A Bluetooth travel time detection system with seven detectors was integrated into a DMS roadside traveler information system for $90,000.

A review of arterial travel time technology in the United States.

Made Public Date


United States

Summary Information

This report discussed current and emerging technologies used to detect travel times and improve traffic management on arterial roadways. Several deployments were discussed with benefits cited for a case study in Chandler Arizona where Bluetooth readers were used to detect travel times and provide real-time travel time information using dynamic message signs (DMS) on freeways between Chandler and adjacent cities of Phoenix and Tempe.

The Bluetooth detection system was designed to read Media Access Control (MAC) addresses from in-vehicle devices that make this information visible. The data collected were randomized for privacy and then time stamped to enable downstream detectors to estimate travel times. Average travel time estimates were then posted on DMS boards.

The system was developed and deployed within three months. Operations began in June 2011.


Overall, researchers indicated that Bluetooth travel time detection was an inexpensive way to add value to an existing DMS system. Seven (7) Bluetooth detectors were purchased for approximately $50,000 and integrated into the DMS system for approximately $40,000. The system purchased (BluFAX) had no recurring costs other than as needed equipment maintenance.

Researchers noted that prices vary depending on location and the type of installation. For example, installation in an existing traffic signal cabinet would be cheaper than a stand-alone system in a rural area requiring solar power. Overall, system costs for Bluetooth detection ranged from $1,000 to $8,000 per location when purchased from a vendor. In Chandler, testing indicated that detectors should be placed 0.5 to 1.0 mile apart to achieve the 5 to 10 percent match rate needed to estimate travel times.

System Cost

Bluetooth travel time detection system: $90,000.