Have you ever noticed those rubber bands on the roads of New York?

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Summer is fast approaching and that means the construction season is in full swing. There are basically two seasons in New York State; winter and the construction site.

If you’re driving, not only will you see delays and detours, but you’ll likely see rubber bands stretched across the road or highway you’re on. Have you ever wondered what it is? They are very important for several reasons.

From stores wanting to choose a new location to build, to transportation managers, knowing how many cars pass through a certain area can be very useful. These rubber bands help to count the traffic passing over them.

A pair of tubes can be stretched over multiple traffic lanes. The data logger can establish the direction of the vehicle by recording which of a pair of tubes the vehicle is driving on first.

This method is popular here in New York State but has its limitations with the seasons here. Snowplows would rip these strips right off the roads. When summer comes, the band returns to the sidewalk.

But there are also ways to count cars that you might not see. “Piezoelectric sensors” are used to count cars with magnetic forces.

When a car drives over the piezoelectric sensor, it compresses it and creates an electrical potential – a voltage signal. The size of the signal is proportional to the degree of deformation. When the car starts, the voltage reverses.

You’re sure to see more of these traffic counters on the roads in New York State and here in Buffalo over the summer. As the need to repair or replace infrastructure and roads increases, traffic counters will help determine which roads may need immediate attention. As major chain stores and restaurants consider where to build, traffic counters will also be in place.

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