Who are those people with video cameras at intersections?

Danny Paz
Danny Paz

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

SALT LAKE (KHNL) - You may have noticed them at intersections on Oahu -- regular folks video taping cars as they go by. The people are actually contracted by the city for various traffic studies.

There are different approaches to traffic data collection. Kick back with a book and let your video cameras do the work, or actually watch the cars as they go by, like Danny Paz.

"I really like this job," he said. "It's helping me to get, to keep afloat."

The 44-year-old is a temporary hire for the city. He says he and others are spending three days monitoring the traffic flow at intersections on Salt Lake Boulevard.

"I assume they're going to, you know, make the lights more conducive to the flow so traffic will flow easier," Paz said. "I'm not real sure on that, but that would be my guess."

The workers are each armed with two video cameras on tripods. Because they're wearing regular clothes and don't look like official surveyors, many drivers and pedestrians aren't quite sure what to make of them.

"Most of the people are real friendly," Paz said. "They just drive by and wave or, you know, they say, 'What are you doing?' I say, 'We're just counting, you know. Don't worry.' I haven't had any problems yet."

Paz is putting in two, four-hour shifts each day. For the former security guard, it's a paying gig in a tough economy.

"I didn't know when I came over here from Maui that it was going to be this difficult," he said. "I mean, there's a lot of jobs out there, but there's also a lot of people looking for work, too. So it's been rough."

The city Department of Transportation Services says it has multiple projects involving data collection going on. One study is on how many cars are cutting through the Navy housing between Nimitz Highway and Salt Lake Boulevard. Another is a traffic signal optimization study.