the future of Bluetooth and how will I know that there won’t be another technology to quickly replace it if I invest in your Bluetooth-based product?"

This is a good question, and was explicitly taken into account during the design of our product line. Bluetooth is only one means of collecting anonymous wireless addresses and our system can easily be enhanced to take advantage of emerging wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi Direct, Infrared Wireless, Ultra Wideband, and Induction Wireless.

That said, the future of Bluetooth looks strong, with initiatives underway for improved performance and links with Wifi and Ultra Wideband (UWB) broadcast technology. Computer operating systems such as Windows, MAC OS, and many flavors of Linux build in native support for Bluetooth. For these reasons, we believe that Bluetooth will be the standard of choice for short-distance communications for at least 10 to 15 years because of its widespread penetration into mobile phones and vehicles, not to mention broad adoption by technology companies, device manufacturers, and automotive manufacturers worldwide.