NITTEC News Flash: updated

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a series of frequently asked questions, conveniently grouped into categories. If you still cannot find the answer to your question, please send an email to webmaster@nittec.org and we will be more than happy to assist you.

About NITTEC

What information is provided by NITTEC?
NITTEC collects and disseminates real-time traffic information for the Buffalo-Niagara Corridor. This area encompasses the major highway networks throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada, and includes the border crossings. In addition, NITTEC reports on incidents, construction activities, and events impacting the traveling community.

Where does the information originate?
The information being reported by NITTEC comes from a variety of sources. For the most part, NITTEC identifies traffic incidents using the real-time tools installed throughout the area’s transportation network. These tools include cameras and speed sensors. Other information comes about as a result of collaboration with various transportation and enforcement agencies that provide information about incidents or activities that affect travel in the area.

What does “real-time information” mean?
Real-time information includes data that is delivered immediately upon collection. So, in the case of the camera images on NITTEC’s website, the imagery being displayed is current. It should be noted that there can be a lag due to refreshing rates. For example, camera images are refreshed every 1-3 minutes.

How does NITTEC's reporting differ from the travel information on the radio or television?
NITTEC is an information source that complements radio and TV broadcasts. In fact, much of what is reported by the news media outlets is sourced from NITTEC. With NITTEC you can expect to receive more detailed, current, and route-specific traffic information than is provided in a short, general, traffic news slot, and you can get the information whenever you need it.

What is NITTEC's role in winter road management?
NITTEC’s role involves monitoring of conditions and disseminating of information to the various agencies for their consideration and use in maintenance action.

Access to NITTEC Information

What options are available for accessing NITTEC information on traffic conditions?
There are a number of tools used by NITTEC for learning about current travel conditions:

NITTEC website
NITTEC maintains a website packed full of real-time traffic information, tools, and resources. Through the website, users have access to interactive traffic maps and can view live camera feeds, traffic speeds, and highway message sign data on the major expressways. In addition, current travel advisories and construction information is posted along with links to numerous tools and travel-related resources.

NITTEC Mobile Website
To accommodate the ever-increasing portability of mobile devices, NITTEC maintains a mobile website containing most of what is found on the full website but pared down for mobile use. The traffic map and highly utilized real-time camera feeds, traffic speeds, and message sign data are available through the mobile device.

MYNITTEC
MYNITTEC is a personalized alert system that allows a subscriber to receive customized, real-time travel information through text messaging and/or email. MYNITTEC requires an account be set up and is available through the website.

Is there a way I can be notified when an alert occurs?
Yes. The MYNITTEC tool is required to set up personalized alerts. MYNITTEC can send alerts via email or text messaging. MYNITTEC is available through the website.

Click here to view the video tutorial on subscribing to MYNITTEC.

Traffic map and information

Why doesn't an accident I saw appear on the map?
NITTEC reports on traffic-related incidents primarily on the interstate highway and state highway networks once they have been verified and include a lane closure. NITTEC also reports incidents on the local highway network as they are reported through local dispatchers or transportation agencies.

The information on the NITTEC website appears dated. Why?
To see the latest information on the NITTEC website, make sure your web browser is set to refresh pages automatically. Otherwise, the version of a page stored on your hard drive from your last visit will be loaded. Also, during a session select Refresh or Reload from your browser's menu or press the appropriate toolbar icon.

What are the cameras along the highway used for?
The cameras help our Traffic Operations Center (TOC) verify traffic conditions and manage the roadway network by disseminating pertinent traffic information.

How often are camera images updated?
The camera feeds are live; however, the refresh rate generally varies between 1 minute and 3 minutes, depending on the camera source.

Why, for certain cameras, does the website indicate, "Image Not Available"?
Camera images are not available if a camera is not functioning properly or there is a problem with the connection.

How can I tell which direction the camera is facing?
From the map view, click the camera icon for the camera you are interested in viewing. A window will open with the live camera image.  In the bottom left corner is a pair of sample images from which to determine the camera direction of the live image. Note: The sample images are not live images.

Who determines what message is put on a highway message sign (Dynamic Message Sign)?
The Traffic Operations Center (TOC) Operators usually develop sign messages from a list of predefined message content. On rare occasions, special or otherwise unique circumstances warrant a deviation from the predefined message content.

The highway message sign (Dynamic Message Sign) is blank. Is the sign working?
Most likely. Unless a message sign is off for maintenance reasons, a blank sign means that there is no traffic information or public service announcement to report at this time.

What speed do the color-coded overlay speed links represent, and how often are the reported speeds updated?
The color codes for the speed links represent the average travel speed on the roadway based on current conditions. Refer to the color code legend for the corresponding speed ranges. The speed links are updated approximately every 60 seconds.

On the Speed Links page, what does "No Data" and “No Instrumentation” mean?
“No Data” means that the device that measures the speed is not functioning. “No Instrumentation” means that the equipment needed to measure speed is not installed within the section of roadway in question.

When is the construction information updated?
Information on construction activity is posted on the website typically a week in advance of the construction start. Updates to ongoing construction activities are usually made on Friday of each week as necessary; in cases of significant changes, updates are made immediately.

Other travel conditions

Where can I find out about travel conditions on regional or county roads?
NITTEC works in collaboration with emergency and transportation agencies to publish incidents and alerts in areas beyond the major highways–on county and local roads–only when there is an impact to traffic. This information can be seen by going to NITTEC’s traffic map and turning on the “Incidents and Alerts” icons from the map legend.

Where can I find out what the current travel conditions are like during periods of inclement weather?
Winter road condition information is available for state highways and interstate highways through the www.511NY website. Select “Traffic and Transit Conditions Map” from the main menu; then select the “Winter Road Conditions” button. Conditions are updated at least every four hours during winter months and more frequently during storms.

Additionally, the Thruway Winter Traveler Advisory is available from November through March, providing travel conditions specific to the Thruway’s statewide system (e.g., I-90 and I-190 in Western New York). It can be accessed online or by toll-free telephone at 1-800-THRUWAY (1-800-847-8929).

Border Crossing

Where can I get information about crossing the US/Canada border?
There are four crossings between the US and Canada in Western New York, the facilities of each being maintained by one of two authorities: Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. Each authority offers general and specific border crossing information at its respective bridge and can be accessed at www.peacebridge.com and www.niagarafallsbridges.com.

Crossing Into U.S.A. America

Crossing Into Canada Canada

** Real-time technology is not currently available at the Rainbow Bridge. Border crossing times are updated hourly.

Peace Bridge

Rainbow Bridge **

Lewiston/Queenston Bridge

0 - 29 minutes

30 - 59 minutes

60+ minutes