RI.gov R.I. Government Agencies | Privacy Policy |

FAQs

Contact Us

To report an incident, call the Transportation Management Center at: (401) 222-3005

To contact RIDOT's Customer Service Office phone: (401) 222-2450, or by email: Customer Service

FAQs


Video & Traffic Cameras
What is the overall purpose of the highway cameras?
Why is the state spending money on highway cameras?
Do the cameras invade our privacy?
Why are some of the cameras not working?
How can I tell which direction the traffic is headed in the camera images based on the directional label displayed?
Are there special browser requirements to view the Traffic Camera images?
Are the images on the cameras recorded or taped?
Do the cameras also monitor speed?
Do videos require any special software for optimal viewing?
Does the state have red light running cameras?

Audio & Highway Advisory Radio
Why can't I hear 1630 in my car?
Why won't the Highway Advisory Radio broadcasts play on my computer?

Dynamic & Variable Message Boards
What factors are considered in selecting locations for dynamic message signs and for the length of a message?
What is the Amber Alert and is it fully installed?

511 - Traffic Info
Is there a toll-free number to call for traffic updates?

Road/Highway Maintenance
How can I report a pothole, a traffic signal problem or some other issue needing attention?
Is there a plan prepared for replacing aging road signs?
Where can I report comments about dangerous intersections?

DOT & Business Inquiries
Where can I obtain a roadmap for Rhode Island?
How would I determine the traffic count on a particular road in RI?
Where can I find a list of all posted bridges in the state of Rhode Island?
How do I file a damage claim (damage due to construction or potholes) with the State?
Who do I contact to obtain an oversize/overweight permit?
How do I contact the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Historical/Cultural Transportation Inquiries
Who do I contact concerning transportation history as well as potential project impacts to historic, archaeological, or Native American cultural resources, parks, recreational areas and publicly-owned wetlands and wildlife refuges?

Video & Traffic Cameras

What is the overall purpose of the highway cameras?

The cameras are used to monitor the highway to detect incidents as well as to coordinate incident response activities. These cameras feature full pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) capabilities and are controlled by TMC operators in order to monitor the roadways, detect accidents, and monitor congestion.

All camera images are displayed on two large screen projection monitors located in the TMC. The operators can select a single (full screen) camera image to be displayed on a monitor or up to sixteen individual images. After an operator has detected or verified an incident through the cameras, he (she) then can alert motorists using the overhead or roadside electronic signs and Highway Advisary Radio (HAR) as well as alert the State Police to assist in incident response activities.

The cameras are routed to the website to give motorists information on traffic before the leave home and work. The TMC operators have the capability to blank out the cameras when they are responding to an incident.

Back to Top

Why is the state spending money on highway cameras?
First, some results from The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) Urban Mobility Report published in 2002:

According to the study, Metropolitan Providence motorists lose over 40 hours/year in congestion delays. In addition, extra fuel costs (approximately 52 gallons/year/traveler), extra carbon dioxide emissions, increased business transportation costs, increased accidents, and extra planned travel time (in case of accidents/congestion), must also be factored in. The net result is an estimated cost of over $335 million/year. ($795 annual cost per peak road traveler).

Most importantly, 62% of the congestion delay in metropolitan Providence is incident related rather than recurring. A recent study estimated that a major highway tie-up could have an economic cost of $1 million/hour.

In response to these dynamics, DOTs across the nation are using highway cameras to assist in detecting incidents and backups and providing a coordinated response with State Police and emergency responders. These actions clear the roads faster, allow emergency responders to reach incidents more quickly, and help reduce secondary incidents (estimated at 15% of all incidents). Data from these activities can also assist transportation planners in identifying transportation system needs.

Back to Top

Do the cameras invade our privacy?
The TMC maintains a camera system privacy policy wherein the operators are instructed to:
1. Only focus the cameras on the highway and highway related areas.
2. Only zoom into an accident scene to determine incident response needs and then zoom out to monitor traffic flow.

Additionally, cameras are “blanked out” on the website and cable channel when they are being used in responding to an incident.

Back to Top

Why are some of the cameras not working?
The TMC strives to keep these cameras operational at all times. Cameras periodically may go offline for a numbers of reasons, including:
  • Periodic maintenance (camera cleaning and field diagnostics)
  • System expansions and reconfigurations
  • Incident activities (cameras on the website are “blacked out” during incidents for privacy)
  • Camera failures (The TMC cameras span over 40miles of roadway, use multiple communications systems, and provide video to several systems. Occasionally these systems fail and the cameras are unavailable during repair)
  • The TMC repairs these cameras as quickly as possible; however, cost considerations and incident activities may preclude an immediate repair. Individually, the cameras are operational over 95% of the time. We are working to keep this level of service in a cost effective manner.

    Back to Top

    How can I tell which direction the traffic is headed in the camera images based on the directional label displayed?
    The label located in the upper left corner of the video windows shows which way the camera is pointing. The normal labels are: North; North Zoom; South; South Zoom; East; East Zoom; West; and, West Zoom. For example if the label shows "NORTH" the cars going away from the camera view are headed North, the cars coming towards the camera are headed South.

    Back to Top

    Are there special browser requirements to view the Traffic Camera images?
    The browser requirements to view the camera images are few. Your internet browser must support '.jpg' type images. Most current internet browsers do support this graphics format. Older browsers such as AOL releases before version 4.0 and other internet service providers' software may not support the images. If you have an old browser (earlier than 4.0), please update your browser to a newer, compatible version.

    If you find that the camera images are not updating/refreshing with new, up-to-date pictures, check your browser settings to confirm that your browser automatically checks for newer versions of cached webpages, images, and media files.

    Your browser’s Security settings and/or installed third-party utilities (e.g. Norton Internet Security) can affect the display of camera images in your browser. Generally, a security setting of “High” can impact proper display of the camera images. If you are using a Norton Internet Security utility, you may need to turn off the “Privacy Control” to see the camera images. NOTE: If you choose to adjust your security settings, test any adjustments incrementally. It is not recommended that users significantly disable their browser “security” settings.

    Back to Top

    Are the images on the cameras recorded or taped?
    The TMC does not record and store the camera images. Periodically, incident scenes are videotaped for incident management debriefs and training purposes. These tapes are not stored.

    Back to Top

    Do the cameras also monitor speed?
    We cannot monitor speed with our camera system. RIDOT uses a data collection capacity for planning purposes. The operators use the cameras to detect incidents visually. The speed-based/congestion map included in this website as a result of the ITS USDOT grant, provides the operators with congestion information for responding to incidents.

    Back to Top

    Do the videos require any special software for optimal viewing?
    Most new internet browsers come equipped with a video/media player. The TMC video files are saved in the readily-available Windows Media format. A free player is available for download. It is recommended that you save the file to your computer before viewing for smoothest video playback.

    Back to Top

    Does the state have red light running cameras?
    Not at this time.

    Back to Top

    Audio & Highway Advisory Radio

    Why can't I hear 1630 in my car?

    The RhodeWAYS Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) system uses low power AM transmitters to provide information to motorists. The transmitted power is limited by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing requirements. Reception in your car can be affected by the following factors:
  • Time of day – the signal travels farther at night.
  • Type of car radio/antenna – some systems are more sensitive
  • Roadway – overpasses and other highway obstructions can attenuate the AM signal
  • Interference from other radio stations – this interference can increase at night
  • The effective range is two to three miles. Many cars can detect signals up to five miles on a “good day” with less range at other times.

    Why won't the Highway Advisory Radio broadcasts play on my computer?
    Playing the HAR broadcasts requires speakers and that Java is installed and enabled in your browser to provide an audio experience. Click here to visit the ClipstreamTM Visitor Help page for assistance with configuring your computer. Additional problems with audio play may be due to one or more settings on your computer or firewall.

    Back to Top

    Dynamic & Variable Message Boards

    What factors are considered in selecting locations for dynamic message signs and for the length of a message?

    Rhode Island's RhodeWays Program has deployed 15 overhead dynamic message signs (DMS). These signs are located based on decision points, i.e., ahead of a location where a motorist may be able to divert and/or make a decision to stay on a roadway impacted by an incident. Motorists are given about 60-90 seconds to read a sign and make a decision. Since there are standard static signs on our freeways already, new dynamic sign installations must not interfere with pre-existing signs. Recognizing that motorists must read and react to the signs is factored into the number of lines used to display information and to determine flash speed between messages. In Rhode Island, we attempt, whenever possibile, to minimize the distraction the sign may cause by keeping the messages to two lines and one panel. If we have have to display a multi-panel message, we keep minimize the flash to the following: 1 line - 3 seconds between messages; 2 lines - 4 seconds between messages; 3 lines - 5 seconds between messages.

    The DMS system in Rhode Island is used to disseminate information about road conditions (congestion and construction ). We view this part of our ITS system as critical to the life and safety of our incident responders. By displaying a message while our responders are working an incident, we maintain the safety of not only the motoring public but of the incident responders and those involved in an incident. I invite you to click on the following site to view what can happen to our safety personnel. It is an eyeopener. Click here to access the video links..

    Back to Top

    What is the Amber Alert and is it fully installed?
    Amber Alert is a system to provide information on abducted children. The TMC, upon receiving a missing child alert from the State Police, will place appropriate messages on the Dynamic Message Sign Network (DMSN), Portable Variable message Sign Network (VMSN) and Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) network. Link: Rhode Island Amber Alert Webpage

    Back to Top

    511 - Traffic Info

    Is there a toll-free number to call for traffic updates?

    Yes. In early 2005, RIDOT launched a 511 traveler information service. This service allows motorists, by dialing 5-1-1, access to road and traffic information. This information is input by TMC operators and is available in “real–time”. The system uses a series of menus and voice recognition technology allowing motorists to easily obtain information on the routes they will travel. Access to the 511 service is available outside Rhode Island by dailing, 1-888-401-4511. Click here to open the 511 webpage.

    Back to Top

    Road/Highway Maintenance

    How can I report a pothole, a traffic signal problem or some other issue needing attention?

    To report a pothole or other urgent problem, please call the TMC/Maintenance Dispatch line at 401-222-2378. For all other issues, please contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at CustomerService@dot.ri.gov or call 401-222-2450 during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 :30 p.m.

    Back to Top

    Is there a plan prepared for replacing aging road signs?
    We have a plan to replace the sign structures and panels on a statewide basis. The first signs to be replaced are on I-95 in the Warwick area. We have a project going out to bid this spring to replace the signs on I-95 exit 1 thru 5 and subsequent projects to replace the structures and panels on I-95 exit 5,6,7 and 15,16,17, Rt 37 Rt 78 and I-295. The Department will continue to replace signs as funding becomes available. There is a plan to address all the overhead signs on our limited access highways over the next several years.

    Back to Top

    Where can I report comments about dangerous intersections?
    You can call the State Traffic Engineer: Robert Rocchio, at (401) 222-2694 ext. 4206.

    Back to Top

    DOT & Business Inquiries

    Where can I obtain a roadmap for Rhode Island?

    R.I. State roadmaps are available online and by mail. You may download a free copy of the map at www.visitrhodeisland.com/transportation/newenglandmap.aspx. If you would like a printed map, tourist information, or a special student packet about Rhode Island, send an e-mail with your request and your mailing address to visitrhodeisland@riedc.com.

    Back to Top

    How would I determine the traffic count on a particular road in RI?
    The Traffic Flow Map is normally available through the RIDOT website. This map gives the annual average daily traffic (AADT) volume on various state roads in Rhode Island. Click here to download/view the map.

    Back to Top

    Where can I find a list of all posted bridges in the state of Rhode Island?
    Posted bridges are available in the engineering section of RIDOT's website. They are available via a pdf map as well as via a table displaying a list of all bridges.

    Back to Top

    How do I file a damage claim (damage due to construction or potholes) with the State?
    FOR ALL DAMAGE CLAIMS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS NECESSARY:
    An incident report should be filed immediately with the local police within the City of Town wherein the damages occurred or it can be filed with the Rhode Island State Police. The claimant should report the pertinent facts including the date, time, location, and description of accident, damages sustained or towing report. Include your current mailing address and a daytime phone number. Without adequate substantiation, it may be grounds to deny the claim.

    Your submittal to RIDOT should include:

  • The incident report
  • Copy of valid registration certificate
  • Copy of the work invoice (paid or estimate)
  • For damage which occurred in a Construction Zone:
    Mail the above information to:

    Rhode Island Department of Transportation/Construction
    2 Capitol Hill
    Providence, Rhode Island 02903-1124
    Attention Work Zone Claims Coordinator
    Phone: (401) 222-2468 ext. 4320

    For damage due to potholes, etc.
    Mail the above information to:

    Rhode Island Department of Transportation/Maintenance Division
    Claims Department
    360 Lincoln Avenue
    Warwick, Rhode Island 02888
    Phone: 401-222-6765 ext. 4817

    Back to Top

    Who do I contact to obtain an oversize/overweight permit?
    To apply for an overweight / oversize permit, you must contact the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (RIDMV) Permit Department. They can be reached by phone: (401) 588-3011.

    Back to Top

    How do I contact the Adopt-a-Highway program?
    For more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program, visit this RIDOT Programs webpage.

    Back to Top

    Historical/Cultural Transportation Inquiries

    Who do I contact concerning transportation history as well as potential project impacts to historic, archaeological, or Native American cultural resources, parks, recreational areas and publicly-owned wetlands and wildlife refuges?

    Inquiries on the history of Rhode Island's transportation systems and bridge structures can be directed to RIDOT's Supervising Historic Preservation Specialist/Archaeologist, Michael Hebert, of the Cultural Resources and Natural Resources Unit.

    Back to Top