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Did you ever wonder how those signs that read, "13 minutes to San Mateo Bridge" , got the information?

Original post made by dwalden on Sep 30, 2010

Well I did but never really thought about it until I was listening to KGO Radio this morning and there was a guy talking about FasTrak. His message was that he was proposing a bill to limit the use of the information that is gathered. He went on to tell the listening audience that FasTrak keeps tabs on all of us as we travel around the Bay Area. Apparently this information is stored in a database and kept for whoever or whatever needs it in the future.

Can you imagine that you are in a nasty divorce and the opposing attorney brings into court your travels around the bay area refuting your testimony that you were not in Berkeley on such and such a day. Big Brother is always watching us even when we do not know it:-)

Comments (11)

Posted by Chet, a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

The FasTrak keeps record on when we pay fares on the bridge but not on our travels away from the bridge. They need this information to send us the record of charges when the debit our credit cards. This is only proper as we do like to check our bills and at $5 a pop I want to check my bill.


Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:20 pm

This is how:

"For the past two years, CCIT has helped Caltrans deploy an automated system nicknamed MITTENS to display travel times on CMS in the Bay Area. MITTENS relies on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's 511 system for travel time predictions. These predictions are based on real-time traffic data collected by toll tag readers/FasTrak, Caltrans' embedded, loop-traffic detectors, and speed-radar data purchased from Speedinfo, Inc. Predictions are updated every minute and reported on the signs."

Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Additional information from FasTrak: Web Link

"To ensure that FasTrak users remain anonymous, encryption software is used to scramble each FasTrak toll tag ID number before any other processing happens. In addition, the encrypted toll tag ID numbers are retained for no longer than 24 hours and are then discarded. If you do not want your toll tag read for these purposes, place the toll tag in the special Mylar bag provided to you when you are not using it for payment of tolls at a toll plaza. The Mylar bags can be requested from the Customer Service Center. "


Posted by Mike, a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm

I can tell you from experience that it only takes me less than 5 minutes to drive the San Mateo bridge. You do the math.

You can also be tracked by your cell phone or the GPS in your car. If you plan on committing any Capital crimes leave your cell phone at home and turn off your GPS.


Posted by Maggie, a resident of Valencia
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:30 am

Mylar bags were sent out automatically to everyone with a Fastrak. I'm not concerned about tracking my driving routes if it will help provide accurate traffic reporting and estimated times. Not to mention if my car is stolen - maybe they can track it down via the transponder.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

Mike has it right....your cell phone can be tracked by the police via a subpoena or emergency circumstances. But your FasTrak does NOT track you on the roadways, with the exception of when you go through a toll booth (or toll lane on 680).


Posted by David Walden, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

It is interesting how we have become so used to being monitored that it obviously does not affect people. Your travels are monitored, grocery stores record what you buy and the financial institutions keep track of your finances. And if that is not enough, people seem to put their lives on Facebook for all to see.

By the way Joe, take a look at the second comment above to get more information on how FasTrak is used.


Posted by Back to the 1800's, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Yes, technology has made us all a little use the notion of "being tracked". It could just be considered a "downside" of using all the electronic advances. If you are worried about being tracked, get rid of your cell phone, buy a car without GPS, and use only cash. You can still live in this country without electronics.


Posted by Said they DO track, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I heard the show too. They DO track. FastTrac is implanted and they can tell how long it takes you to get from any point A to point B.


Posted by tracker please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm

"They DO track. FastTrac is implanted and they can tell how long it takes you to get from any point A to point B."

Yeah, as long as 'point A' and 'point B' are both points along the same road with FastTrac sensors. If you think that they are tracking you everywhere you go then you should wrap yourself up in a mylar bag and never leave the house.


Posted by They DO track, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

OBVIOUSLY ! ! ! I never said they follow you around...It's rather OBVIOUS, I'll clarify for those who don't fully understand. Starting at bridge approach, and IF you happen to be one that zooms by SFO later, it will be included for rep;orting time to SFO. Several people will likely be near KEY points of interest reporting TIME (not YOUR activities).


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