Houston TranStar Releases Flood Warning System for Local Roads

Officials at Houston TranStar have released an innovative roadway flood warning feature to help travelers plan trips and avoid flooded local roadways during rain events. The feature is available on TranStar’s real-time traffic map on the website and mobile app.

“Although the TranStar system has always displayed flooded locations on freeways, until now we have not provided information about local street conditions,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “This new feature lets travelers identify areas where the risk of roadway flooding is high during local or widespread flooding events.”

During Hurricane Harvey, freeway flooding locations were displayed in real time on the Houston TranStar map; however, information about local street flooding was limited. Travelers had no definitive source about whether their trips would take them through areas of road flooding.

To implement the feature, Houston TranStar worked with the Harris County Flood Control District to overlay that agency’s rainfall sensor data on the TranStar traffic map. Heavy rainfall rates increase the likelihood of roadway flooding in a given area, and this information, coupled with TranStar’s roadway and traffic information, helps predict which areas are at risk for localized street flooding.

“The Harris County Flood Control District has a wealth of information about flooding patterns and other data that we have gathered for years from our 170 stations strategically placed along waterways in this region,” said Jeff Lindner, director of Hydraulic Operations and meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District. “We were happy to combine our expertise in measuring and publishing rainfall rates with TranStar’s map to provide better travel information to the residents of Harris County.”

The flood warning system will show where conditions are likely to cause localized street flooding, and where travelers should exercise caution and avoid travel if possible.